Reviewed: Geetesh Bajaj
Date Created: July 20th 2006
Last Updated: February 27th 2009
There are many advantages in converting a PowerPoint presentation into a Flash SWF movie since they tend to be smaller in size, cannot be edited, and can easily be viewed in almost any operating system or computer these days. And with dozens of PowerPoint-Flash converting applications available, it's easy to be spoilt for choices.
And with so many choices, every such application has to either do things better than others or add more capabilities. WildPresenter, the product we are reviewing tries to do both -- and in this review, we will explore if it succeeds or not.
WildPresenter is from Wildform, a company based in Los Angeles, USA that's been a pioneer in creating programs that output Flash movies. Their other products include WildFx and a stock video library. You can learn more about these products and download a free trial version of WildPresenter from their site...
WildPresenter is different from other PowerPoint to Flash converters because the degree of control it offers you in this conversion is simply amazing -- you can edit each individual slide, slide master, animation, and object even after importing a PowerPoint presentation into the WildPresenter environment. And the export option are not limited to Flash SWFs alone -- you can also create other output formats like EXE, PDF, etc.
My contact at WildPresenter for this review was Leonard Dumanovsky - thank you, Leonard.
Download the installer from the link given above, run the setup routine
and follow the instructions. You'll end up with an WildForm Wild Presenter
program group in your Windows Start menu (see Figure 1 below).
Figure 1: Wild Presenter Start menu Group
WildPresenter does so much more than create Flash movies from PowerPoint -- but for the purpose of this review, we will follow these steps to convert a PowerPoint file to SWF using WildPresenter.
- Go to your Windows Start menu and choose
All Programs | WildForm | WildPresenter (see Figure 1 above).
- This launches the WildPresenter interface.
When the application opens for the first time, you'll be shown
a dialog box with various options (see Figure 2).
Figure 2: WildPresenter Interface
- Rather than selecting any provided options,
choose Cancel -- this will open another dialog box where a name
and location can be given to the new WildPresenter project (see Figure
Figure 3: The Create Project dialog box
- Once you have named your project, you get
back to the WildPresenter interface that contains one Slide and
one Slide Master. Since we are not creating any slides within PowerPoint,
just right click the Slide on the left pane and choose the Delete
Slide option. Leave the Slide Master alone.
- Now, to get some slides, you need to import
your PowerPoint presentation -- choose File | Import File, open
any of the PowerPoint files on your system, or download the Indezine
sample file that you can download
Importing a PowerPoint file launches a dialog box that you can see in Figure 4.
Figure 4: PowerPoint Import Options
Make sure you match these options:
- Choose Fully editable PowerPoint so you can edit the individual slides.
- Under Import Option, activate the All Slides radio button and let the Resize project to PowerPoint dimensions check box be selected.
- When done with the import options click OK.
- This will bring up the Choose Insertion Point dialog
box shown in Figure 5 -- here you have a choice
to insert the PowerPoint slide to various insertion points. Since
we have started with a blank WildPresenter project, just go ahead
and choose the At Beginning option, and click OK.
Figure 5: Insertion Point
- If the selected PowerPoint presentation
has images, WildPresenter's Import Image dialog
box will open (see Figure 6) -- you can now set
the quality of the images being imported -- and the same parameters
can be applied to all images contained in the original PowerPoint
presentation by choosing Apply To All.
Figure 6: Import Image
I should mention here that I like WildPresenter's thorough appraisal of the PowerPoint presentation being imported. My sample presentation had no images other than the backgrounds in the Slide Master, and WildPresenter found them as well.
- Once the import process is done, you'll see
your presentation open within the WildPresenter editing environment
-- if you have used PowerPoint, the tri-pane interface will be
immediately familiar with several tabs and slide thumbnails as
you can see in Figure 7. All your slides and Slide
Masters from PowerPoint are now imported into WildPresenter.
Figure 7: WildPresenter Interface
The interface is explained below:
- There is a slide pane on the left which shows thumbnails of the slides and Slide Masters -- if there are more slides than what you can see, just use the scrollbar to see them all.
- In the midlle of the interface is the stage, you'll find the actual slide. Just like PowerPoint, you can select any object and make changes such as move, scale, crop, color, etc. -- all on the slide.
- At the bottom of the stage are the play controls that can be used to preview the presentation.
- The timeline is at
the bottom of the interface -- this is where the imported
files are placed into your project -- the animations
are shown here as well. If you have used the Macromedia
(or Adobe) Flash program, you'll feel at home here.
- There are some other tabs ot
the right side -- these are just like PowerPoint's
Project Setting has four tabs which includes properties for exporting the presentation into SWF, projector, PDF, HTML etc.
Object Setting is where you can adjust settings for objects on your WildPresenter timeline, it has four tabs for manipulating the play, appearance, mouse events, and animation options.
Slide Setting allows you to make changes associated with a selected slide -- it displays the slide name, transition, background color etc.
- Now you can preview your presentation, and make edits or enhancements
as required. We are not covering these edits here but suffice to
say that the edits are easy and logical -- and plenty of help is
available from the help menu and the tutorials on the Wildform site.
- Do set all transitions and animations as required -- since WildPresenter
uses a Flash SWF output, you can really do much more than whay is
possible with PowerPoint alone.
When all tweaks are in place as required, set the output parameters in the Project Settings task pane as you can see in Figure 8.
Figure 8: Output Options
As you can see above, Project Setting has properties for exporting the presentation into different formats. Use Browse to save the converted presentation and click Export. A message will prompt you to confirm if you want to export all the slides -- click the Yes option, and WildPresenter will export your PowerPoint presentation to a Flash SWF file.
WildPresenter is available at an introductory price of $299.00 -- the normal retail price is $499.
Support options are extensive and include email support, a searchable knowledge base, online training, and web tutorials.
I really liked the output SWF that WildPresenter created for me -- it even took all the web hyperlinks in my original PowerPoint presentation and retained them in the final SWF export. And the output SWF was a mere 87 kb in size -- that's much lesser in size than what any other PowerPoint to Flash converter can do!
And yes -- WildPresenter is so much more than a PowerPoint to Flash conversion tool -- it also includes an entire Flash authoring environment, and screen capture abilities. In all, this is a great product that just needs a nicer splash screen!