PresentationPro takes your slide shows remote

When it comes to running the government machine, Microsoft PowerPoint presentations often serve as the transmission grease.

But PowerPoint files have disadvantages. They can't be shared remotely with audiences, and they generally overflow a standard floppy disk.

A&T Systems Inc. has worked around these disadvantages with its PresentationPro add-on suite, which compresses the size of PowerPoint slides and lets them be shared online.

PresentationPro converts PowerPoint slides into Macromedia Flash files that are about 25 percent as large. Even my toughest test files were effectively halved. Although the conversion means that remote viewers' computers must have Flash Player installed, it is a free download from Macromedia Inc. of San Francisco and comes standard with most browsers.

Oh'and the conversion happens by clicking just one PresentationPro button that integrates itself into PowerPoint at installation.

Once that's done, the real value of PresentationPro becomes clear. You can upload the presentation to a server and invite remote viewers to watch it, either in a meeting with OnlinePresenter or via EmailPresenter, both part of the suite.

Let's meet online

With OnlinePresenter, one user acts as moderator and the other participants log in with their names and passwords at a prearranged uniform resource locator and time. The moderator can tell when they log in. Once everyone is set, the moderator can flip slides forward and back, just as with an in-person PowerPoint presentation. MP3 audio files can even be integrated with the slides.

Meeting software generally requires the viewers to load each new slide as it is discussed. But PresentationPro loads the complete show when each user logs in so that, after an initial wait, the show proceeds smoothly independent of available bandwidth. No longer does someone with a slow, 28.8-Kbps modem hold back the rest of the audience.

If you don't need to make the presentation live, EmailPresenter can send it to those you want to view it. Each person will have to link to your server to use Flash Player.

As a PowerPoint add-on, PresentationPro expands the capabilities of an already useful program. The complex pricing structure depends on the number of concurrent users, but PresentationPro would be worth just about any price if you do a lot of work in PowerPoint.

About the Author

John Breeden II is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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