Leadership

Video: Create a self-running PowerPoint presentation

Bill Detwiler shows you create a PowerPoint presentation that runs all on its own, without human interaction.

When you need to share information visually, Microsoft PowerPoint is a great option--and did you know, you don't even have to be there to flip the slides. During this episode of TR Dojo, I show you how to create a PowerPoint presentation that runs all on its own.

For those who prefer text to video, you can click the Transcript link that appears below the video player window or read Mary Ann Richardson's article, "Create a self-running PowerPoint presentation," on which this episode is based.

You can also sign up to receive the latest TR Dojo lessons through one or more of the following methods:

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

51 comments
glenmy
glenmy

In the instructions for creating a CD, Bill explains: "Just insert your CD, pull down the File menu, and choose Package For CD. In PowerPoint 2007, click the Office button, choose Publish, and then select Package For CD." I notice that it takes an extra step in PP07 to do this. It seems there are quite a few tasks that take extra clicks in '07 (the example of attaching a special signature to an email in Office '07 comes to mind). Can someone explain why MS thinks the interface in 2007 is better?

rcemory
rcemory

How would your add voice or music to slide show?

mbgt
mbgt

Great video. Is there a way to move the text across the screen from left to right? I want to have a headline type movement. Thanks

johnk
johnk

Excellent. You need to address audio/narration for publishing to all end uses, especially the web. thanks!

jkiernan
jkiernan

This would have been a lot more ironic if you posted it as a self-running slide show.

blarman
blarman

Both ultimately boil down to the presenter, but the reason there are so many BAD presentations is because a good presentation incorporates public speaking, art, and subject matter expertise into one. A lack in any of these categories jeopardizes a successful presentation. 1. Public speaking. This includes reading from the slides, but is mostly about your comfort level in front of others. Practice is the only form of expertise. 2. Art. This includes slide layout, variety, simplicity, font size, backgrounds, LACK of animations, length, etc. A web design class can actually help a lot here if you don't have a background in graphic design. 3. Expertise. Don't read from the slides! The presentation is there to accentuate your materials, NOT to BE the materials. If you can't present the material WITHOUT the slides, you won't be effective WITH the slides. Practice, practice, practice!

DaveInRacine
DaveInRacine

Presentations that use a table or chart with too much stuff in a too small font and the presenter says "I know this is an eye chart but..."

sermic
sermic

this is fine and dandy, but how many people actually want to read a PPT? most presentations, when done correctly, do not elaborate and a particularly important point. that is why you need a presenter. you should revise this to include a voice overlay for the presentation, which would be much more useful for those that would be interested.

amshoaib
amshoaib

Also too lengthy power point..which goes on and on and on

lanmanjs
lanmanjs

I've been curious on how to do this for a while but never had the occasion to learn how to do it. Now, I don't have to since it was shown to me. Thanks Bill Detwiler.

eric.schell
eric.schell

Where is the link? eric.schell@sbcglobal.net

janet.cook
janet.cook

My hardest thing is teaching kids that the paragraphs go in the speaker's notes and the graphics and a few words go on the slide. If you want everyone to read what you wrote, do it in Word.

The 'G-Man.'
The 'G-Man.'

you do not need 75 slides for a 15 minute presentation!

djsambiz
djsambiz

Cup of coffee near of a laptop ?....hmmmm bad idea.

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

In the above TR Dojo post, I show you how to create a PowerPoint presentation the runs without human interaction. Unfortunately, even self-running presentation can still be a nightmare for the audience. We've all suffered through presentations with too much text on each slide, garish or abrasive color schemes, and overly cute clip art. Which PowerPoint abuse is the worst? Take the poll in the above post and let me know. Original post and poll: http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/itdojo/?p=1556

raylinkz
raylinkz

I have posted the method I have used to create a slideshow with narration using embedded voice files for each slide. I have not found a way to post the PP on the web without converting it to a format that will run in a browser; ie like what's posted on you-tube. If you have to download the reader and audio files to view the slideshow properly, it defeats the purpose of self-running, IMHO.

