Creating a nice looking Powerpoint presentation is time consuming. If you have to do it often, you get handy and the creation of your presentation takes less time, because you gain experience and you learn tons of tricks during the process.
But it still takes a lot of time.
Updating your powerpoint presentation goes a little faster, but my personal experience is that it can be tedious too.
As I do create Powerpoint presentations every now and then, I searched for a possibility to focus on the content and to generate the Powerpoint presentation instead of creating every slide manually.
I wondered if “is there something like Mail Merge for Word for Powerpoint?” A quick search in my prefered search engine Duckduckgo led me to SlideMight.
SlideMight is a new tool to automate the creation of Powerpoint presentations from a data file. Something I had not found anywhere else before.
Initially, it took some time to learn SlideMight, as not all features have been documented yet. But the developer was very helpful.
Now that I know how SlideMight works, a create a presentation from scratch very quickly. Once I have done this, I can endlessly update and improve the presentation.
How SlideMight works.
SlideMight uses 4 files and a media folder:
- The data file
- The Powerpoint pattern file
- A system configuration file
- A custom configuration file
The data file.
The data file contains the information that you use in your presentation, including the references to the media.
The difference with creating a presentation manually is that SlideMight requires you to organize the information in a structured way. As you do so, SlideMight allows you to re-use the same data on multiple slides but in different ways.
Here is an example:
Example slide 1:
On the right side of this slide, there is a table with team members.
The team members have been defined in the data file like this:
In total, 5 team members have been defined
SlideMight counts the number of team members (5) and displays it on the top of the team members list.
The same data are being used to create the next slide:
Example Slide 2:
To add a team member, I just add the data of that person to the datafile and SlideMight adds the member to the list of members in example slide 1 and it add a slide to the presentation for the new team member as in example slide 2
Another huge benefit of using a tool like SlideMight is that every team member slide (example slide 2) has exactly the same layout and format. To change it, I have to change it in the corresponding slide in the pattern.pptx file once. SlideMight regenerates all the slides according to the changed definition.
In the past, I have made sleek looking presentations, but when I had to make changes to them, similar slides started to look slightly different: a colour was slightly different, the position of a graph was slightly different, a text block had moved a few pixels.
When moving to the next slide in the presentation, the different blocks seemed to jump a little bit.
The Powerpoint pattern file.
The pattern file is best compared to a Powerpoint template file. The pattern file is a Powerpoint presentation, but instead of entering your information and images directly in each slide, you enter references to the data file.
The same data can be referenced (used) as many times as you need.
You can iterate over the data as many times as you need, as you can see in the example slide 1 and example slide 2 above.
Data can be nested many levels. For example, in an organization there can be many teams, a team can have members and each member can have one or more skills.
The pattern slide for example slide 1 is:
As you can see, there are 2 tables on the slide. The “COUNT” function is in the very small text between “$” and “Team members”.
SlideMight iterates through the team members in the data file and fills the table rows automatically with the member names and their role in the project. The “?” indicates that the attribute is not mandatory.
A magic feature is the automatic creation of links. In fact, links are built to slides that do not exist in the pattern file, but to the correct slide in the generated presentation. In this example, for each team member in the list, the correct link will be generated to the persons details slide (example slide 2).
On top of “tables”, SlideMight also supports the use of matrices.
The pattern slide for example slide 2 is:
When you want to change the colours of the Skills table, for example, you do it in the pattern slide. SlideMight regenerates the presentation with the new colours on each person’s slide. If your presentation were created manually, you would have to change the colours in each person’s slide. How easy is it to forget to change the colour in one of the slides?
The system configuration file
Default, SlideMight accepts a data file in YAML format. Within the YAML file, you can use Markdown if you prefer that.
Another possibility is to use JSON. This might come in handy if you get a JSON file from a web service. You could use such a file straight away without making any manual changes and generate your presentation.
The custom configuration file
In this file you can define custom labels for attributes. This allows you the use of “$$” as reference in tables and matrices. SlideMight uses the labels in the table header to figure out the correct mapping itself.
As SlideMight is a very new tool, it will evolve and improve in the months and years to come.
SlideMight is a wonderful tool to automate the creation of data driven Powerpoint presentations.
The benefits are:
- Save time
- Improved quality
- Sleek look and feel
- Consistency of information
- Presentations can be re-generated over and over again
- Learning takes some time
- Most suitable for data-driven presentations
- Price $ 59
Download the trial version from the website, if you are interested.