Category Archives: iPad

Big PowerPoint for iPad update

 

Microsoft has been listening and has just released a big update to the PowerPoint for iPad. 

New features include presenter view and video support! Here’s the full list: 

  • Presenter View: View and edit speaker notes, see your next slide, or jump to other slides while presenting. 
  • Play Media: Play videos, sound effects, and background music while presenting. 
  • Insert Video: Insert videos from your Camera Roll. 
  • Picture Tools: Crop to focus on just the right part of the photo, or reset to undo your changes.
  • Presenter Tools: Now you can erase highlights and drawings on your presentation.
  • Send PDFs: Send PowerPoint files as PDFs. 
  • Hyperlinks: Add links to your presentation or edit existing ones. 
  • Fonts: Third-party fonts are now available in the Fonts menu.

Download it here

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Categories: iPad, PowerPoint.

PowerPoint for iPad. Finally.

Well, four years and 200 million iPad sales later, Microsoft has finally, finally, finally released Microsoft Office for the iPad, which includes, of course, PowerPoint. There’s a lot to like and…a lot to criticize. What, you think I’m going to give Microsoft an easy pass on this one?

First, let’s talk about getting it up and running on your iPad.

The Technical and Pricing Details

Each of the 3 office applications (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) are stand-alone apps that need to be downloaded separately from the iTunes store. The installation, as with most apps, is simple and straightforward. But upon opening PowerPoint (or one of the other apps), you’ll soon realize that you are only allowed to view and present presentations—not to edit or create. That is, unless you purchase or already own an Office 365 subscription.

And that’s where things can start to get complicated. Office 365 is still a point of confusion for a lot of consumers. It is essentially the subscription model for an Office suite on your PC and/or Mac that Microsoft is pushing hard as an alternative to the 2013 desktop version of Office. Different Office 365 plans give you different options for how many computers or devices you can install the software on, but a popular plan is the “Home Premium” one that gives you all Office apps on up to 5 computers or tablets for $99/yr.

So, in order to edit or create Office docs on the iPad, you must have an Office 365 subscription which you can make as an in-app purchase if you need to. 

Redesigned from the Ground Up

It is here that I have to give Microsoft tremendous props for not just porting an existing version and interface onto the iPad, but redesigning it from the ground up. While the program will feel familiar to users of the desktop version of PPT, it has been greatly simplified and optimized for the iPad. The dense set of ribbons has been simplified down to 5 tabs, each with a bare minimum of options. Formatting and functions are always at your fingertips—no endless clicking into sub-menus or hunting around. Working on slides feels easy and elegant. Moving objects around and working with text is a nice experience. It feels more Apple-like, than Microsoft-like.

Perfect for Playback

With one major exception, PowerPoint for iPad excels in playback. It is fairly easy to load PPT files through iTunes, from email or from Windows OneDrive. Unfortunately, there is no in-app support for Dropbox which would have been nice, but you can transfer PPT files from Dropbox for iPad to PPT for iPad. Once you have your files loaded, playback is beautiful and smooth. Swipe from the side to advance or go back, but it would have been nice to simply tap as well to advance. It is also easy to pretend you’re John Madden and notate and highlight parts of a slide on the fly with your finger (although these notes vanish when you advance to the next slide). 

There are many transitions to apply, and all play beautifully, as do complicated animations created on the desktop—even motion paths. While there is much that you cannot edit from the iPad, the app does not seem to eliminate or change most of what you have created on the desktop side. This is very good news, and will definitely give SlideShark a run for its money.

Sending your slides to a screen via AirPlay is possible, but not from the app. You’ll have to set this in the iPad general settings. You cannot pinch to zoom during slideshow mode, although you can in edit mode.

And when you arrive at a slide with video…nothing happens. While you do see a static screen shot of the first frame of your video, PowerPoint for the iPad simply does not support any video or audio playback. D’oh! Score one for Keynote…

Lack of video support might be my biggest disappointment.

