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PowerPoint and Presentation News - Issue 045

Issue 045 of PowerPoint and Presentation Stuff newsletter.

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Before we start, here's something that's been requested by so many subscribers that I have lost count! Finally, free PowerPoint templates from Indezine:

Download here.

New Prizes

By being subscribed to this ezine, you are eligible to win!

I've still not finished distributing prizes announced in the last ezine - so you might receive a mail from me congratulating you on receiving the prize. For those of you who use a spam protector, can I request that you add me to your friends' list - my mail ID would be geetesh (@) geetesh (.) com.

Jim Roach of is giving away three copies of his PowerPoint streaming video solution - thank you, Jim. Jim is also providing the entire PowerPoint streaming solution for just US$24 - that's a 75% discount off the list price of US$99. The discount coupon code is: indezine and the discount will be applied LAST during the checkout process after you enter the coupon code (indezine).

Joanna Biggs of Above & Beyond is giving away three copies of their cool Ten Ways to Avoid Death by PowerPoint product. Thank you, Joanna. Here's a link to the Indezine review of the product.

Vladimir Zecevic of Ars Media is giving away three copies of their amazing Photoshop to PowerPoint add-in. Here's a link to the Indezine review of the product.


Focus on Style Workshop

Everyone wants their PowerPoint presentations to look different. And so do you - but where do you start? With a template? That's part of the answer - but you also need color coordinated buttons, icons and bullets - and nice visuals that match the look and feel of your presentation. That's where Style Workshop comes into the picture.

Colin Adams from Indigo Rose sent me a copy of Style Workshop, a set of CDs that contain individual style elements like buttons, panels, backgrounds, arrows, photos, icons, bullets and bars. It's a nice collection although it is important that you remember that you cannot just open Style Workshop and get it working within PowerPoint - you'll need to choose the style elements you need and then get them into PowerPoint or any other application. That in itself is a good thing since you have the freedom of choosing and mixing your own style elements and creating a design that entirely individual.

For more info, read my Style Workshop review.

PowerPoint and SmartDraw

In any presentation, visuals play an important role. Well designed visuals can make information easy-to-grasp and understand. Lately, I've been exploring how SmartDraw, a drawing application works with PowerPoint to help create quick and effective infographics for presentations.

Read more here.

Download a free trial of SmartDraw here.

Animation Carbon

Shyam Pillai has created another amazing PowerPoint add-in. With the launch of PowerPoint 2002 (and 2003), animation metamorphosed from a simple single click attribute to something much more enriched, and complicated. Designers spent hours mastering the new motion paths - and fine-tuned the timings on multiple animations. After the jaws finished dropping and the wows were over, designers were expected to create a similar animation effect for another presentation element!

You get the pattern - hours upon hours were being spent on recreating the same effects. It was often felt that it would be great if PowerPoint had a library feature where all such animation procedures could be stored - and then imparted to objects with a single click. Shyam's new product - Animation Carbon fills that void. You can download a 15 day trial version of Animation Carbon here.


PowerPoint and Video Part IV

Before I get started with the third part of this series, I must tell you how much fun it is to use muvee. muvee, or rather muvee autoProducer is an amazing program that automatically creates movie collages from your video clips. Try downloading their trial version here.

Read the full PowerPoint and Video article here.

Insert Video Objects (Video with Play Controller)

PowerPoint also allows you to insert video objects within a slide - the advantage in inserting such video objects is that you'll get a video controller along with the video itself while PowerPoint is in slide show mode. Thus you can stop, pause and play the video right within PowerPoint.

  1. Navigate to the slide where you want your video inserted in a new or existing presentation.
  2. Choose Insert | Object.
  3. In the Insert Object dialog box, make sure that the Create new radio button is selected and choose the Media Clip option.
  4. PowerPoint's menus will metamorphose to Media Player's menu options. Choosing the Insert Clip option provides several options including Video for Windows (for AVI videos) and DirectShow (for MPG, WMV and ASF movies). The other options are to insert sound objects.
  5. Choose Edit | Options and place a check next to the Auto Rewind option. You can also choose whether you want a control bar should be visible while the video plays. By default, this option is selected. Click OK.
  6. Click anywhere outside the video object. You can reposition and resize your video.

Normally, video objects play when clicked. If you want the video to play immediately with the slide, do this:

  1. Select the video and choose Slide Show | Custom Animation. This will activate the Custom Animation Task Pane.
  2. With the video object still selected, choose Add Effect | Object Actions | Play.
  3. Change the default Start value from On Click to After Previous.

Links and Link Problems

Whenever you insert a movie (or a movie as an object) within PowerPoint, it is invariably linked to the presentation. In fact PowerPoint cannot embed any movies within the presentation - that's probably sound reasoning in the first place because embedded movies would balloon up PowerPoint file sizes like nothing else!

Now for the bad part - PowerPoint is not too good at remembering link locations. As far as the presentation and the video files are on the same system, you will not face any problems. However, if you decide to move or copy the presentation to another system you'll discover that PowerPoint cannot locate the video files - it won't even offer to find the links for you. The solution is quite simple - assemble all your video files in the same folder as your presentation even before you insert them into PowerPoint. And yes, only insert the videos into a presentation that has been saved at least once.

Video Playlists

You can create a playlist of your videos in Windows Media Player and get PowerPoint to play the entire sequence of videos - an invaluable idea if you want to play a series of videos within a presentation seamlessly and you don't have the time to get the videos rendered together in a video editing package.

  1. In Windows Media Player, create a playlist consisting of the sequence of videos that you want to play. In fact, you can also create a sequence that contains both videos and sound. Save the playlist to a Windows Media Playlist file (*.WPL)
  2. In PowerPoint, create or open an existing presentation and go to the slide where you want to begin playing the sounds and choose Insert | Movies and Sounds | Movie from File.
  3. Navigate to folder containing the playlist (*.WPL) file (you might need to change the files of type option to All files (*.*).
  4. Select desired *.WPL playlist and click OK. PowerPoint will prompt you if you want the sound to start Automatically. Accept this option.
  5. Right-click the shape that PowerPoint places on the slide and choose the Custom Animation option. In the Custom Animation Task Pane click on the item and choose Effect Options from the drop-down menu.
  6. Specify in the Stop playing group how many slides you want the playlist to continue playing through. If you want all the videos to play on a single slide, choose the Stop playing after current slide option.

Since a playlist can include either audio or video, the playlist object will appear and behave like a Movie object in PowerPoint for video. For sounds, it will appear as a black rectangle on the slide (where Windows Media visualizations will appear for audio).

The next part of the PowerPoint and Video article will be included in the next ezine issue.

News & Content

Read the PowerPoint Blog here. The PowerPoint Blog now includes the Atom syndication service so that you can use a Atom compatible newsreader to read all postings.


Events & Seminars

PowerPoint Live
October 10 to 13, 2004, San Diego, California, USA
Rick Altman, R Altman Digital Consulting
PPT Live



During the preparation of this issue of the PowerPoint Ezine, I received assistance, content or feedback from Betsy Weber, Carolyn Dennis, Colin Adams, Jason Hardy, Jim Roach, Joanna Biggs, Kathy Jacobs, Michael Peterson, Scott Harvey, Tania Chew and Vladimir Zecevic (all in alphabetical order). I would like to use this platform to thank them for their help.


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