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PowerPoint 2007: The Missing Manual by E. A. Vander Veer

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Chapter 14. Macros: Putting Slideshows on Autopilot

If you’re a programmer-type, you can create macros to beef up a straightforward Web- or kiosk-delivered presentation and turn it into an interactive program. A macro is a series of instructions written in the Visual Basic for Applications language (often called VBA). With macros, you can make PowerPoint perform commands automatically, when you’re not there to click a button. Best of all, you set macros to kick in when your audience performs a certain action.

Here are just a few examples of the kinds of things you can do with macros:

  • Present a question on one slide and then use the audience’s answer to determine which slide to show next.

  • Ask your audience for information and then send the gathered information to another computer.

  • Give your audience a way to print (perhaps you let them print the presentation itself or other handouts).

  • Add pre-built components such as a checkbox, a calendar, or a media player to your slides and then customize them so they do whatever you want them to.

In addition to letting your audience interact with your slideshow, you can also use macros to help streamline and control the slideshow editing process itself. Say you work for a large corporation that maintains strict guidelines for all the presentations its employees build. You can create a macro that enforces those guidelines every time someone edits a slide. Maybe your macro searches slide text for verboten phrases (like the old name of a renamed product) ...

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