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PowerPoint and WHIP!

Learn about PowerPoint and WHIP.


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Note: Autodesk no longer provides the WHIP! Viewer - this page is being retained as-it-is for users who do have WHIP! installed. Autodesk suggests the use of the Autodesk Express Viewer as a replacement for WHIP! You might be able to find WHIP! if you search Google...

Introduction
Installing WHIP!
Navigating WHIP!
DWF Sample Galleries
Inserting DWF Within PowerPoint
What's ActiveX?
Before You Begin
Step-by-Step
Disclaimer
Related Links


Introduction

What's WHIP!? WHIP! is Autodesk's free solution to open, view and print DWF files interactively - Autodesk's array of technical drawing applications including the venerable AutoCAD can output files to the compact DWF (Drawing Web Format) format - intended basically as a format for web delivery.

Since DWF is an open format, many other technical drawing applications can also output to the format - these include AutoCAD LT, TurboCAD and Microsoft Visio.

WHIP! installs itself as an ActiveX control within Internet Explorer as a viewer technology - allowing you to zoom and pan any drawing saved in the DWF format.

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Installing WHIP!

Installing WHIP! is a simple affair - you just visit Autodesk's WHIP! page using Microsoft Internet Explorer at:

Autodesk - WHIP!

You need to fill in simple details like your name and email address - and WHIP! self-installs itself as an ActiveX component. The installation can take anywhere from a few minutes to half an hour depending upon the speed of your internet connection.

You can also manually install WHIP! conventionally using a setup routine. More details and download instructions are available from:

Installing WHIP!

The actual download is around 3.5 mb for the current version (WHIP! 4).

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DWF Sample Galleries

Now that you have a system equipped to view DWF files, I'm sure you would love to see a few in action. Unfortunately, I could not find a sample gallery on the Autodesk site! I believe there used to be a fantastic DWF gallery on the Autodesk site some time ago - maybe they'll revive it!

A quick search on Google discovered these two non-Autodesk links:

Steam Locomotive Drawings

PowerCAD Work Samples

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Inserting DWF Within PowerPoint

We're finally here - at the main topic of our discussion.

There's no magic filter which allows you to insert DWF graphics within PowerPoint - there are few prerequisites before you can do anything - these requirements are essential for both inserting and viewing DWF content within PowerPoint:

  1. First, of course is the fact that you need to have PowerPoint or the PowerPoint Viewer to view and/or edit your presentation.

  2. Secondly, you need to have Internet Explorer installed on your system - this question of course, is only elementary since all recent versions of the Windows operating system have this component installed.

  3. Finally, Autodesk WHIP! needs to be installed on each creation and delivery machine. We've already learnt that WHIP! (which includes a WHIP! ActiveX control) is freely downloadable from:

    Autodesk - WHIP!

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What's ActiveX?

ActiveX is the successor to OLE 1 and OLE 2 - in clear cut unambiguous terms, this means that ActiveX is a technology that allows components, clients or controls to run individually integrated in another application. These other applications are usually web browsers like Microsoft's Internet Explorer -  alternatively they can be any program which has the ability to communicate with an ActiveX control. In our case, this program happens to be Microsoft PowerPoint.

If you want to learn more about ActiveX, you can visit the following link:

Web Developer's Virtual Library has an excellent introduction to ActiveX. They also maintain an ActiveX links page.

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Before You Begin

Before we begin inserting DWF content into PowerPoint, copy the DWF file in the same folder as the actual PowerPoint PPT presentation file. This way, we will not have to enter a complete absolute path string later.

For my example, I've used a sample DWF file included with the ActiveX control installation - it's called thanks.dwf - you can download it here.

To preview any DWF file just double-click it or drag into an open Internet Explorer window, subject to WHIP! being installed on your system.

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Step-by-Step

  1. Open or create a new PowerPoint presentation. Save it in the same folder as your sample DWF file.

  2. Choose View -> Toolbars -> Control Toolbox - this will open the Control toolbar. This is how it looks in PowerPoint 2002. It may look different in your system.



  3. Near the bottom of this Control Toolbox, you'll find the 'More Controls' icon, represented by a hammer.

  4. Click on this icon to reveal a drop down list of available ActiveX controls.

  5. Click on the Autodesk WHIP! Control option.



  6. Your cursor will change into a cross-hair - draw a rectangle anywhere on screen - don't bother about the size and location now - we'll take care of that later.

  7. Your rectangle will be invisible, since its only a placeholder - however, if you did not click anywhere, you'll find it surrounded by eight handles.



  8. Right-click anywhere inside the rectangle to reveal a fly-out menu. Choose the Properties option.



  9. The WHIP! Properties box opens.
     


  10. Click on the blank cell next to the StreamName option and just fill in the name of your DWF file - we need not enter any path since the DWF file has been preserved in the same folder as the presentation. Unfortunately, the Control automatically picks up the absolute path of the file, so you will have to re-edit the path if you were to change folders, drives or computers.



  11. Position and resize the control as required on the actual slide.

  12. You're done! You may want to try out the many other options included in the WHIP! properties box.

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Disclaimer

This is just an experiment. No support can be provided for the techniques listed here. Also, I don't suppose either Microsoft or Autodesk would offer support on this subject.

However, newsgroups at Microsoft and Autodesk are well visited and intelligent interactions are possible on the forums.

microsoft.public.powerpoint

Autodesk Discussions

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Related Links

Microsoft's KB Article ID Q191531 shows how to create a shortcut for the ActiveMovie Activex Control.

See a similar article on using Autodesk's Volo View Express with PowerPoint.

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