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PowerPoint and Presentation News - Issue 024

Issue 024 of PowerPoint and Presentation Stuff newsletter.

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Product/Version: PowerPoint


We first look at a new product called rChart followed by some info about products from Corel. After a comprehensive listing in the Quick News section, we focus on Cliff Atkinson's Sociable Media site as a resource for presenters. We then have a few links to case studies where PowerPoint is used in non-conventional ways. We also look at some new PowerPoint add-ins from Shyam Pillai and finish this issue with a PDF download that provides instructions to create your own product development timeline in PowerPoint.

rChart for PowerPoint & Excel

rChart from rObjects is a great new program that creates Flash based charts from various data sources. It runs both in standalone mode and as an add-in within Microsoft Excel.

In standalone mode, the program leads you step-by-step through an elegant wizard. You first choose a chart style, and then you input data directly or import data from a text file, an ODBC data source or the clipboard. rChart creates an animated chart with successive data builds. You can customize every aspect of the finished chart from a background music score to the color of the fill in the data series. You can also use a picture as a background and change the animation and label styles. All customized settings can be saved as a new style you can use again and again.

Within Microsoft Excel, rChart adds a new toolbar with two icons - select your data range and click the rChart icon to create a Flash based chart in the same way as you would create in standalone mode.

For PowerPoint users, rChart's most useful feature is to export the Flash charts to an open PowerPoint presentation - such Flash charts are embedded within the PowerPoint file itself. rChart also does not cover the entire slide with the exported Flash chart so that you can use PowerPoint's own navigation tools to go back and forth between slides.

rChart's ability to embed Flash content in PowerPoint is not limited to its own Flash charts - it helpfully allows you to do that for any Flash SWF file.

Carl Robinson, Senior Product Engineer at rObjects says: "The download is a complete package with all features enabled; all we do is watermark the output when rChart is run unlicensed. This allows you to explore all product features before you buy".

For more info and a trial download, visit the rObjects site (link no longer exists).


Corel Announces New Collection, New Low Prices

Corel has announced the new KPT Collection that includes a selection of all the powerful Kai's Power Tools plug-in filters of KPT 5, KPT 6 and KPT effects. The plug-in filters work with any image editor that can accept Photoshop plug-ins - these include Adobe Photoshop, Corel PhotoPaint and Painter, Microsoft Picture It! Digital Image Pro, Jasc Paint Shop Pro and many others. The KPT Collection retails for US$99 - more info.

Corel also lowered the price of Bryce 5, its landscape generation software - now available for US$79.99 - more info.


Quick News

Macromedia has updated its Breeze application by introducing a new version called Breeze Live. The basic Breeze product, which Macromedia acquired from Presedia was capable of converting PowerPoint presentations into online rich media Flash content. Breeze Live now ups the ante with support for several other media types - it also includes new features such as live chat and videoconferencing. More info.

LinkTek Corporation has announced LinkFixerPlus for PowerPoint, an add-in for PowerPoint that allows users to move presentations without breaking links. More info.

Canto has announced the launch of Cumulus Office Suite, a product created to allow asset management, reuse and management of documents, spreadsheets and presentations created within the Microsoft Office suite of products. If users have PowerPoint installed on the cataloging system, Cumulus Office will catalog single slides of an entire presentation and create thumbnails and previews. More info (link no longer exists).

I would like to remind readers that the sweepstakes for Atek Tote-Remote, a remote presentation controller and laser pointer closes on July 30th and winners will be announced a week later. Enter your name here.

Adobe has announced a new version of its After Effects video compositing program. It also announced a new version of its video editing tool - Premiere Pro. Both tools will also be available as part of its upcoming DV bundle that will also include Encore DVD, Audition (earlier known as CoolEdit Pro) and Photoshop. More info

Tech Republic is offering a free Tablet PC Resource Guide. More info (link no longer exists).


Sociable Media: Cliff Atkinson's Site

Cliff Atkinson is president of Sociable Media, a presentation consultancy in Los Angeles, CA. He is a presentation expert, keynote speaker and seminar leader, and his client list includes Charles Schwab, Nokia, Amgen, Ogilvy & Mather and Experian.

The Sociable Media site contains links to many articles Cliff has written - the site also provides detailed information about presentation related services like design, workshops and tune-ups. Visit the site.

Cliff is also one of the featured presenters at PowerPoint Live this year at Tucson, AZ.


PowerPoint Everywhere

Here's a listing of links that speak about using PowerPoint beyond the conference room:

Fox News reports how churches across America are going hi-tech using software like PowerPoint to project hymn lyrics - read here.

The Miami Herald discusses how "these days, prosecutors and defense attorneys don't do opening statements and closing arguments; they do multimedia presentations, using PowerPoint..." - you will have to navigate to the second last story on the page - read here.

UK based Redhill Primary School often uses PowerPoint. A report on the iVillage UK site says "the fact is, until his six-year-old daughter taught him how to use Microsoft PowerPoint, he did not know much about this presentation program." - read here.

The Wired site explores why PowerPoint is "the most popular piece of software that teachers want to learn" - read here.

The Michigan Virtual University site has an interesting experience by Robert Sommer - he calls it 'My PowerPoint Summer' - read here.

Stumpers are learning tools using television game show formats in which participants assume the roll of contestants in a game show - this site has info on creating such Stumpers in PowerPoint - read here.

If you have your own story about using PowerPoint in a non-conventional way and would like to share it with others, please do reach out to us.


Shyam Pillai's New Add-ins

Shyam Pillai, a Microsoft PowerPoint MVP has announced new add-ins for PowerPoint.

The Batch Exporter exports various elements contained within a PowerPoint presentation for archival or other purposes. The product costs US$50 and there is a free trial download available on Shyam's site. Visit the Batch Exporter homepage here.

Another new add-in is the Sequential Save add-in - it originated from a discussion initiated by PowerPoint MVP Austin Myers. This free add-in creates a sequential backup copy of your presentation every time you click on its icon (see screenshot below) within PowerPoint. More info.


Product Development Timelines in PowerPoint

My column for Presentations magazine's April issue dealt with creating product development timelines in PowerPoint.

Excerpt: Now you need to create shapes that will represent the actual tasks within the timeline. Use a regular AutoShape for this purpose. For our example, we'll use the pentagon shape within the Block Arrows section of the AutoShapes menu. Simply choose it and draw a long arrow onscreen.

This article is now available on this link


Events & Seminars

Winning Presentations Seminar
August 5 and 6, 2003
September 24 and 25, 2003
Boston, USA
Claudyne Wilder, Wilder Presentations

PowerPoint Live
October 12 to 15, 2003
Tucson, Arizona, USA
Rick Altman, R Altman Digital Consulting
PPT Live



During the preparation of this issue of the PowerPoint Ezine, I received assistance and feedback from Carl Robinson, Cliff Atkinson, Kathy Jacobs, Shyam Pillai and Sonia Coleman (all in alphabetical order). I would like to use this platform to thank them for their help.


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