Wednesday, November 21, 2012

PowerPoint 2013 's color picker tool: Eyedropper

If you use MS- Word or MS- PowerPoint frequently, you must have used Format painter which helps you maintain consistency of color, font and size of text throughout the document or presentation. Consistency no doubt is the key to a good presentation. Though format painter was a great tool, yet maintaining consistency of animation effects across slides was still a challenge until Microsoft introduced Animation Painter in  PowerPoint 2010.

In PowerPoint 2013 Microsoft has something for shapes known as Eyedropper. Eyedropper the color picker tool helps you copy the shape color and apply to any other shape. You can pick and apply any color visible on your screen (be it text, shape or from a window other than PowerPoint) to a shape.

Steps to pick and apply color to a shape
  1. Select the shape you want to apply color.  Click on Drawing tools> Format on ribbon (Alternatively you can double click the shape to bring Format menu).
  2. Click on "Shape Fill" Drop down under Format menu
  3. Select "Eyedropper"
  4. Move the color picker (mouse cursor /square box) on the shape/picture and click when desired color appears

Steps to pick and apply color from outside PowerPoint or from a text

In case you want to pick and apply color to a shape from a website, picture or any other software running on your desktop, follow these steps:
  1. Select the shape you want to apply color.  Click on Drawing tools> Format on ribbon (Alternatively you can double click the shape to bring Format menu).
  2. Click on "Shape Fill" Drop down under Format menu
  3. Select "Eyedropper"
  4. Click the left mouse button and move it to the website, picture or any other software from which you want to pick and apply the color. Clicking left button would let the color picker move anywhere outside on your desktop.
  5. Release the left button when the color picker (square box) is on the desired color

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Learn PowerPoint 2013: Free training videos from Microsoft

Every new software or software upgrade comes with new features and UI changes which you might find difficult to figure out easily. Microsoft's PowerPoint 2013 set to release later this year would also require some learning effort to fully utilize the potential of new features and functionality.

Though basic things and features are still the same as they were in PowerPoint 2007 and 2010, yet PowerPoint 2013 has lot of new features, UI changes and close integration with web.

Following tutorials from Microsoft explain various features and functionality and unveil the potential of  PowerPoint 2013.

1) Switch from 2003 to 2013

2) First look- Ribbon and commands

3) How things are organized- Menu, mini toolbar, Print preview

5) Save, publish and share

Microsoft has created these tutorials to help you easily switch to PowerPoint 2013. Tutorial in the form of a presentation can also be downloaded from Microsoft's website.

Note: These videos were extracted from the training presentation available on MS website to share with blog readers.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

PowerPoint 2013: A new generation product

Microsoft is going to release PowerPoint 2013 (Office 2013) by the end of 2012. This version of PowerPoint promises to bring lot more engagement, cloud power and rich feature set.  With integrated search and insert capabilities for images and media, PowerPoint 2013 is going to make lives of PowerPoint creators lot easy.  Loaded with wide variety of  16:9 themes, cool design and rich set of features it is certainly going to delight you.

PowerPoint 2013 is closely integrated with Sky Drive and Office 365 (Microsoft's online subscription based Office). Presentations can be saved on Sky Drive in a jiffy and accessed anywhere anytime. Here are some of the features worth talking from presentation creation prospective:

Convert PowerPoint presentations to MP4
PowerPoint 2013 lets you convert PowerPoint presentations in WMV and MP4 formats. The default option for video conversion in PowerPoint 2013 is MPEG-4 (MP4).

Search and insert images and videos from within PowerPoint
PowerPoint 2013 has inbuilt image and video search engine which lets you search images from Bing, Flickr and videos from Bing and YouTube.  This was the most sought out feature since presenters have to look for relevant images and videos for their presentations and they had to go out of PowerPoint  software to a browser to search for same.

Now one would be able to search and insert relevant images, videos from within PowerPoint. It seems that Microsoft is inspired by the search and insert capabilities of authorSTREAM Desktop- a free add-in for PowerPoint. PowerPoint 2013’s image search from Bing, Flickr and video search on Bing & YouTube are two features which are a part of authorSTREAM Desktop for quite sometime.

