Publish your presentations on the Web

Your firm's marketing department has created Microsoft PowerPoint presentations for customer briefings. The presentations would look great on your company's Web site, but you don't have time to convert them into a Web format. What can you do? You can use ActivePresenter. ActivePresenter makes publishing presentations on the Web quick and easy.

Presentation Creation
Before you can create an ActivePresenter Web page, you must develop the presentation that you want to put online. You can use existing PowerPoint presentations or create new PowerPoint files. Or, you can use ActivePresenter's layout program, which is similar to PowerPoint but less sophisticated.

In the layout program, you can create a series of slides. Screen 1 shows a sample slide during the development process. To help you create each slide, ActivePresenter gives you a choice of slide layouts, which combine headers, footers, text, and objects (including word art, clip art, and graphics). The software comes with a selection of background colors and designs. The toolbar down the right side of the ActivePresenter screen lets you easily change a slide's appearance at any point in your creation of a presentation.

After you have chosen a layout and background for your slide, you can insert text and objects into the slide by choosing formatting options, typing in your text or selecting a graphics file, and placing the text or object where you want it to appear. A style menu lets you customize your slide's appearance by adjusting background, layout, and other components.

As you create a series of ActivePresenter slides, you can choose from three viewing options that help you tweak your presentation. The Outline view shows your slides at a reduced size so that you can get an overview of your presentation. The Preview view shows you a full-size view of what the slides will actually look like and lets you alter their appearance and layout. The Present view runs your presentation locally, so you can see exactly what your presentation's viewers will see.

Presentation Publication
When you have finished an ActivePresenter or PowerPoint presentation, Active-
Presenter's Publish Wizard helps you publish your presentation on your Web site. The Publish Wizard gives you two publishing options. Quick Publish produces professional-looking presentations and quickly gets them online by using generic defaults to control your slides' style and appearance. Advanced Publish gives you greater control over your online presentation but takes a little longer. You can develop a presentation for live viewing, which lets a group of people view your presentation in realtime as you publish it. Or, you can create a presentation for on-demand viewing, which lets people view your presentation on the Web whenever they want to.

I chose to Quick Publish a presentation I created in ActivePresenter for on-demand viewing on both my Digital Prioris, which was running Windows NT Server and Internet Information Server (IIS), and my Internet Service Provider's (ISP's) Sun Ultrasparc. My attempts to Quick Publish my presentation failed on both systems. ActivePresenter's only explanations for the problems were unhelpful error messages such as, "Unable to publish. See your systems administrator."

When I first used the Advanced Publish option, I had equally bad luck. The software told me that I had specified invalid FTP addresses, but I had no problem connecting to the same FTP addresses using Netscape Navigator or Microsoft's FTP utility and Internet Explorer software. Only after an hour of fiddling with different parameters did I get the presentation to publish.

Despite my problems with ActivePresenter's publishing settings, I recommend this product. When I finally got my presentation online, anyone on the Internet could view my work using a free plug-in. Even with its problems, ActivePresenter is a great deal. Whether your firm wants to migrate presentations to the Web or publish presentations created specifically for the Internet, ActivePresenter can save you hundreds of hours of difficult, complex Web development.

ActivePresenter
Contact: Software Publishing * 408-537-3000, Web: http://www.spco.com
Price: $99.95
System Requirements: Windows NT or Windows 95, 50MHz 486 or better, 19MB of hard disk space, 12MB of RAM for NT, 8MB of RAM for Win95
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