For many years users had to be satisfied with using either a computer screen or data projector to display Microsoft PowerPoint presentations. A few years ago making a PDF file for a slide presentation become an Adobe Acrobat option. For Power Point 2007, Adobe developed a PowerPoint ribbon bar to simplify the process. But all these output modes were tied to the local PC desktop environment, not only for the application but also the output.
Bloggers and web marketing personnel have been looking for ways to host PowerPoint slide presentations in “the Cloud” and embed them within weblog posts. SlideShare’s service had become one of the most popular of these services due to its relative ease-of-use. However, my first experience last spring found me switching between my PowerPoint desktop application to review and edit a third party’s PowerPoint presentation, and my browser to set up a SlideShare account through which I could upload the resulting presentation for embedding into a post.
Two days ago I had to upload another Power Point presentation to a weblog host. It just so happens I came across a press release from SlideShare along with an invitation to try out their new SlideShare Ribbon Bar for PowerPoint. So I gave it a workout.
As a result I was able to not only review and edit the slide show within PowerPoint but also perform the upload, tagging and title/description write-up with no need to use a web browser. Basically, SlideShare is one of the first services to embed web hosting access so deeply within an Office application.
This ribbon bar provides the ability to completely manage your SlideShare account from within PowerPoint. While I was able to install and use it successfully, it currently does require that the user manually do a .NET 3.5 SP1 upgrade (not yet performed via Windows/Office Update) that took close to an hour to complete over a broadband connection. Installing the ribbon bar itself went exactly as in the instructions stated and only took a few minutes.
The login to your SlideShare account is persistent, making it readily accessible anytime you launch PowerPoint 2007. You can bring back previously hosted slideshows for editing and re-uploading. One final comment: while I’m sure they will be addressed, I found a few minor bugs but they did not prevent me from accomplishing my main goal of making a PowerPoint presentation available for use within a weblog post.
SlideShare Ribbon Bar for PowerPoint could turn into a significant productivity tool for weblog authors and anyone involved in web-based sales, marketing and support activities.