 

A Small Program for a Small Screen

All the simplification comes at the price of removal of many functions. PowerPoint on the desktop is filled with hundreds, if not thousands of functions and endless options. No one would expect the iPad version to duplicate all these features, but there are some glaring omissions, including:

  1. No video support
  2. No creation or editing of object animations (only slide transitions)
  3. No printing support (sorry, Microsoft, but businesses still print A LOT of slides)
  4. Limited photo insertion (only option is from photo albums on your iPad; a Bing image search would have been awesome)
  5. No creation or editing of transparency on images or objects (you can insert a colored shape, but you can’t make it 50% transparent to use it as a text box over an image the way Microsoft’s screenshot above shows)
  6. No style control (you can apply default styles to text, shapes and images, but you have no further manual control)
  7. No alignment tools (I understand the challenge of selecting multiple objects in order to align, but a snap-to-shape feature would help in aligning multiple images)
  8. Little control of layouts and themes (you can select a theme when creating a new presentation, and a layout when creating a new slide, but you can’t change either of these after the fact)
  9. No image editing (aside from applying a default style, you cannot increase the brightness, create a duotone or even crop an image)
  10. No native Box, Dropbox or Google Drive support (I know Microsoft is pushing its own OneDrive service, but many users have other well-established workflows)

The Best Slide Solution for the iPad?

Is this the best solution for creating and running presentations on the iPad? Yes and no.

For those who have no interest in bothering with Keynote or converting and managing presentations through SlideShark, then PowerPoint for the iPad is a very good solution for basic viewing, very basic editing and playback. The iPad’s mail app has always been able to give you a preview of a PPT file attachment, but it often distorts, deletes and alters content. Not cool. A PDF was always a solution, but do you really want to constantly be asking your client to “make a PDF so I can view it on my iPad”?

As for me, while I will definitely make use of the new PowerPoint for iPad app, I will still rely on my favorite solution for presenting slides on the iPad: Photo Albums and JPEGs in the photo app. I still keep my portfolio on my iPad by converting presentations into individual albums of JPEGs. This allows me to quickly scan through dozens of presentations and then hundreds of slides, pinching and zooming and pulling up any slide I need very quickly. 

But at the end of the day, I still have to hand it to Microsoft for a well-designed, if feature-lacking solution.

* * *

I need to give special thanks to my friend Ric Bretschneider, former Senior Program Manager for PowerPoint at Microsoft who provided feedback on the above and who reminded me that A) this is still just a 1.0 version that will surely be improved in future versions, and B) Apple notoriously limits access to significant parts of the iOS API, preventing developers from instituting certain desired features.

The app has only been out for a few days, so if you feel I got anything wrong, please let me know! And if you have started using PowerPoint on the iPad yourself, I would love to know your experiences. 

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Categories: iPad, PowerPoint.

2 is the new 3

A few weeks ago, I wrote about a new iPad app called Haiku Deck.

At the time, they had graciously created a quick deck for me based on my Twinkie theory of presentation. 

Now, they did one better, creating a Haiku Deck based on my 2 is the new 3 post.

If you haven’t checked out Haiku Deck, swing by their site and download the app. It’s a cool way of very quickly creating a simple text-lite presentation. It might even be a cool tool to use when training people to create more visual, less text-dependant presentations.

 

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Haiku Deck


When I tweeted, “Yet another pres app…” I got called out by the makers of the latest presentation app, Haiku Deck. But instead of a lame, “You should really give it a try,” they replied by almost instantly creating a Haiku Deck presentation from one of my blog posts. Here it is: “Make Your Presentation Like a Twinkie.

Well played, sirs. Well played.

So, I took the new iPad app for a spin, creating my own presentation. Learning the app and creating the presentation took less than 15 minutes, which I thought appropriate for the subject matter. Here’s my Haiku Deck: 15 Minutes. 

So, What’s the Verdict?

