Tag Archives: powerpoint

Productivity on the iPad

You only have to wait a few more days, my impatient friends. Your iPad will soon arrive, and you’ll be able to play to your heart’s content. In order to help keep you occupied, I have found a few videos that showcase some of the features and apps built in to the device. Productivity is important, and many nay-sayers are adamant that the iPad won’t be usable for any type of work. How wrong they are.

Keynote is a very powerful presentation application, and was built from the ground up specifically for the iPad. You can create beautiful presentations from photos, charts and animations. You can use a template to create a new presentation, or bring in an existing document from your Mac or from PowerPoint. The large disply on the iPad will give you a good view of whatever you’re working on.

Pages is a word processor made for the mobile device. It can create newsletters, reports and other documents with a few flicks of a finger. When you rotate the iPad, your page fills the screen. Pages tracks what you type, so it can suggest words, correct your spelling, and insert punctuation automatically. It can even tell when you’re creating a list, and format it for you while you’re typing.

Numbers is the spreadsheet application from iWork that you’re already used to, and it’s powerful on the iPad. It’s easy to work with tables, charts and graphics on a canvas that you can use just by touching. You can again use one of the preset templates to get started, or import an Excel spreadsheet from Microsoft Office.

Who says you can’t be productive on an iPad? These built-in applications would suggest otherwise. While the iPad may not be suitable to be your “main” computer, I think it will do nicely when you’re on the go and need to get some work done.

Microsoft Office 2010 Comparison Screencast

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I recently asked all of you to submit your screencasts to me for review. The best of the best will be chosen to be featured here, in my various channels and outlets. This provides content of a different perspective for our community, and gives you new exposure for your work! Jack has submitted another excellent screencast, this time showing us a nice comparison between different versions of Microsoft Office.

Jack wanted to show us some of the differences between Office 2007 and Office 2010. One of the biggest changes is that Office 2010 now fully supports 64-bit operating systems. Also, Web Applications (allowing you to co-author documents across the web in real-time) have finally been implemented in the newest release, as well. Office 2010 also includes a redesigned Office button, as well as a nice backstage experience.

Differences in Word include the search function. In Office 2010, it shows up in a navigation pane, instead of a small window. Also in Office 2010, you have a paste preview, letting you see what you’re going to paste BEFORE you actually paste it. There are also enhanced picture editing tools. There are new options for working with text, including changing plain text into Word Art, or using shapes and styles.

The differences in Excel include graphs in single cells, instead of only within sheets like in Office 2007. Formatting tools have also been ehanced and upgraded.

There are also many interesting and excellent differences found within Outlook, Publisher and other Office applications. Thanks, Jack, for this sneak peak at what we can expect when we grab Office 2010 for ourselves!

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Microsoft Office 2010 Screencast

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Recently I threw down the gauntlet, asking all of you to submit your best screencasts. I plan to highlight the best of the best here in my channel, and help promote yours. Jack has sent a few in to us now, and they’re fantastic. This one gives you a quick (but excellent!) overview of Microsoft Office 2010.

Jack started off by letting us know that Office 2010 is only available at this time for developers and technical reviewers. Included features include support for 64-bit, enhanced Office button that leads to a back room of sorts, and web applications for Word and Excel.

The enhanced UI includes a minimizer to give you more work space. This hides the toolbar until you click the button again. The new Office button leads you to a backstage experience where you can edit, save, print or share your documents.

New features in Word 2010 include an improved search function. It opens in a new pane that won’t cover up your document. Other new features include a paste preview, which is very nice. Others include improved picture editing capabilities and more text effects.

Some things new in Publisher 2010 now have pages show up in the side window pane, instead of at the bottom. Powerpoint features include new animations and a video editing capability. Excel doesn’t have too many new features, but it does have a few nice improvements.

Outlook 2010 has a new conversation view, that allows you to group conversations, and even clean them up… allowing you to focus on the most important feature.

Jack did a great job with his screencast. Don’t worry if yours wasn’t chosen to be featured today, though. We’ve received a lot of excellent submissions. We’re still going through them all, and plan to upload one per day (when videos are normally uploaded).

Remember, you need to upload your screencast video to Geeks, and then send me an email with a link to your video, a short description, and of course – tell me where we can find you on YouTube (or wherever you want to be found online).