SgtPappy
SgtPappy

...and there is a need for it. Adding a narrative voice to a powerpoint is also a good idea when appropriate.

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

There is a link to the blog post, video, and poll in my original discussion thread post and there is a link to the transcript and original article in the blog post. I'm not sure I know what link you are referring to.

bobjorg
bobjorg

I used to teach Power Point (among other things) to Grades 4 through 8. Many presentors we've all suffered through could use the same instruction. I tried to emphasize: 1) Stand 10 feet from the computer screen, if you can't read what is on the monitor others won't be able to read it when projected on the big screen. 2) Only put important points on the slide. if you put to many words your audience will read then all at once (if they can) and then turn off to you. 3) The kids loved sound, motion and graphics. That's ok for grade school, but their overuse doesn't belong in a professionasl presentation. 4) You need to use a sense of color and balance to make the presentation look like you put some effort into it. Use what you learned in art class. Don't use too many fonts, colors, patterns, etc. 5) Know your audience, what would interest them? Why are they watching your presentation. 6) Plan it out before you start putting it together. It saves time in the long run. It was very rewarding seeing the progress from year to year and having parents thank me because their kids taught them how to do a presentation.

sparky_87
sparky_87

At one slide every ten seconds = six slides per minute * 15 minutes = 90 slides! That'll put anyone to sleep.

SgtPappy
SgtPappy

Just because you spilled doesn't mean everyone else will spill liquid on their laptop. I work at a computer all day. I drink water, coffee, and soda. I'm not going to get up and walk across the room to pick up my cup everytime I want a drink. That being said what does a coffee cup next to a laptop have to do with creating an unattended PowerPoint presentation?

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

I'll let you in on a little secret. That laptop broke several years ago and is now just a prop. Luckily, it's the perfect size for the table and background that we use.