I like it. With each new presentation alternative to Keynote & PowerPoint, I always question the business model, target audience and usage scenario. I’m currently playing with StoryPlanet, and I’ve previously written about PresentationLink and SlideShark. I still think the iPad is in its crying infancy when it comes to creating and delivering presentations on the iPad, but we might be getting there slowly but surely.

Haiku Deck is a very basic app that allows you to pull in a single image onto a slide (creative commons, your own pic or photos direct from your iPad), choose a template design and then add in very minimal text. There are no charts, bullet points, multiple images or animation: 1 image and 1-2 lines of text. In setting these restrictions, Haiku Deck actually forces you to think simply and visually in telling a story. How could I not like it? One of my colleagues remarked that it would be good as a training tool. Even I found it forcing me to simplify in the few slides I created.

I like Haiku Deck with one big caveat. Treat is as you would treat a haiku. If you aim to write poetry, know the differences between free form verse, iambic pentameter, sonnets, epics, ballads and…haikus. If you’re the kind of person who can present haiku-like, consider Haiku Deck.

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Categories: iPad, Simplicity, Storytelling.

SlideShark – The Newest iPad PowerPoint Solution

In the neverending quest for a solid presentation solution for the iPad, the latest contender is SlideShark, an iPad app (with accompanying web management) from the good folks at BrainShark.

Whereas there have been presentation management and display apps for the iPad, such as the very good Presentation Link, SlideShark is the first app to my knowledge that accurately translates existing animated PowerPoint slides for iPad playback.

To use SlideShark, you need to first upload your PPT files to your account on their website where they are converted for use on the iPad. Then, once you have the iPad app installed, you can download your converted presentations and play them through the SlideShark app. On the iPad, you have the option to choose different presentations and to resequence or delete slides within a presentation, even on the fly while presenting.

What’s the catch? No content on your slides can be edited on the iPad as your PPT file has been converted to a proprietary format for playback. Also, slide transitions and certain advanced animations are not currently supported.

If you have a designed PowerPoint file which has necessary animations, then SlideShark is a good solution. If you are not concerned about animations and need to simply show static, non-editable slides, then Presentation Link or my personal favorite solution—JPEGs in the iPad Photo App—is still a good road to go down.

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Categories: Animation, iPad, PowerPoint.

SlideShark – The Newest iPad PowerPoint Solution

In the neverending quest for a solid presentation solution for the iPad, the latest contender is SlideShark, an iPad app (with accompanying web management) from the good folks at BrainShark.

Whereas there have been presentation management and display apps for the iPad, such as the very good Presentation Link, SlideShark is the first app to my knowledge that accurately translates existing animated PowerPoint slides for iPad playback.

To use SlideShark, you need to first upload your PPT files to your account on their website where they are converted for use on the iPad. Then, once you have the iPad app installed, you can download your converted presentations and play them through the SlideShark app. On the iPad, you have the option to choose different presentations and to resequence or delete slides within a presentation, even on the fly while presenting.

What’s the catch? No content on your slides can be edited on the iPad as your PPT file has been converted to a proprietary format for playback. Also, slide transitions and certain advanced animations are not currently supported.

If you have a designed PowerPoint file which has necessary animations, then SlideShark is a good solution. If you are not concerned about animations and need to simply show static, non-editable slides, then Presentation Link or my personal favorite solution—JPEGs in the iPad Photo App—is still a good road to go down.

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Categories: Animation, iPad, PowerPoint.

Non-Linear Presentating on the iPad

Like many, I’ve written about my frustrations with the iPad as a presentation tool. There’s no question that it is an incredible device, but whenever we discuss presenting to a client using the iPad, we usually fail to find a compelling advantage for doing so. As my friend Cindy Coy says, there’s usually little reason other than, “LOOK, I have an iPad!”