Default presentations size 
Instead of standard and traditional 4:3 aspect ratio, PowerPoint 2013 comes with default presentation size to be in 16:9 (wide view).

Sharing and access rights
Unless you want to share it publicly, you need not to upload the presentations to SlideShare or authorSTREAM to share it with others. With PowerPoint 2013, share presentations with anyone by sending them unique link generated via Sky Drive from within PowerPoint. PowerPoint 2013 also lets  you to set view and editing permissions.

Commenting is  definitely a new thing to MS PowerPoint.  Now users would be able to comment on the presentations. This will not only bring engagement but also speed up the feedback process via comments and replies.

Present online
Similar to PowerPoint 2010's Broadcast Slideshow, 2013 has Present online. Present online lets you conduct synchronized slideshows with remote audience wherein as a presenter you control the advancement of animation and slides.

Publish online
PowerPoint 2013 allows you to save the presentations online on Sky Drive or Office 365 if you have subscribed to.

In today's internet world dominated by social media and networks, PowerPoint 2013 is undoubtedly a product of  new generation with options of commenting, sharing, broadcasting and  inbuilt tools to help you create awesome presentations.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

SlideShare Vs authorSTREAM: Which one fits the bill

SlideShare and authorSTREAM are two top PowerPoint sharing platforms in terms of user base, traffic, reach and feature set. Both the companies are being run by Indian entrepreneurs.

Both were started at a gap of almost a year. SlideShare was started in the year 2006 while authorSTREAM was started in 2007. Since then Slideshare saw tremendous growth in terms of traffic and content. Slideshare has always been marketing focused. Starting from day one they made sure that each big or small release creates the buzz and get covered by reputed tech blogs and websites. Slideshare known as world’s no. 1 presentation sharing platform few years back experimented with lot of things over the time and emerged as World’s Largest Content Marketing Platform. Slideshare now allows uploading of pdf, documents, videos and presentations.  SlideShare’s Silicon valley  connections, huge traffic and user base made it easy for them to have exclusive partnerships with WordPress, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google and other platforms. Today SlideShare has more than 29 million monthly unique visitors, more than 7.4 million presentations and 16 million registered users. SlideShare recently got acquired by Linkedin.

authorSTREAM on the other has been bit inactive in terms of marketing.  Though they have been continuously improving the product and are solely focused on PowerPoint, yet their growth story is somewhat like Vimeo and SlideShare’s is that of YouTube.

Just so you know, authorSTREAM was the first to launch premium plans in 2009 and later SlideShare followed the suit and Launched their Pro plans. authorSTREAM was the first to launch the presentation meeting solution Present Live. Later SlideShare too launched similar tool called Zipcast. authorSTREAM supports basic elements of PowerPoint like animation effects, narrations, audio, transition effects etc. in online output. authorSTREAM’s output is like PowerPoint slideshow replicated online. authorSTREAM also let users convert PowerPoint presentations to video much before Microsoft even thought of having it as a feature in PowerPoint 2010. Today, authorSTREAM has 3 million registered users, 1.3 million presentation uploads and around 5 million monthly visitors.

After 5 years where these two presentation sharing platforms stand and which one is best suited for your needs and offers real value for money, here is a comparison to help you decide:

Private StorageYes (unlimited)Yes (unlimited)
Larger file uploads (per upload cap) 1 GB300 MB
AnalyticsYes (with Instant read receipts) Yes
Private meetings (webinars)Yes (chat only, no audio/video)Yes( video and chat)
Convert PowerPoint to video Yes -
Video uploads-Yes
Capture Leads-Yes
Turn off ads and other elementsYesYes
Branded or white labelled embedsYes-
Domain restriction for embedsYes-
BrandingYes Yes
Put own AdSense ads on your contentYes-
Download Flash files for hosted solution or desktopYes-
Facebook AppYesYes
Mobile websiteYesYes
Linkedin App-Yes
Starting price$29.95/ Year$190/ Year

Given the fact that SlideShare has huge traffic, your presentations are bound to get more views on SlideShare as compared to authorSTREAM but if you care about animations, narrations, want to get your presentations places by converting them to HD  videos or pricing is a concern for you,  authorSTREAM can be the best bet.