Keep those submissions coming!

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What’s Better Than Microsoft PowerPoint?

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Did you ever know how most presentations suck? It’s bad enough that people doing them tend to suck, as well. It’s not their fault, though. Most of the presentation software is just not that good. A good presentation shows pictures, and don’t have much text. The worst ones to watch are where the speaker just reads every word from the slides! They drive me nuts! What do you use to create presentations? Tell me you aren’t using desktop software! Adobe has thrown their hat into the ring. They have a basic, online office suite and a new presentation software!

Acrobat Presentations is excellent. You have tons of options. Best of all, of course, is the ability using an online platform gives you to easily collaborate with others. When you create a presentation with desktop software, it’s very difficult to allow multiple people to work together on it. Using Presentations, it’s a simple process.

Presentations is a better way to create, edit, and share presentations with others online. Built on the Adobe Flash platform, Presentations looks and behaves like a desktop presentation application – but operates inside a web browser.

It’s free, and cross-platform. There’s no reason to not try it!

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Can You put a PowerPoint Presentation on an iPhone?

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During the course of the average weekday, we record videos here on the live stream. Sometimes, I run out of ideas of what to do. So when I threw it out to the chat room for suggestions, Fireworks came up with a good one. He wanted me to check out AuthorStream. On AuthorStream, you can upload, share and discover PowerPoint presentations. Let’s look at the features available to you with your free registration.

  • Send to YouTube If you had set up ‘Rehearsed Timings’ or have recorded audio ‘Narrations’ in your PowerPoint file, they would automatically be available in a video format (MP4 or M4V) which can be shared on YouTube via send to YouTube feature.
  • Share on iPod via iTunes Your presentations will also be available to be downloaded in iTunes. Your viewers can then sync their iPods and have your presentations available even when they are not online!
  • Download PowerPoint As a viewer, you can now download PowerPoint files if their respective authors have given their permission to do so. This is a great feature for those who like presentations and want to use a slide or two to enrich their own.
  • Featured Audio/Animation Presentations Cool presentations get featured and you can view them categorized as Featured Presentations, Featured Audio Presentations and Featured Animated Presentations.
  • RSS Feeds Subscribe to the RSS feeds for categorized groups of slideshows as well as customized feeds for users and tags.

So… instead of emailing a Presentation to someone you need to collaborate with, why not use AuthorStream? You could even use Google Docs or MindMeister. Heck, for that matter, why not check out something like Drop.io?


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Creating Presentations on the Web

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It’s a sad fact of life than many of us will have to suffer through tons of presentations in our lives. Many of those aren’t even well put-together. Instead of dwelling on this negative fact, let’s move over to the positive. I want to tell you about an amazing presentation builder… within a Web service. This thing is slicker than snot, I’m telling you.

Head on over to 280 Slides and you’ll be greeted with a gorgeous interface. You’ll think to yourself that this can’t possibly be a Website, it must be a program on your computer. What can it do? It can do anything that your regular presentation software can do. Instead of residing on your hard drive, it resides on the Web. It’s simple… so simple, in fact, you may wonder why you ever used anything else. It’s also completely free.

Here are the key features:

  1. Take it With You. We store your presentations securely on our server so you can take them anywhere in the world where there’s an Internet connection.
  2. Download to PowerPoint. With a single click you can download a copy of your presentation in the Microsoft PowerPoint 2007 format.
  3. Built-in Media Search. Add photos and movies to your presentation directly from popular web services like Flickr and YouTube.
  4. Publish to the Web. Put your presentation on SlideShare, e-mail it to a friend, or embed it directly on your own website, all with just a few clicks.
  5. Quality Themes. It’s easy to make a great looking presentation with our professional quality built-in themes.
  6. Run in your Web Browser. 280 Slides runs right in the browser, with no download and no installation, and it works just like the desktop applications you’re used to.

This isn’t going to help you make better presentations, but you’ll have more fun making them, and they’ll look more professional. There’s nothing to install, because it exists on the Web. What’s not to like? I love talking about these kinds of things, things that make our lives easier and is fun. This is the next step in personal computing: living on the Web.

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How Not to Send an Email

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One of our viewers sent the following to me: “5 ways to make your e-mails more interesting and fun for all. I don’t know if such a list has already been sent to you, but in any case here are my views that I am sure you can mix with other peoples views to make a super-list.”