Just last week we chose a printed book over the iPad for an in-person conversation with a top CEO—one reason being that a letter-sized page is larger, easier to read and easier to pass around a table. (The pitch went very well, thank you…)

About a year ago, we did actually create an entire interactive iPad app for a pitch, but in retrospect, I just don’t think it was worth the time, energy or money.

When I do use an iPad these days, it is generally to showcase our portfolio. And I still haven’t found a better solution than just creating folders of JPEGs and syncing and displaying them using iPad’s photo viewer. Each deck becomes its own album—navigation is blazingly fast and thumbnails gives a great overview for a project.

Presentation Link

While I think Keynote for iPad is still not ready for primetime, I admit that I haven’t kept up with all the many presentation solutions being cobbled together and created. But I do like a brand new app called Presentation Link by a German developer called Zuhanden.

Presentation Link is a management and presentation app that lets you import and assemble presentations, PDFs, indiividual images and movies. You can sequence, duplicate and delete slides, but you cannot change or add to the content of the slides as each becomes a static image.

What you can do, however, is create hotspot links anywhere on a slide that will hyperlink to any other slide in the deck (or a URL.) The ability to hyperlink to another part of a presentation is a major function that Keynote for iPad still does not have.

This means that you can finally present a true non-linear presentation on an iPad—something the iPad feels like it was born to do.

And like Keynote, you can connect Presentation Link to a display via iPad’s VGA or HDMI adaptors.

If I’m only presenting a linear deck, I’ll probably stick with Photo Viewer. But if I need it to be non-linear and interactive, I think I’ve found a new tool.

And I have to commend the developers on an exceptionally well thought out interface and functionality that is so smooth and simplified that you couldn’t be blamed for thinking it came out of Cupertino.

Presentation Link was just officially released. It’s free for a limited time, so grab it now.

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Categories: iPad.

Non-Linear Presentating on the iPad

Like many, I’ve written about my frustrations with the iPad as a presentation tool. There’s no question that it is an incredible device, but whenever we discuss presenting to a client using the iPad, we usually fail to find a compelling advantage for doing so. As my friend Cindy Coy says, there’s usually little reason other than, “LOOK, I have an iPad!”

Just last week we chose a printed book over the iPad for an in-person conversation with a top CEO—one reason being that a letter-sized page is larger, easier to read and easier to pass around a table. (The pitch went very well, thank you…)

About a year ago, we did actually create an entire interactive iPad app for a pitch, but in retrospect, I just don’t think it was worth the time, energy or money.

When I do use an iPad these days, it is generally to showcase our portfolio. And I still haven’t found a better solution than just creating folders of JPEGs and syncing and displaying them using iPad’s photo viewer. Each deck becomes its own album—navigation is blazingly fast and thumbnails gives a great overview for a project.

Presentation Link

While I think Keynote for iPad is still not ready for primetime, I admit that I haven’t kept up with all the many presentation solutions being cobbled together and created. But I do like a brand new app called Presentation Link by a German developer called Zuhanden.

Presentation Link is a management and presentation app that lets you import and assemble presentations, PDFs, indiividual images and movies. You can sequence, duplicate and delete slides, but you cannot change or add to the content of the slides as each becomes a static image.

What you can do, however, is create hotspot links anywhere on a slide that will hyperlink to any other slide in the deck (or a URL.) The ability to hyperlink to another part of a presentation is a major function that Keynote for iPad still does not have.

This means that you can finally present a true non-linear presentation on an iPad—something the iPad feels like it was born to do.

And like Keynote, you can connect Presentation Link to a display via iPad’s VGA or HDMI adaptors.

If I’m only presenting a linear deck, I’ll probably stick with Photo Viewer. But if I need it to be non-linear and interactive, I think I’ve found a new tool.

And I have to commend the developers on an exceptionally well thought out interface and functionality that is so smooth and simplified that you couldn’t be blamed for thinking it came out of Cupertino.

Presentation Link was just officially released. It’s free for a limited time, so grab it now.

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Categories: iPad.
visual training presentation