Monday, June 18, 2012

authorSTREAM announces PowerPoint to HD video conversions

Online presentation sharing platform authorSTREAM has announced an upgrade to their PowerPoint to video conversion engine. authorSTREAM now supports HD video output of PowerPoint presentations. One PowerPoint to MP4 HD video conversion on authorSTREAM would cost $5. Non-HD video formats on authorSTREAM are FLV, AVI, MPEG-II, MP4 and cost $3 per conversion.

authorSTREAM has recently announced the ability to convert on-click presentations as well support for embedded videos and transition effects. Here are two pictures depicting the difference in quality of authorSTERAM's HD and non HD output.

Non HD output

HD output

Friday, June 15, 2012

How to mute a video and play narration or music in sync with video in PowerPoint 2010

There are times when you want to use some interesting video in your presentation but don't want the audio to play. Instead  you want your own voice-over or some music to play in the background. PowerPoint 2010 not only lets you mute the audio but also lets you play your voice-over, a pre-recorded narration or a music file as if  the audio is recorded in the video itself. Here are the steps to mute the audio of a video file inserted in slide:

  • Insert the video you want to play during slideshow
  • Click on the video
  • Click on Playback tab on ribbon
  • Click on Volume option
  • Click Mute to mute the audio (you can also adjust audio to low or medium)
  • Set the video to play automatically or play on click as per  your requirement 

Video PowerPoint mute

Adding your own voice-over or narrations
Adding narration or your own voice-over to a slide show is pretty simple:

  • Click on Slide Show tab on ribbon  
  • Click Record Slide Show to start recording your own voice
  • Leave the 'Narrations and laser' pointer check box ticked 
  • Click Start Recording button to record your voice 

Using music or pre-recorded audio narration
In case you want to play some music along with video, click on Insert on ribbon. Click Audio and select the option Audio from File and insert the audio file. Click Animations on ribbon followed by Animation Pane. Set the start of audio file to with previous so that it plays as soon as the video starts playing. 

Now run the slideshow. You will notice that the video plays along with  narration or music and gives an impression as if audio is a part of the video inserted. You can use this technique to create your own lectures or demo presentations and include any demo, documentary or science videos  and add your voice-over to explain the concepts shown in the video, in sync with the video.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Convert PowerPoint to HTML5:Retain animations, media on iPad or other devices

iSpring has announced the launch of PowerPoint to HTML 5 solution making it possible to deliver PowerPoint slideshow experience on devices like iPad, iPhone. Till now only few companies like Brainshark were able to reproduce slideshow experience on non-flash devices like iPad but that too was a flash solution using Air app. iSpring's this release could be game changer for online presentation sharing domain since currently no popular presentation sharing website is capable of handling animations or sound on non-flash devices especially iPad or iPhone.

Below is a sample PowerPoint output with animations created using iSpring's convert to HTML5 solution:

Wednesday, May 2, 2012 launched: Create synchronized presentations online

Last year we talked about an online tool for creating synchronized presentations which was in beta then. is like any other tool that helps you create synchronized multimedia presentation with a difference that while others are desktop plug-ins, is an online tool.

We reviewed the software and found few advantages and few shortcomings like cost, no option to synchronize presentations with pre-recorded videos etc. has been launched officially today. Most of the things which were of concern have been taken care of. The pricing has been revised and now it make much sense for people to go for $9/mo or $39/mo plan as compared to the ones listed on website in September last year. Now supports pre-recorded videos as well.

For those who wonder what synchronized multimedia presentations are, see one below:

Best thing about is that output works on all browsers and all devices including iPad.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

authorSTREAM upgrades PowerPoint to video engine: claims to be better than PowerPoint 2010

Online presentation sharing website authorSTREAM has announced an upgrade to their PowerPoint to video conversion engine. authorSTREAM lets you convert your PowerPoint presentations in WMV, AVI, FLV and MP4 video formats. Once converted videos users can send share them on YouTube via 'send to YouTube' option or download on desktop to burn on DVD.

