A 30-day trial of DataPoint is available from the PresentationPoint site. Installation is a simple affair and you get to choose whether you want the add-in initialized for PowerPoint 2000 or 2002. As of now, DataPoint does not work with PowerPoint 2003, although Kurt hopes to cross that bridge soon.
Update: Since this review was written, a PowerPoint 2003 compatible version of DataPoint has been released.
The first time you run PowerPoint after installing DataPoint, you'll find a new DataPoint menu and toolbar.
DataPoint is an easy way to link any PowerPoint presentation, especially text boxes to dynamic data sourced from Excel spreadsheets, text files or database file formats.
The easiest way to get to grips with DataPoint is through the excellent tutorials provided within the help file. There are four tutorials that teach you the basics of using DataPoint.
The first of these shows you how to insert a live clock and time counter within a slide. The other three explain how you would link content in PowerPoint's text boxes dynamically from a text (CSV - Comma Separated), spreadsheet (XLS - Excel) and database (MDB - Access) file. Amazingly, the tutorials don't tell you to change the values in the data sources and see how they update within the slides, but that's probably understood anyway.
I asked Kurt what they plan to do next with DataPoint - and PowerPoint 2003 compatibility is top on his list of new features planned. Also, the next DataPoint update should be able to function with multiple versions of PowerPoint installed on the same system.
DataPoint for PowerPoint 2000 or 2002 costs EUR 179 each and you can upgrade from the 2000 to the 2002 version for EUR 99. Payments are processed online through ShareIt - after your transaction is validated, PresentationPoint will send you a permanent license key by email.
Support is through a FAQ hosted online on the PresentationPoint website - for problems or doubts not resolved through the FAQ, users are encouraged to contact PresentationPoint email or phone for further support.
DataPoint is an exceedingly simple add-in that achieves its purpose of existence by linking PowerPoint presentations to dynamic data sources. Most of the time, you'll want a copy of DataPoint installed on any delivery machine so that data links can be maintained. Alternatively, you can break data links, but that would mean that the dynamic source connection would be severed altogether.
DataPoint is a little pricey, but comparable solutions which actually don't exist at this time would probably be much more expensive than this. All put together, DataPoint uses PowerPoint only as a data display tool - all other procedures are entirely hidden from the end user thus providing a seamless data connection that is extremely easy to use and maintain. I'm sure that justifies the price.
I have no qualms recommending this product.