ctrogers
ctrogers

I wrote this little AutoIT script that runs on a devoted computer that's connected to a large flat-panel screen in the lobby. Someone merely needs to send a dated powerpoint file to the specified share, and this script continuously runs it all day long. I'm sure many of you can improve on my code as I'm not a professional programmer, but it's been working fine for a few months now. You'll likely need to change some of the paths and variables to fit your system. #Region ;**** Directives created by AutoIt3Wrapper_GUI **** #AutoIt3Wrapper_Res_Fileversion=2.0.0.6 #AutoIt3Wrapper_Res_FileVersion_AutoIncrement=y #AutoIt3Wrapper_Run_Tidy=y #EndRegion ;**** Directives created by AutoIt3Wrapper_GUI **** ;****** Presenter ********* ;A Presentation Loader and Player ;by Chris Rogers ; ;App will load and present the most recent .pp* located in the Presentation directory ;#include #include ;for _FileWriteLog #include #include #include Const $SC_MonitorPower = 61808, $Power_On = -1, $Power_Off = 2 Func MonitorOff() Return DllCall("user32.dll", "int", "SendMessage", "hwnd", WinGetHandle(WinGetTitle("", "")), "int", $WM_SYSCommand, "int", $SC_MonitorPower, "int", $Power_Off) EndFunc ;==>MonitorOff Func MonitorOn() Return DllCall("user32.dll", "int", "SendMessage", "hwnd", WinGetHandle(WinGetTitle("", "")), "int", $WM_SYSCommand, "int", $SC_MonitorPower, "int", $Power_On) EndFunc ;==>MonitorOn Func MakeInIFile($ini) IniWrite($ini, "Settings", "InputDir", "C:\Presentations") If @error Then MsgBox(4096, "Error", "Error Writing to " & @WorkingDir & "\" & $ini, 30) IniWrite($ini, "Settings", "CmdLine", '"c:\program files\microsoft office\office12\PPTVIEW.exe /S "') IniWrite($ini, "Settings", "PPExtension", "*.pp*") IniWrite($ini, "Settings", "LoopSeconds", "5") ;IniWrite($ini, "Settings", "XScreenResolution", "1920") ;IniWrite($ini, "Settings", "YScreenResolution", "1200") IniWrite($ini, "Control", "ClosePresenter", "0") IniWrite($ini, "Settings", "TimeOff", "19:00") IniWrite($ini, "Settings", "TimeOn", "05:30") IniWrite($ini, "Control", "ClosePresenter", "0") EndFunc ;==>MakeInIFile Func GetLatestFile($DirPath, $FileSpec) $search = FileFindFirstFile($DirPath & "\" & $FileSpec) ;MsgBox(0, "Info", "Search=" & $search & ". FileSpec=" & $FileSpec) $LatestFile = "" $LatestTime = 0 ; Check if the search was successful If $search = -1 Then ;MsgBox(0, "Error", "No files/directories matched the search pattern", 30) Else While 1 $File = FileFindNextFile($search) If @error Then ExitLoop If StringInStr(FileGetAttrib($DirPath & "\" & $File), "D") > 0 Then ; Skip directories ElseIf StringLeft($File, 1) = "~" Then _FileWriteLog(@ScriptDir & "\Presenter.log", "FileDelete " & $DirPath & "\" & $File) FileDelete($DirPath & "\" & $File); Delete temp files. Else $FileTime = FileGetTime($DirPath & "\" & $File, 0, 1) If $FileTime > $LatestTime Then ;~ If $LatestFile "" Then ;~ _FileWriteLog(@ScriptDir & "\Presenter.log", "FileDelete " & $DirPath & "\" & $LatestFile) ;~ FileDelete($DirPath & "\" & $LatestFile) ;~ EndIf $LatestFile = $File $LatestTime = $FileTime ;~ Else ;~ ;_FileWriteLog(@ScriptDir & "\Presenter.log", "FileDelete " & $DirPath & "\" & $File) ;~ ;FileDelete($DirPath & "\" & $File) EndIf EndIf WEnd EndIf FileClose($search) If $LatestFile = "" Then SetError(1) Return "" Else Return $DirPath & "\" & $LatestFile EndIf EndFunc ;==>GetLatestFile Func