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PowerPoint Notes: August 2004

Info-things on PowerPoint usage including tips, techniques and tutorials.

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Using the Object Packager to embed Video

Thursday, August 26, 2004
posted by Geetesh on 10:42 AM IST

The Object Packager is a feature that's part of all versions of Windows since Windows 3.1. It provides a way to embed videos (or anything else) within a PowerPoint presentation.

1. In your active PowerPoint slide, choose the Insert | Object... option. This will present you with the "Insert Object" dialog box.

2. In the "Object Type" listing, choose the "Package" option. Make sure that the "Create New" radio button is checked and click OK. This will present you with the Object Packager interface.

3. Choose File | Import... , navigate to your video file and cick "Open". Within Object Packager, click File | Update followed by File | Exit. This will bring you back to PowerPoint.

4. Right click the object within PowerPoint and choose Custom Animation. In Powerpoint 2002 and 2003, this will activate the Custom Animation task pane. Choose Add Effect | Object Animation | Activate Contents within the task pane.

5. Drag the package icon slightly off and outside the slide area if required. You can choose the OnClick or After Previous option in the Start drop down menu of the Custom Animation task pane - but I would rather leave it at OnClick if the icon has not been dragged off the slide.

Using the technique above, you can embed almost any file in most Microsoft Office applications - but there are a couple of caveats you need to be aware of:

1. You will always get a warning message about viruses.

2. Object Packager is not a ery stable application - its looks confirm its Windows 3.1 ancestry.

3. The files packaged this way will always open in their associated application - and does not look elegant especially if you are presenting to an audience.

4. This technique will not work with the PowerPoint Viewer.

Having said that, this is a great way to embed those RealMedia and QuickTime files that PowerPoint will not play by default.

Related Link:

Create a ZIP EXE with a PowerPoint presentation:


Tuesday, August 24, 2004
posted by Geetesh on 1:26 PM IST

Although this example uses Excel as a source of a word list, it should work with almost any program. The entire procedure uses an undocumented PowerPoint trick uncovered by PowerPoint MVP Steve Rindsberg - who called it the SneakyHAX Trick. Here is Steve's original way to Create a PowerPoint presentation from a plain text file

This page was the result of a question posted on the PowerPoint Newsgroup:

I am a teacher and have a list in Excel of 225 "sight" words. I would like to import these words into a PowerPoint presentation with one word per slide so the kids can have electronic flash cards. Is there a way to do this without retyping each word?

Kathy Jacobs, another PowerPoint MVP answered the post - this is included here with her permission. Thank you, Kathy.

1. Save your Excel file as a text file - choose File | Save As... and choose Unicode Text (*.txt) as the File Type.

2. Open the text file in Notepad or another text editor to make sure that each word is on a separate line.

3. Launch PowerPoint and choose File | Open. In the File Type drop down menu, choose All Outlines so that your text file can be selected. Click OK.

4. Each word should end up on its own slide in the title placeholder. Format the presentation as you want. (You can even add pictures to the slides to show what the words mean.)

Tip: If you want to take it even further, make the second line of each entry the definition. Indent the second line one tab and it will become the first level bullet. Like so:

    A way to communicate with others via text or HTML messages
    Machine that computes

Tip: To change the look of the presentation, apply a template. You'll find several free PowerPoint templates on Indezine.

Related Link: You can read Kathy's interview on Indezine...


Monday, August 23, 2004
posted by Geetesh on 8:12 PM IST

This technique assumes you know how to loop sound across slides.

When you loop the presentation using the options in Slide Show | Set Up Show, you'll find that the music starts again on the first slide whenever the presentation is looping. To overcome this problem, PowerPoint MVP Glenna Shaw provides the perfect solution:

1. The trick is to insert a "kick-off" slide at the beginning of the slide show to start your music.

2. Next mark slide 2 through the last slide to be a custom show with automated timing to advance slides. Make sure Slide 1 DOES NOT have automated timing to advance slide.

3. Add an Action Button (or hyperlink) to Slide One to link to the Custom Show. Slide 1 should now have two items; the sound file and an action button or hyperlink to start the Custom Show.

4. Set up the slide show to loop until ESC using automated timings and showing all slides.

5. Save it as a .PPS (recommended).

When you run the slide show, Slide 1 will start the music and you'll need to click on the Action Object or Hyperlink to start the custom show. From that point on, the presentation should loop through Slide 2 to the Last Slide without resetting the music (unless you have some other sound stop it between Slide 2 and the Last Slide). If you saved it as a PowerPoint Show (PPS), the whole thing will close neatly when you press ESC.

There's a sample file for this technique that you can download from Glenna's site... The sample is called Loop Sounds.


Saturday, August 21, 2004
posted by Geetesh on 9:11 AM IST

Quite often, you might have received a PowerPoint presentation with a PPS or PPSX extension rather than the normal PPT or PPTX extension - here's more info.

First, let me tell you a little about the extensions:

  • PPT is the default file extension for saving presentations in PowerPoint 2003 and earlier versions.
  • PPTX is the default file extension for saving presentations in PowerPoint 2007 and later versions.
  • PPS is the the show mode extension in PowerPoint 2003 and earlier -- these files run in "play-presentation" mode when double-clicked.
  • PPSX does the same thing in PowerPoint 2007 and later -- it runs in "play-presentation" mode when double-clicked.