  • When sending to more than one person, ALWAYS use the Bcc: field. For those of you who don’t know, Bcc means Blind Carbon Copy, and what it does is it hides everyone’s e-mail address from one another, which is great if so-and-so #1 within your group of friends doesn’t necessarily want so-and-so #2 to know their e-mail address. Another advantage is the less e-mail addresses that can be seen, the less risk there is for them to be picked up by automatic spammers. And when that happens, we all lose.
  • Instead of sending videos as attachments, just send the video’s link on the web. Before the days of video hosting sites (like Youtube), it was common for people to manually send around videos of all kinds of stuff. Now this is not necessary, just send the link for people to click on. This is much easier for all and for various reasons. For one, your friends may only have Internet access at school (or work) and many times multi-Mb downloads are restricted. Aside from that, the computers may not have media players of any kind installed to watch such videos. However, it is very common for these computers to have their internet browsers updated so video watching via links shouldn’t be a problem. So forget the clunky attachments and just “link” it!
  • What is with all the Powerpoint presentations? Do I really HAVE to download these onto my computer to open them, only to see they are a complete waste of my time? Luckily some e-mail providers (like Gmail) allow you to open these within the browser to scan quickly through them. However many don’t, and the problems of point # 2 show up again. And boy am I tired of receiving the same “.pps” files over and over again with their smiling cats and pretty landscapes and moral whatnot. Who makes these? I have the feeling they are the same presentations since de mid-90’s, endlessly circulating from e-mail address to e-mail address in a vast circle of life, only instead of life, it’s a circle of WASTE MY TIME.
  • Urban E-mail Myths or UEM’s. If you get anything in your Inbox that seems too scary/unbelievable to be true, THAT’S BECAUSE IT PROBABLY ISN’T TRUE AT ALL. Nokia is NOT handing out cell phones, Microsoft is NOT paying anyone to receive forwarded messages and there isn’t an Indian girl with only two legs that needs an Elephant Tusk transplant. Of the few times I actually read these kinds of e-mails, it usually takes no more than 10 seconds to find out through any search engine that it is all a blatant HOAX (UEM). So, if you want your friends to believe you when you open your mouth, DON’T FORWARD ANYTHING without finding out for yourself whether or not it is true. And no, you’re not off the hook when you start your HOAX FORWARD with “I don’t know if this is true but I am letting you know anyway…”. When in doubt, DELETE THE MESSAGE, don’t send us trash in the form of Urban E-mail Myths!
  • Keep your e-mails short. Studies show the average Internet user spends about 4 (four) seconds on any given page. Our attention spans are getting dim… also we have so much other great stuff to do on-line, it just isn’t fair to take up everyone’s time with really long e-mails. Here’s a rule of thumb: If it was too long to read yourself before sending, it will be too long for others to read after sending. Short lists of content are OK, as is the occasional joke, but never a string of jokes… strings just aren’t funny. If it’s an interesting news story you want others to know about, just send the link to the story and maybe give your own (short) opinion. If you send the whole story in the e-mail… remember what I said lasted about 4 seconds? Right.. that’s the time people take before they mark your boring long e-mail as “read”. So, just send the link and one or two words, and let them be interested in reading the rest (or not).


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Tips for Better PowerPoint Presentations

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It may be simple to begin using PowerPoint… but it’s not so easy to make professional looking presentations. These tips were sent in by a community member, and will help you in your endeavor to create a great presentation.