Prior to PowerPoint 2010, authorSTREAM was the only online option for converting PowerPoint presentations in video format. authorSTREAM's PowerPoint to video engine now supports embedded videos and slide transition effects.

Here is the comparison put up by authorSTREAM between PowerPoint to video capabilities of authorSTREAM and PowerPoint 2010:

PowerPoint 2010
PowerPoint to Video conversion supportSupports video conversion for most PowerPoint versions (2002(XP)/2003/2007/2010)Supports video conversion only in PowerPoint 2010
Audio support in video conversions, created out of any PowerPoint presentation versionYesAudio compatibility issues are more often
Playing sound across selected slides YesYes, but when more than 1 audio file is inserted in a presentation and selected for specific slides, audio overlapping problems crop up
Transition sound effect YesNo
Preference to rehearse timings set for each slide (in case when slide contains some media)
Video formats supportAVI, FLV, MP4 and WMVWMV video format only
Share presentation videos on YouTubeSend directly to YouTube (no need to download) Upload manually

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Basic difference between slide transition effects and animation effects

Slide transitions are the animation effects that are applied to whole slide whereas animation effects are applied to objects (text, shape, picture etc.) on a slide. For a slide you can have only one transition effect while each object on the slide can have multiple animation effects.

Transition effects appear in PowerPoint slideshow view when slides change from one to the next. Like animation effects we can control the speed of each slide transition effect, and we can also add music or sound. Video below should help you understand the difference:

Transition and animation effects provide visual impact and  grab the audience's attention but when to use them and when not entirely depends upon your content and target audience. It's advisable not to overdo animations or slide transitions and also to stick to one transition effect throughout the slideshow because your audience may find it annoying and distracting. A balanced use of animations and slide transitions can lead to effective presentations which will  keep your audience attentive and awake.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

authorSTREAM releases mobile website

Online PowerPoint presentation sharing platform authorSTREAM that claims to be second largest presentation sharing platform (obviously first being SlideShare) has announced the release of mobile version of the website.

Tailor-made  optimized for the smaller screens of mobile devices,  lets users view the presentations, search through featured presentations, and share the presentations via Facebook wall, tweet, Google +1 or via email using any smartphone.    

Unlike desktop version of authorSTREAM where animations, sound and videos are supported the mobile version just shows slides as static images. However, as per authorSTREAM they would be adding multimedia capabilities for Android devices going forward. authorSTREAM presentations were already  iPad compatible but the website was not mobile optimized. authorSTREAM's nearest competitor SlideShare already has a mobile compatible version of the website.     

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

PowerPoint usage statistics and market share

Microsoft PowerPoint Icon      Image via Wikipedia
PowerPoint industry has flourished like anything in last few years. More and more people have started using PowerPoint presentations for business, education and marketing activities. The success of  new product ideas and use cases like online PowerPoint sharing, converting PowerPoint presentations to videos, creating synchronized PowerPoint presentations validates the rapid growth of PowerPoint industry.

This growth is the reason that lot many people [Entrepreneurs, Product Managers, Analysts]  look for stats related to usage of PowerPoint presentations and try to estimate the size of PowerPoint market. No doubt that such stats [even estimates] are of much  importance to any business or product idea related to PowerPoint and PowerPoint users.

Here are few important estimated stats about PowerPoint that might help those looking for such stats. We would keep on updating these stats with links to resources from where they come from:

  • How many PowerPoint users are there?: There are more than 500 million users of  PowerPoint   worldwide. [Source of information]
  • How many presentations are created daily?: More than 30 million presentations  are created everyday  [Source of information]    
  • Use of PowerPoint in teaching: Over 6 Million Teachers around the world use PowerPoint for classroom lectures [Source of information]
  • Use of PowerPoint in Business and Education: More than 120 million people are using PowerPoint to create business and educational presentations worldwide.  [Source of information
  • Estimated sale of PowerPoint software $100m     [Source of information]
  • Average PowerPoint runs for 250 minutes start up to shutdown   [Source of information]
  • The average PowerPoint slide shows has 40 words   [Source of information]
  • Microsoft PowerPoint has estimated 95% share of presentation software market  [Source of information]


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