DateFileSpec($FileSpec) ;Adds date to filespec in mmddyy format. i.e. 070409*.pp* $DFS = @MON & @MDAY & StringRight(@YEAR, 2) & $FileSpec Return $DFS EndFunc ;==>DateFileSpec ;################################## ; Main Application ;################################## $ini = "Presenter.ini" If Not (FileExists($ini)) Then MakeInIFile($ini) FileDelete(@ScriptDir & "\Presenter.log") _FileWriteLog(@ScriptDir & "\Presenter.log", "Presenter Version " & "DateCodes") ;Black background GUICreate("", @DesktopWidth, @DesktopHeight, 0, 0, $WS_POPUP) GUISetState() GUISetBkColor(000000) MouseMove(@DesktopWidth, @DesktopHeight, 0) ;Attempt to set full resolution for Display ;$vRes = _ChangeScreenRes(IniRead($ini,"Settings","XScreenResolution","1920"),IniRead($ini,"Settings","YScreenResolution","1200"), -1,-1) ;If @error Then ;MsgBox(0, "ERROR", "Unable to change screen - check parameters",30) ;EndIf ;End Resolution change $MonitorAwake = 1 MonitorOn() _FileWriteLog(@ScriptDir & "\Presenter.log", "Initializing MonitorOn @ " & _NowTime(4)) While 1 If ($MonitorAwake = 0) And (_NowTime(4) >= IniRead($ini, "Settings", "TimeOn", "05:30")) And (_NowTime(4) < IniRead($ini, "Settings", "TimeOff", "19:00")) Then $MonitorAwake = 1 MonitorOn() _FileWriteLog(@ScriptDir & "\Presenter.log", "MonitorOn@" & _NowTime() & ". TimeOn=" & IniRead($ini, "Settings", "TimeOn", "05:30") & ". TimeOff=" & IniRead($ini, "Settings", "TimeOff", "19:00")) EndIf If ($MonitorAwake = 1) And ((_NowTime(4) >= IniRead($ini, "Settings", "TimeOff", "19:00")) Or (_NowTime(4) < IniRead($ini, "Settings", "TimeOn", "05:30"))) Then $MonitorAwake = 0 MonitorOff() _FileWriteLog(@ScriptDir & "\Presenter.log", "MonitorOff@" & _NowTime() & ". TimeOn=" & IniRead($ini, "Settings", "TimeOn", "05:30") & ". TimeOff=" & IniRead($ini, "Settings", "TimeOff", "19:00")) EndIf If $MonitorAwake = 1 Then ;First, try to pull today's file in mmddyy format. $CurrentFile = GetLatestFile(IniRead("Presenter.ini", "Settings", "InputDir", "C:\Presentations"), DateFileSpec(IniRead($ini, "Settings", "PPExtension", "*.pp*"))) _FileWriteLog(@ScriptDir & "\Presenter.log", "DateFileSpec = " & $CurrentFile) If $CurrentFile = "" Then ;if mmddyy*.pp* file not found, run the most recent *.pp* $CurrentFile = GetLatestFile(IniRead("Presenter.ini", "Settings", "InputDir", "C:\Presentations"), IniRead($ini, "Settings", "PPExtension", "*.pp*")) _FileWriteLog(@ScriptDir & "\Presenter.log", "DateFileSpec Failed. CurrentFile = " & $CurrentFile) EndIf If $CurrentFile "" Then ;_FileWriteLog(@ScriptDir & "\Presenter.log", "Run " & $CurrentFile) $PPpid = RunWait(IniRead($ini, "Settings", "CmdLine", '"c:\program files\microsoft office\office12\PPTVIEW.exe /S"') & ' "' & $CurrentFile & '"') If @error Then _FileWriteLog(@ScriptDir & "\Presenter.log", "Run " & IniRead($ini, "Settings", "CmdLine", '"c:\program files\microsoft office\office12\PPTVIEW.exe /S"') & " Error") Sleep(1000 * Number(IniRead($ini, "Settings", "LoopSeconds", "5"))) EndIf If IniRead($ini, "Control", "ClosePresenter", "0") = 1 Then _FileWriteLog(@ScriptDir & "\Presenter.log", ".ini initiated exit") Exit EndIf Else Sleep(1000 * Number(IniRead($ini, "Settings", "LoopSeconds", "5"))) _FileWriteLog(@ScriptDir & "\Presenter.log", "Error getting $CurrentFile ") MsgBox(0, "ERROR", "Filename=" & $CurrentFile, 10) EndIf Else ;if monitor in sleep mode Sleep(1000 * 60); 60 seconds EndIf WEnd

