Happy Birthday PowerPoint!

This day, July 31, is noted as the birthday of the PowerPoint application! It has come a long way since its humble beginnings as a grayscale Mac only app! Here is a great story and quick history of PPT from the inventor of the software, Bob Gaskins, in today’s BBC online.

– Troy @ TLC


Shape Locker Add-in (Something We Have All Been Asking For!)

Last week, Excel and PowerPoint add-in developer Chirag at OfficeOne Solutions released Shape Locker. It took me only reading the description and who the developer was to know it was the answer to a lot of project requests – and this add-in does not disappoint!

Shape Locker is simply listed as a PowerPoint add-in to “Lock shape position, size, rotation, text and more with Shape Locker.” And it simply does exactly that! After downloading and installing, PowerPoint adds a new “Design Tools” tab.

There is only one button for the add-in. Select a shape in a presentation, go to the DESIGN TOOLS tab and click the LOCK SHAPES button.

The add-in is controlled through a single dialog box. Check the options desired, click OK and you are done.

Here are my test slides:

Slide 1 = is completely editable.
Slide 2 = I have applied different Shape Locker options to each text bar
You can download these slides to text the results here (57 KB .pptx)


The first bar has all editing options disabled, so you can select the shape, but do nothing to it (move, resize, change colors, edit text, etc.). Here are the Shape Locker settings applied:

For the second text bar, I left the text editing and disabled all other options, so you can change the words but not move/resize/re-color/etc. the shape.

On the 3rd bar, it is the opposite of the previous. The shape can be adjusted (move, recolor, resize, etc.), but the text cannot be modified.

And for the final text bar, I simply used the option to disable the ability to select the shape to completely lock it from any edits.

This is the functionality that users (especially myself) have been asking for since PPT 2000. But it does have a few downsides:
– Only 1 shape at a time can be locked. So if you want to lock a full presentation (or most of a presentation), it is going to take some time to click on each shape and apply the Shape Locker settings.
– To unlock a shape, it is also a time consuming process. Select a shape, open the Shape Locker dialog, uncheck the lock settings – for each shape, 1 at a time. Note: If the disable selection option (used in the final bar of the test slide) is used, that shape cannot be selected and cannot be unlocked (ie. It is permanently a part of that slide).
– Any computer with Shape Locker installed can unlock shapes.
– This add-in specifically says it works with PPT 2010 (32-bit and 64-bit) and PPT 2007. The add-in is not available in PPT 2003 and if a presentation with locked shapes is opened in PPT 2003, there are some unpredictable results. Here is the same test slide opened in PPT 2003 and among other things, if the text has been locked, it does not show up.

I was able to ask Chirag about a few issues and feature requests. The good news is a few features are already in the works that will resolve a few of the tedious use aspects and also add even more power to this fantastic add-in!

You can get the Shape Locker add-in from the OfficeOne site here. And if you first go to my friend Geetesh’s Indezine site, that review has a 50% off promo code (until August 31, 2012).

Last, fellow PowerPoint MVP Steve Rindsberg of PPTools offered this fun trivia about the Shape Locker add-in:
Q – “Why do they call it Shape Locker when it lets you lock placeholders, text boxes, video clips, and pictures as well?”
A – Because when coding everything on a slide is a Shape; placeholders, text boxes, videos, pictures, sounds, etc.

– Troy @ TLC


Turning Point on Computer with Multiple PPT Installs

Last week was a corporate meeting that integrated Turning Point ARS (audience response system) for a series of audience interaction questions throughout the meeting. I have used lots of ARS options, but find Turning Point the most full featured and best PowerPoint integrated package.

All of TLC Creative’s show computers have two versions of PowerPoint installed, currently all have PPT 2003 and PPT 2010. When installing the Turning Point app, I always run into the issue of it being recognized in the PPT version needed for that meeting. So here is a quick tutorial on setting up Turning Point to open and function in a specific version.

1. Open TurningPoint in 2003 – Select Tools on the Turning Point toolbar

2. Go to Settings

3. Under Misc >> Add in always loaded – Change to “TRUE”

Launch the TurningPoint before starting (any version) of PPT, which will open 2010 as default
1. Control Panel > Programs

2. Click Programs & Features

3. Scroll down to Microsoft Office 2010 > Select Change

4. Repair

5. Wait for the repair to finish, it will ask you to restart. Once restarted when launching TurningPoint 2008 PowerPoint 2010 will be the default. TurningPoint will default to launching the last modified version of Office – so when you repair Office 2010, it prompts TurningPoint to choose 2010 as default.

– Troy @ TLC


SlideDog – Review

SlideDog is a Windows only app that allows you to create a seamless presentation made up of multiple file types. SlideDog supports PowerPoint files (.ppt and .pptx), PDFs, videos, Prezi presentations, web pages, Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, flash animations and photos. The elements do not need to be combined into a single file, instead you sequence them in SlideDog and seamlessly shows each, no matter what file type, in the order set. It plays the files in the playlists by using the most appropriate tool available, which is going to vary sometimes, based on what is installed on the computer. Some files are played directly by SlideDog, others will by an external application (ie. Adobe Reader, for PDFs). But viewers see a single application for a clean and seamless presentation.

To achieve this, SlideDog launches the files in the playlist in full screen on the second monitor or projector without displaying the desktop which is loading the files. The presenter sees something similiar to PowerPoints “Presenter Mode” where they see and control what is being presented, either with the playlist order or manually jumping to elements with an on-the-fly order. The presenter can also see notes, timers and scroll through the files that are to be played.