Here's some more details that might help you clear the gobbledygook:

  • Technically there is no difference between PPT (or PPTX) and PPS (or PPSX) files.
  • With PPT and PPS files, you can actually rename the extensions whenever you want and the presentation file will remain the same.
  • With PPTX and PPSX files, you cannot rename at will -- but trust me, they are the same!

The difference lies in how PowerPoint treats them:

  • By default, PPT and PPTX files open in edit mode within PowerPoint allowing you to use all the menus and commands.
  • By default, PPS and PPSX files open in slideshow (play-presentation) mode, and you see no PowerPoint interface. When the presentation finishes or you manually exit using tthe ESC key, PowerPoint also quits.

Having said that, you can play all PowerPoint file formats (PPT, PPS, PPTX, PPSX) directly from within Windows Explorer -- right-click the file and the choose the Play option in the context menu.

You can also edit a PPS or PPSX file without changing the extension using either of these options:

  • Just drag and drop the PPS or PPSX file from Windows Explorer into an empty PowerPoint window.
  • Launch PowerPoint and open a PPS or PPSX using the File/Office Button | Open option to edit a presentation.

See Also: PowerPoint Tutorials | PowerPoint Tutorials: Interface and Basics

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Monday, August 02, 2004
posted by Geetesh on 5:32 PM IST

Have you ever inserted an audio (sound) or video (movie) clip on your PowerPoint slide only to discover that while the media clips do play on the computer where they were inserted, but not on any other computer? Or did you add hyperlinks to Excel sheets, Word documents, and PDFs from within your PowerPoint presentation, only to discover that those link also do not work on any other computer, other than where they were linked!

As we learned from the above paragraph, PowerPoint creates links from two types of files:

  1. Media Files: These include audio and video clips -- common formats can be identified by file extensions such as AVI, WMV, MPG, MP3, WMA, WAV, etc.

  2. Other Files: These are documents such as Word documents (DOC, DOCX), Excel sheets (XLS, XLSX), Acrobat (PDF), etc.

The reason why these links do not work is because PowerPoint typically "links" these files -- so the linked files are not contained within the PowerPoint presentation file at all. When you are playing your slides, and PowerPoint encounters a linked file -- it fetches the file from its original location and plays it or shows it -- depending upon what type of file it is.

Now whatever we explained is true for all versions of PowerPoint other than the latest versions: PowerPoint 2010 for Windows, and PowerPoint 2011 for Mac -- these newest versions actually include all media files within the PowerPoint presentation file itself -- but they continue linking to any other file such as Word and Excel stuff.

Whenever you insert a media file or link any other file within PowerPoint 2007/2008 and earlier, it is invariably linked to the presentation. In fact, PowerPoint avoids embedding any files within the presentation -- that's probably sound reasoning in the first place because embedded movies would balloon up PowerPoint file sizes like nothing else! PowerPoint 2010/2001 and newer though are not too scared of ballooned file sizes, and they now contain the media file right within the PowerPoint file itself -- but even these versions, continue to link to other files.

Now for the bad part -- PowerPoint is not too good at remembering link locations. As far as the presentation and the linked files are on the same system, you will not face any problems. However, if you decide to move or copy the presentation to another computer system, you'll discover that PowerPoint cannot locate the linked files -- it won't even offer to find the links for you. The solution is quite simple -- assemble all your to-be-linked files in the same folder as your presentation even before you insert them into PowerPoint. And yes, only insert or link files for a presentation that has been saved at least once.

So what do you do about existing presentations with links already made? For those files, you can change links with a third-party PowerPoint add-in from Steve Rindsberg called RnR FixLinks Pro.

Also, some versions of PowerPoint, such as PowerPoint 2003 include a neat Package to CD feature (File | Package to CD). You can also use the Package to Folder option in that feature to copy the presentation and all linked files to a new folder. Both these options copy all linked files to the CD or new folder.

Related Link: Sounds/Movies don't play, images disappear or links break when I move or email a presentation has more detailed information.

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Sunday, August 01, 2004
posted by Geetesh on 11:10 AM IST

There are umpteen ways to do just that - but let us explore the easiest ways to email a PowerPoint presentation.

1. Make sure that all linked files such as movies, sound, etc. are placed in the same folder as the presentation even before your insert them within the presentation.

2. Thereafter, zip the entire folder into one zip archive file. Do not create self-unzipping executables since some email programs block EXE files by default - also Windows EXE files cannot be run natively on other platforms like the Mac. If you are not sure that the recipient is aware of how zipped files are unarchived, provide them links to unzipping applications for Windows and Mac:

WinZip: (Windows only)
StuffIt: (Windows and Mac)

3. Attach the zip file with your email message. If it is a large attachment, consider asking the recipent for permission beforehand. You might also want to consider uploading your zipped presentation online and including the download URL with the file size in the body of the email.

4. Provide links to the free PowerPoint Viewer for users who amy have no PowerPoint installed on their systems:

PowerPoint Viewer 2003 for Windows -
PowerPoint Viewer 98 for Mac -


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