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PowerPoint and Presentation News - Issue 004

Issue 004 of PowerPoint and Presentation Stuff newsletter.

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Issue 04

Merry Christmas 2000 AD - Season's greetings to all readers of the PowerPoint Ezine. Now in the 4th issue, this ezine has established its place in thePowerPoint scheme of things. Emails have been pouring in - I haven't been able to reply to all of them - but I would personally like to thank all of you for the success of this ezine.

We look at a great new way to create streaming PowerPoint presentations online. Then we explore the world of simple PowerPoint animations. There's a new image editor - Photo-Brush, ideal for creating PowerPoint backgrounds. We finish this round with a Photo-Brush tutorial and free geometric backgrounds for download.

PowerPoint Greetings

Microsoft confirmed that the new version of Office under development will be called Office 2001. Next year this time, we may have new ideas and techniques to create festive greetings within PowerPoint, but I'm sure many of you may want to try your hands creating Christmas cards in PowerPoint 2000 in the weekend before the 25th.

Although PowerPoint is not a program specifically meant to create Christmas/New Year cards, its reach and accessibility make it a great tool to do just that!

First, a few things to remember - email cards need to be small in size, definitely not over 200 KB. You can use all the great backgrounds you dare not use in a conventional presentation - and, try to avoid linked files - your viewers would prefer a simple one-file existence!

Brainshark Streams PowerPoint

Brainshark is a Massachusetts based company which has a great, easy-to-use solution for anyone interested in streaming a PowerPoint presentation online.

The procedure is simple - you load your presentation (without voiceovers) to their servers. Then, you set user levels andsecurity options. Finally, you phone Brainshark - the phone controls the browser and it is a lot like leaving voice mail. If you use a dial up connection to get online, then you will require two phone lines - one for the voice recordings and another to get online in the first place.

The audio for each slide gets recorded independently which translates into being able to edit a slide or accompanying audio, adding new content to the presentation, or even take some slides and audio form one presentation and merging it into another. Hang up and in minutes - Microsoft and Real synchronized streaming media files are created.

So why would someone do this as opposed to just e-mailing a PowerPoint presentation? First, it is a lot easier to record voice via the phone - you don't have to worry about PowerPoint versions and cross platform issues. You can even track who saw what, when and for how long - online polls and tests are easy to set up and finding presentations through search saves time.

You can also control who can view a presentation and viewers do not need to have PowerPoint to see the presentation.

There are a few disadvantages too - you'll have to say goodbye to all your animations and transitions. There will be no background music scores too. And calling up on international telephone lines will not endear Brainshark to non US customers!

And yes, you have to shell out a certain cost to Brainshark as well - although currently, they have a 15 day free trial offer. I'm sure a lot of you will find this interesting. Visit the Brainshark site for more information.

Simple PowerPoint Animations

Simple PowerPoint animations are just that - simple! Some of them are common and used often - others are virtually unknown. I've created a small PowerPoint 2000 presentation which shows 6 styles of simple PowerPoint animations. You can download it here. To view and download the presentation, visit the Simple Steps Animation in PowerPoint page.

Most of these animations are exclusive to PowerPoint 2000 - not because they are not available within PowerPoint 97, but because PowerPoint 97 uses a different algorithm for timings than PowerPoint 2000. PowerPoint 97 users may have to tweak the animation timings.

Photo-Brush - Image Editor On The Horizon

Did you say "Not another image editor - there's a new one every month!". But, then - Photo-Brush is different - it is fast, easy and capable. Although it is not suited as a candidate for your principal image editor, you'll find it can complement your installation of Photoshop, PhotoPaint or Paint Shop Pro. In fact the program directly supports Paint Shop Pro nozzles!

I could create many easy visual effects within the program within minutes of running it for the first time. And it costs a fraction of what a few Photoshop plug-ins would cost you.

There's a 30 day trial version available from the Mediachance site.

There's a small tutorial on creating PowerPoint backgrounds with Photo-Brush.

Geometric Backgrounds

We just spoke about Photo-Brush - and these goodies were created using the techniques explained in the tutorial linked above.

These backgrounds are available as a part of PowerPoint design templates which you are invited to download from:

PowerPointed 50 Megs


These are free to use as you please, but read more details in a document which is part of the downloaded archive.

I hope to provide new freebies with every subsequent issue of the PowerPoint Ezine. Do let me know about how you used them - or any other experience you would like to share!

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