Problem Free Presentations II

David Parry bio photo By David Parry

How to prepare a digital presentation and not worry about it working.

Making a digital presentation can be a big pain, especially since it seems that given the radically different technical capabilities you are apt to encounter, you can’t guarantee it will work. One of the biggest concerns I see is that people bring their own computers and then for whatever reasons these do not work with the provided equipment, or people bring just a digital verision of the presentation, and the computer doesn’t have the appropriate program.

Let’s say you have a presentation to do, and the images are not available on the web, or you want to make your own slides, so that the del.icio.us trick will not work. I often run into problems in preparing a presentation, where I am not sure that the computer that will be available will be able to run the presentation (often you don’t know if the location has PCs or Macs). There is a rather simple solution to this problem, a way to make sure you presentation will work wherever you find yourself.

The trick here is to get your presentation into a format that is portable and easily readable. There are many programs out there whose only purpose is to serve as a slide viewer. That is, the application just lets you view/show a series of slides which have been saved in image format. The advantage of these applications is that they are really small, many are under a meg, and all are under a few megs. This means that you can put the application on a flashdrive. Now you have the images you want to show, as well as the application to show them. It no longer matters what computer or application you have to use, everything you need is on your flash drive. Now a couple of things to keep in mind here. You probably want to carry two applications, one that runs on a Mac and one on a PC that way it doesn’t matter which kind of computer you end up with. And second you need to make sure that your slide are numbered as most of these programs will show the slides in numerical or alphabetical order. For the Mac I use a tiny application called Jview and for the PC there are a host of options.

And here is the bonus trick. You can make your presentation in Power Point and still do this, that way you don’t have to worry about your Power Point files being readable. Power Point allows you to save as (or export) to another format. So, once you have finsihed your presentation select “save as” and choose jpeg. Now each slide will be saved as a jpeg image and numbered. You are ready to go, the presentation now can be shown with one of these small applications.

This does not work if you want to run audio or movies, only for still slides. But even when I have done presentations that involve movies or audio I will still save off the presentation as jpeg images to my flash drive, just in case something doesn’t work with the rooms hardware, and worse case scenario you can still show the slides. (Always good to have a backup plan.)