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Great News for PowerPoint Users!
Microsoft Has Released the New PowerPoint Viewer and a GREAT Alternative to "Pack and Go"
~~Kathryn Jacobs, PowerPointAnswers

With the release of PowerPoint 2003 in October, 2003, the feature most requested by PowerPoint users will be granted: Microsoft has released a new Viewer. This Viewer will come with all purchased versions of PowerPoint and is available for download from the Microsoft site. I recommend that even if you purchase PowerPoint 2003, you check the website for a newer version of the Viewer.

Where do I get the new Viewer?
You can download the viewer from the Microsoft site

You can find a note from one of the PowerPoint developers about the new viewer on the PPT FAQ  http://www.rdpslides.com/pptfaq/FAQ00436.htm

What does the Viewer support?
Almost everything!

  • The new animations added in PowerPoint 2002 (XP)? Supported.
  • Triggers? Supported.
  • Animated Gifs? Supported.
  • Password Protection? Supported.

In fact, password protection can be set to allow read access or modify access.

The Viewer does not need installation. Download it from the web and it is ready to be used as is, from your hard drive or from removable media. (Removable media includes CDs, USB drives, and a number of other media formats.)

Okay, drop the other shoe… What doesn't it support?
The Viewer does not now and will never support VBA or PowerPoint macros. If your presentation needs macros to run, the people receiving it will need full up PowerPoint. Adding support for VBA made the Viewer interface too complicated for Microsoft to feel comfortable supporting in a free application.

Did they add a replacement for Pack and Go?
Not only did they add a replacement for Pack and Go, they made the replacement easier to use and pre-set with intelligent default options. The feature is now called "Package to CD". When started, it brings up a window that allows you to name your CD, select your presentations and other files, set options, and copy to either CD or folder. The main window looks like this:

Package for CD window

Notice the smarter default? Not only does it default to include linked files and the Viewer, it even tells you that it is going to do so!

One of the new features of Package to CD is its link recognition system. By default, PowerPoint will go through each presentation and find all linked files for that presentation. If you want to add files beyond those that are linked directly from one of the PowerPoint files, click Add Files. A browse window will come up and you will be able to add other files from your computer or network.

To build a default CD, click the "Copy to CD" button. PowerPoint will gather your files and copy them to the CD. It will tell you (via a message box) as it copies the files to the CD. When it is done, it will close the CD and bring up this window:

copy successful window


If you want to make another copy, click yes. The program will prompt you for another CD and copy the files to that new CD. If you are done with this presentation, click no. You will be returned to the Package for CD window.

Same kind of thing when you are saving to a folder. Click the "Copy to Folder" button. PowerPoint will bring up a window to ask you for the new folder name and its location. The default folder name will be the same name as was entered on the main Package for CD screen for the CD name. If you want to change the location, you can.

Once you have set the folder name and location, PowerPoint will gather your files and copy them to the new folder. It will tell you (via a message box) as it copies the files to the folder. When it is done, you will be placed back at the Package for CD window.

What options do I get if I click the Options button?

Clicking the options button will bring up this window. The setting for each of these values will depend on your particular use. Obviously, if you add passwords to the file, be sure to pass along the passwords to those that need them.

Package for CD Options window

Once the files are packaged to either CD or a folder, the Viewer can be run automatically by clicking the batch files (autorun.bat or play.bat). These files will pass the name of the packaged presentation to the Viewer and start it up.

Are these the only new features in PowerPoint 2003?
No, there are a few others. Watch upcoming issues of ABC for articles on the other improvements made with the new release!

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Kathryn Jacobs, Microsoft MVP, PowerPoint and OneNote
Get PowerPoint answers at http://www.powerpointanswers.com

Get OneNote answers at http://www.onenoteanswers.com/

Cook anything outdoors with http://www.outdoorcook.com

Kathy is a trainer, writer, Girl Scout, parent, and whatever else there is time for.

I believe life is meant to be lived. But, if we live without making a difference, it makes no difference that we lived.

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This page was last updated on Tuesday, September 23, 2008 . copyright © 2000 - 2008, Linda F. Johnson, Linda's Computer Stop, ABC ~ All 'Bout Computers. All rights reserved.