petermcc
petermcc

A Self running demo eliminates the worse case presenters. Those that simply read the screen text slowly and add nothing to the info. We used to fly folk down from Sydney (to Melbourne) and force them to sit through such a presenter. I guess the pay off was that they saw the data if they didn't nod off.

bobdavis321
bobdavis321

I tried Firefox and IE and the 'save as web page' does not work on any system that I can find.... Just like the MS Word 'save as web page', it is a total waste of time. You can do a much better job using cut and paste into an animated gif or something that actually works. Does anyone at Microsoft ever try to use their own apps or they all running Linux and laughing at us?? LOL

gcdimarketing
gcdimarketing

I positively hate flying text and the stupid sounds that accompany them.

TrajMag
TrajMag

Bill - How about a follow on covering "How to add narration to a Self-running Power Point Presentation." This would add the last gotcha to a trade show setup. Bet I could figure it out but some guidance would be a good starting point.

keyboards
keyboards

My biggest problem with MOST presenters is that they will put lots of small text on the page. When they view it up close on their 1280x1024 laptop screen, it looks perfectly fine. Now take the image and blow it up to a 7 1/2' x 10' screen and they go ballistic because they can't read the information. I deal with a lot of PPT's because of my AV business. I always insist (as a part of my contract) that I get at least a draft copy of the presentations a week before so issues like this can be addressed early (like before the 5 minutes prior to when they're ready to hit the stage). I don't always get it, but then it's not my problem when they aren't able to get it up there the way they want it.

Mithun Kumar S R
Mithun Kumar S R

But the chances of losing the Audience is always present since presentation becomes more ROBOTIC

raylinkz
raylinkz

This presentation was about creating a self-running PP presentation and the only thing he missed was to add how to add narration to each slide. (see my post above about how I did it if interested) Also, I totally agree, a 15 minute self-running presentation can lose most audiences and probably doesn't make the original point of the presentation. If you can't do it in 5 minutes, you need a handout.. Great discussions so far and good use of the tools most companies have and know, basically, how to use.

peter.leather
peter.leather

great reply Janet - if you want to do an interesting presentation - try one with no words on the slides - it makes you work hard at communicating effectively with the audience - and, as you say, all the words can be in the handouts If you want to avoid death by Powerpoint try Beyond Bullet Points - a book by Clif Atkinson

KiloWatt1975
KiloWatt1975

Are you in a grn/blu screen using a LiveSet?

1Cat2Many
1Cat2Many

There are even worse presenters, those who can't accurately read the slides and seem confused by them.

RG Bargy
RG Bargy

Isn't that a ground for claiming constructive dismissal, or a cruel and unusual punishment?

RG Bargy
RG Bargy

Hell, no! I wouldn't have the sound running on a Powerpoint presentation - I want them to hear my voice not some daft swooshing noise or typewriter keys or whatever.

raylinkz
raylinkz

I created a slideshow with narration just as noted in this dojo. I then recorded a narration for each slide and set that slide's timing to the length of the narration. Embed the audio file in the slide so it starts when the slide loads. It worked great for me using an earlier version of PP, I haven't yet upgraded to the newest version so don't know if it still an option. PS I also used moviemaker to create my presentation, but having to convert the pp slides caused them to be somewhat grainy and if I remember correctly the file size was much larger than the pp file even with the accompanying audio files.

stevemedia
stevemedia

This would certainly help me and my guys. Can somebody pick this up and run with it? Steve

73-cvr
73-cvr

I followed the proceedure on trdojo's newsletter to create the slide show.I have not been able to create the correct operation. I have saved the show to an .html format but the show should run in full page increments, instead it shows as I would view it while in Powerpoint. I am using the 2007 version. Also the slides do not advance automaticly, I must click to advance.

sgates
sgates

I would definitely agree with Peter. When delivering technical presentations to non-technical staff, I use pictures or simple illustrations whenever possible. With nothing to read, the worst two problems are avoided.

KiloWatt1975
KiloWatt1975

I know, Bill said no B roll and then that was the only video insync! I use iVGA to capture PPoint to ntsc/pal. OfficXYZ...the killer of PC performance at startup, for any other app....PERIOD! LOL

petermcc
petermcc

It should have been. We had to enthuse the victims to support the program after the sessions.

stevemedia
stevemedia

Thanks for this. in my ignorance I thought we would have more than one file to handle, slides and audio, couldn't get my head round it. Would I be correct in saying to create a webpage with both slides and audio, just follow the dojo's instructions? Steve

Jimmy Lin
Jimmy Lin

I don't know how to add audio to powerpoint, but I would convert my slides to images and import them into windows movie maker. Now I can not only add audio, but I can adjust each slide to show the specified amount of time that my dialogue requires. I can also burn it to a DVD and play it on a DVD player as well as on a computer.

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