presentation failures and process improvements

Subject:     presentation failures and process improvements
Date:     14 May 2004 09:32:47 BDT
To:       CENTRIM

On 12 May 2004, at 18:38, a colleague wrote:


Please could you undertake an exhaustive analysis of why last night’s movies would not play and produce a process that will prevent such a failure in the future.



For the benefit of all users of Microsoft Powerpoint:

  1. Refer to my message of 09/10/2003 (appended).
  2. The normal PowerPoint format is not designed for portability.
  3. For portability: Microsoft advise users to save as a PowerPoint Package (or on Windows, use the Pack and Go Wizard).
  4. At Wednesday’s presentation, we discovered that PowerPoint Packages are unreliable. The packing process fails to gather necessary items. Very disappointing.
  5. Re: movies in particular, on Tuesday I wrote: “For the type of presentation that C… is preparing, Microsoft Powerpoint may not be cross-platform compatible (example)”. Microsoft offer numerous articles detailing movie compatibility issues.
  6. Sure enough, C… began with compatible movies but PowerPoint on both platforms does something, I don’t know what, to defeat the object. B… has in his possession a CD that demonstrates the same failure in PowerPoint files produced by Windows.
  7. Office 2004 has been released and was expected to be on the most recent CDs for the Microsoft Campus agreement. The CDs have been received but the product is missing.
  8. When Office 2004 is available we may review to see whether the latest versions of PowerPoint are subject to similar problems.
  9. 1.1.1 for Windows has no trouble with cross-platform QuickTime movies. 1.0.3 for X11 (Mac) has limited multimedia capability; version 1.1.1 is untested but should be available soon.

Process to prevent failure

Microsoft PowerPoint as we know it is unreliable. Not a good foundation upon which to build a process.

Apple Keynote (with which A… produced his presentation for last year’s N… conference) is in some ways much better than PowerPoint. Amongst the non-native formats to which it can save presentations are PDF and movie, both cross-platform. I’m not aware of any problems with compatibility or reliability.

It will be easier to suggest a process after I have tested latest versions of and Microsoft PowerPoint.


From: Graham Perrin
Date: 9 October 2003 13:30:20 BST

Subject: PowerPoint: the value of packaging (Pack and Go)

From PowerPoint help:

If you plan to share the presentation with others, you may want to save it as a PowerPoint Package. When you save a Package, PowerPoint automatically gathers all of the linked files (images, sounds, movies, and so on) that your presentation uses into one folder. This makes your presentation portable — easy to copy, store on compact disc, send, and share.

We’re reminded that the normal PowerPoint format is not necessarily portable.

For any presentation that you wish to share with others, take a tip from Microsoft – save as a PowerPoint Package (or on Windows, use the Pack and Go Wizard).

Q: I copied my presentation to CD, tried it on four different machines around campus, and on my computer at home — the copy looks fine, everywhere. Why should I bother with ‘Packaging’?

A: Your copy may be using or linking to something on your computers, or network, that is not available elsewhere. Packaging gathers together all necessary elements of a presentation, thus minimising the risk of problems.

Solutions to common problems

1) Big red cross – letter “X”

This is related to Microsoft OLE (object linking and embedding) and can be avoided by PowerPoint Packaging.

2) Oversized PowerPoint Packages

The size of a Package may be much, much larger than the original presentation. Observe file sizes before sending any package by email. If size is a problem, try one of the following:

  • reduce the size/resolution of objects within the presentation, and/or of objects to which the presentation is linked (taking care to not diminish originals that may be required for other purposes). See PowerPoint help;
  • export to movie; or
  • print to PDF.

Adobe Reader/Acrobat products can present PDF in full screen slide show format.

3) Big black letter “S” where a University logo should be

Not a PowerPoint problem. This is a corporate font with limited license that may not be installed on non-University computers. Educate yourself to work with alternative forms of the logo, or print to PDF.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s