I’ve been giving presentations to some local photographic clubs recently. I’ve used Microsoft Powerpoint for some time now, and although there are plenty of other open source programs out there now, I still prefer Microsoft’s software and also I’m lucky to have access to Office 365. It comes with Microsoft 2013 (now 2016). I’ve always used the dedicated remote controls available in lecture theatres.
However, sometimes giving presentations at club premises means you only have access to a projector, and maybe a set of speakers, unless you are lucky and it’s a bigger event with dedicated presentation equipment. I like to engage with the audience by standing at the front rather than sitting at a table with the laptop, hence the need for a remote.
I was contemplating using a mouse, on a long USB lead or getting a bluetooth remote. I had a thought though, could I use my smart phone? I have used it to control music on my home audio and videos on my DNLA compliant TV etc. I turned to the search engines to see if I could use my Sony Xperia M5 (Android-based) phone and bingo a result popped up. Microsoft (and a few other third-party apps) were available and the Microsoft one was free (I liked the sound of that). The only issue is you need Microsoft Office 2013 or onwards. There are a few hacks to use third-part apps with earlier versions though. I believe similar functionality is also available for the Mac, iPhone, iPad via the Apple Watch via airplay.
Powerpoint 2013 does not come with the desktop plugin installed so you have to go to their website to download it and install it: https://www.microsoft.com/en-in/download/details.aspx?id=41149. After installing it, you have to activate it from within Powerpoint (every time you use it). You also need to have bluetooth services switched on your PC to enable pairing with the smart phone.
Once you have the desktop plugin installed, the installation of the Android app Office Remote is next (also available for Windows-based phones) from Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.microsoft.office.officeremote. You can also use this app for Excel and Word presentations.
You need to make sure bluetooth is switched on within the OS’s of both devices and pairing is then straightforward (only needs to be done once).
When using the smart phone app you just need to select which device to connect to once paired.
If you have more than one presentation, you can load more than one and then the next screen you can select which one to start presenting.
Once you have selected your presentation it automatically puts the PC into presentation mode, giving you 3 different views:
- The PC will give you a presenters view with notes and thumbnails (you can change this)
- The PC VGA/HDMI output will be full screen display to the projector
- Your phone will give you the current slide (with notes if you have any), a timer, a slide number and also the next slide.
Also if you have any chapters etc (Word) it will display these and also if you have any media like video it will give you a play pause function for it too.
I think this is a great tool if you have Microsoft Powerpoint 2013 or onwards (or part of the 365 subscription) and most people have some sort of smart phone (Android 4.0.4 onwards), although the audience often thinkn at the beginning of the presentation, I am constantly checking social media.
The functionality of the Android app includes:
– View current slide and laser point using touch on your phone
– Next slide preview
– Play and pause embedded audio and video files
– View slide thumbnails and jump to a slide
– View speaker notes on your phone
– View presentation timer and slide numbers
– Change worksheets by swiping
– Use Slicers, PivotTable, and Filters
– Jump to any named object in your workbook
– Move up or down the worksheet
– Change the zoom level
– Jump to headings
– Jump to comments
– Screen up/down
– Line up/down
– Change the zoom level