Note: This is currently a beta release, so not something I can guarantee as a stable solution for a real meeting.

Amber, a TLC Creative Services presentation designer installed, tested and created this review of SlideDog.

Download and Install:
– Download from here.
– Installing is straightforward, the setup searches your system for applications it requires to run the different file types and if not found, provides links to download pages (all are free).

Using SlideDog:
You can drag and drop the files into the application, or browse for files. The program then creates thumbnails of the different files. When not presenting, there is an area for recent files added and playlists.

When you hit play on any of the files, the app goes into speaker mode and a timer starts. You are provided with a bigger viewer in the middle of the application that shows exactly what the audience is seeing on the secondary output (a 2nd monitor or projector). You are still able to see the other files in your playlist, and scroll through to view the thumbnails.

I used a Word document, PDF, and PowerPoint file to test. There was a minute to two minute load time switching from Word to PDF while SlideDog closed Word and opened Adobe Reader. Because it just displays the PDF full screen from Adobe Reader, the “Tips” that appear when Reader opens, are also displayed in the presentation. I can mouse over and close the window, but that ruins the presentation effect.
There were a few errors using the program that I experienced. When adding PowerPoint files, I receive an error about generating the thumbnails, and the PowerPoint doesn’t play. Also, when exiting the program my second monitor remained black with no visible way to exit. I had to go into Task Manager and end the pptWrapper.exe process. Hopefully these errors will be sorted out in the Beta phase.

– Troy and Amber @ TLC


Speaker Icon Evolution

Audio files (music, narration, sound effects, etc.) are represented on slides with speaker icon.

Here is the speaker icon used in PPT 2003

Here is the speaker icon used in PPT 2007 and 2010

In addition, when you rollover a PPT 2007/2010 speaker icon a mini player bar is displayed

– Troy @ TLC


Blu-Ray DVD Standards

My previous post covered “standard” definition DVDs, which are pretty low res in terms of computer displays. Blu-Ray DVDs are basically High Def computer monitor specs. So if creating a video from a PPT presentation to go onto a Blu Ray DVD, it is the same process:
– Export at highest quality PPT offers of 960x720px (which is below Blu-Ray specs, but the best natively available)

When authoring a Blu-ray DVD, that software will upconvert (ie. make larger) to Blue-ray HD quality:
– 1920 x 1080 (1080p) resolution
– Audio can be Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD Master Audio and support up to surround sound 7.1 (at 96kHz/24bit) or 5.1 (at 192kHz/24bit)
– Maximum bitrate of 40.0 Mbit/s

Blu-Ray Trivia:
– The name “Blu-Ray” is because it uses a blue-violet laser to read/write discs.
– Blu-Ray has its own association, the “Blu-ry Disc Association” or “BDA” – which is the group of consumer electronics, media and computer manufacturers that established the technology standards.
– A single layer Blu-ray disc can hold 25GB of data (standard DVD is 4.7GB) and a dual layer can hold 50GB! But that is only 4 hours of HD video (on a single layer disc).

– Troy @ TLC


DVD Video Standards

If you are exporting a presentation as a video for use on a DVD, what setting should be used? If this is for a consumer video player DVD use, go with PowerPoint’s highest quality (960x720px for a 4×3 aspect ratio) and let the DVD authoring software lower the resolution.

DVD compliant video has very specific requirements in order to be viewable on standalone DVD players.
• NTSC Video
• 720 x 480 resolution
• Audio type (Dolby AC3, PCM, MPEG) 48KHz sampling frequency
• 29.97fps frame rate
• Maximum bitrate of 9800 bps

Note 1: DVD authoring software (TLC Creative Services uses Sony Vegas Pro + DVD Architect) will transcode the PPT video and set these specs.

Note 2: High Def Blu Ray DVD’s can use different specs.

– Troy @ TLC


eBook Showing All PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts

Microsoft PowerPoint MVP Geetesh Bajaj has released a new ebook that quickly shows all of the available keyboard shortcuts for PowerPoint 2003-2007-2010. Just find the section that covers your version and it is all there.

“PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts” is available as a PDF download here. Geetesh has set the price at $0 (free) with the option for the buyer to set a price.

– Troy @ TLC

Personal Resource/Misc

Friday the 13th “Doodle”

I am not superstitious, but the whole “Friday the 13th” thing is a phenomena that only happens a few times a year (actually 3 times in 2012 all 13 weeks apart in January, April & July – according to a quick web search).

This is my “doodle” in honor of today being Friday the 13th. It has nothing to do with any project, took less than 5 minutes, but is a fun visual using PPT 2010’s bevel, 3D perspective, shadows and other text style settings.

Download the single slide here, 40K.

– Troy @ TLC


New Version of ToolsToo Add-in Released (v5.1)

If you are regular visitor here, you probably know I am a big add-in/plug-in user for all programs. For PowerPoint, add-ins installed on all designer and show computers are those that make design work faster and easier. And the ToolsToo add-in is used daily.

Last week v5.1 was released. It adds a few new features and bug fixes. Also interesting, this is the first add-in I have seen that is only for use with PPT 2010, not 2007 (since v5.0) because it uses some PPT 2010 only features (such as the animation paintbrush). Although v4.5 is compatible with PPT 2007 and 2010 and still available. And, like almost all add-ins, it is only compatible with the 32-bit version of Office.

Website with more details and download options is here.

– Troy @ TLC