  • Be sure to make your presentation appropriate for the audience in which you are going to present it to! That means, don’t put funny sounds or transitions on presentations that are going to be made to a group of executives, for purposes of professionalism. Of course, if you are going to make a presentation to a slightly less critical crowd, (like a classroom, or a presentation for some co-workers of yours) then such add-ons are more appropriate. Failing to tailor your presentation to the audience can cost you big time, as depending on who you are presenting it to, different reactions may take place. Sometimes, such reactions can put you and/or your reputation into jeopardy.
  • Be sure to make your presentations easy to read! Presentations are virtually useless if the audience cannot read what it says. Be sure to not make the text too big or too small. I recommend between 48pt. and 36pt. fonts for titles, and between 24pt. and 18pt. for text. If the text is too big, it may not all fit on one slide, and if the text is too small, then people will not be able to read it. Also, use clear fonts. I like fonts such as Arial, Helvetica, Tahoma, Gill Sans MT, Calibri, Segoe UI, Lucida Grande, and Lucida Sans for presentation, as they are modern, smooth, and of course, easy to read. Of course, if you cannot avoid a less than perfect reading situation, I recommend passing out an outline of your presentation to the audience. An outline is a copy of all of the text included in your presentation, that can be passed out to the audience in order for them to be able to read the text, and so they don’t have to take notes, which relieves the stress level.
  • Make your presentations professional-looking! No matter your audience, nothing looks better than a good looking presentation. That means no more Windows 95 white! We are in the 21st century, and so your presentations can look way better now. A great way to have a professional looking presentation is to add graphics! That means insert some picture files and add cool effects to them, add 3D charts and graphs, use WordArt and 3D Art (SmartArt in Office 2007 and Office 2008 for Mac), etc. And if you have trouble with this, use themes! Most presentation maker software (PowerPoint, Keynote, etc.) have built-in themes that make everything look great with just one click. It is a quick and easy way to take a basic looking presentation look better. And ditch Times New Roman, as it is (in my opinion) the worst font on Earth. It is used too many times, and it doesn’t look as good as some of the other fonts out there. See my list in tip #2 for the fonts I like. Making your presentation look good can make you look good, as it shows you put in some effort.
  • Don’t just have text! I am reiterating this for a reason. Nothing is more boring than a text only presentation. This isn’t 1993! There is so much more you can do now with your presentation. Add objects (pictures, video clips, sounds, graphics) that have something to do with your presentation. This gets the concept across a lot easier, and it makes your presentation interesting. Oh, and be sure to use the cool editing effects that today’s presentation software titles have. Other things like transitions (subtle, of course), make a presentation stand out. Just be sure to make them appropriate for conditions (refer to #1).
  • Format the text information correctly! USE BULLET POINTS! (sorry for yelling) No one wants to read a large paragraph of text in a presentation. It becomes very difficult to extract the good information when the text is formatted that way. So bullet point the important, necessary information that will be of use to the audience. Your presentation will be of more use that way.
  • Add your own information and experience to the presentation! Don’t just read what the presentation says. Unleash your own experience and knowledge upon the audience. Even if you made the presentation, things seem to be a lot easier when the experience is explained by the person afterward. Add more information that you couldn’t include in the presentation for whatever reason. And finally, be sure to explain the contents of the presentation thoroughly and with eye contact to the audience. This makes the message you want to convey a lot clearer. After all, you need to please the audience, and a lack of understanding from the audience towards you and your presentation is a bad sign.


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How to Make a Good PowerPoint Presentation

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http://live.pirillo.com/ – Gordon emailed to ask me if I’ve heard of Preezo.com. Preezo is a free website you can use to build presentations, much like with PowerPoint. You can easily build, share and email things with Preezo, so I decided to check it out.

Three of my friends joined me for this discussion: Kat, SC_Thor, and Wirelesspacket.

Preezo looks to be an excellent site! Not only is it free to use, the layout is very clean and simple. The design is very similar to PowerPoint… “click to add title”, and such. How much easier can it get?

Online document-type storage applications such as GoogleDocs are quickly gaining in popularity. According to Kat, it’s made her life much easier. She can quickly log in to any of her Google Docs, update it, and save it. She lets me know when there are changes I need to check on via a quick sentence on Yahoo IM. There’s nothing to save, upload and email as an attachment. All I have to do is log in myself, and I’m there.

Want to make your presentations better? Don’t use so much clutter. Keep your content, but don’t add so much distraction that the viewer loses sight of what you are trying to share with them. Always remember: KISS. You all know what that means.

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Conference PowerPoint Presentations

Stuart kindly asked Gnomedex participants for links to their presentations – and if there are any missing, we’ll certainly edit the list. NOTE: some presenters politely declined (and other presenters did well without slides). It’s been a busy week, and I’m still trying to sort through it myself:

Heh. I wonder if there are any Gnomedexers who want to share links to presentations they’ve made at other conferences? 🙂 I’ve gotta remember to send this link along to next year’s dais – although I the perfect balance between discussion and presentation will likely remain elusive.