Supercharge PowerPoint 2003 – Part 1

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We look at the bells and whistles available in Producer for PowerPoint 2003.

By Helen Bradley

You might be excused for thinking that PowerPoint is getting a little long in the tooth. Not much in the way of features have been added to the program in the last few years and creating a presentation is still pretty much a case of assembling slides for viewing one after the other. While it is possible to add movies and audio to PowerPoint presentations and to animate objects, it’s still pretty lackluster stuff. If you’re like me, you’ve probably wondered if there isn’t something a little more exciting that you can do with your presentation. Surprisingly enough the answer has been around for some time in the form of Producer for PowerPoint. It’s a free download and it can turn PowerPoint presentations into multimedia extravaganzas.

Let’s skip for now the caution about always making sure your presentation is effective in getting its message across and let’s look at the bells and whistles available in Producer for PowerPoint.


GET THE PROGRAM

Microsoft Producer for PowerPoint 2003 is available from the Microsoft website. The previous version which was available for PowerPoint 2002 has mysteriously vanished in the last few months. I can’t find it any longer on the Microsoft site but there are some copies around on the web and one I found is here.

What Producer for PowerPoint offers is a Windows Movie Maker type interface for compiling a multimedia presentation including movies, still images, sound and your PowerPoint slideshow. You can have multiple windows showing multiple elements all on the screen at once. If you’re familiar with Windows Movie Maker, you will find that Producer for PowerPoint works in a similar way.

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FIRST STEPS

Once you have Producer for PowerPoint downloaded and installed, launch it and choose the New Presentation Wizard option and click Ok – it’s a good idea to put together a simple presentation so you get an idea as to what is going on. Click Next and choose the default template – this gives you a window for showing videos as well as slides and text. Click Next to continue.

Choose the fonts and colors to use for the display and click Next to type the title for your presentation, the presenter name, and an image to display on the introductory page. You can also type text indicating what the presentation is about. To see the results click Preview – when you’re done, close this window to continue. Click Next and select one or more slideshows to import into your presentation. Click Next and import audio and video files to use in your presentation. Click Next, answer No to synchronizing the files and click Finish.

Producer will assemble your presentation for you and, to play it, click the Play button. Notice the movie plays separately to the slide show and watch the progress along the timeline at the foot of the screen. On the timeline are your slides and your movie and audio clips – slides are on the slide track, movies on the video track and audio on the audio 2 track. As the presentation plays, take note of the changes to make to it, these might include changing when video or audio starts, rearranging slides or removing some so they don’t play.

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EDITING YOUR PRESENTATION

To make changes to your presentation, stop it from playing and click the media tab. Working on the timeline at the foot of the page, move the slides around to reorder them and delete slides from the timeline so they won’t play. You can also synchronize movies and sound so everything plays at just the right time.

Next time I’ll show you more about the PowerPoint Producer screen and how to make detailed changes to your presentation.

 


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