Articulate Presenter 5 review

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PowerPoint to Flash - Recommended

PowerPoint’s ease of use, Flash’s efficient web delivery and a truly professional player help make your presentations, and Articulate Presenter, stand out.

articulate presenter 5

Microsoft PowerPoint is familiar to millions of users and makes the creation of compelling slide-based presentations simple - but delivering them is another matter. While end users can view your presentation themselves via the dedicated Viewer application or via a static page-based website both routes are awkward and unprofessional which means that you really need to deliver your work in person. In the age of the Internet this is steam age technology - and a massive missed opportunity. Which is where Articulate Presenter comes in, enabling you to dispense with the need for a live presenter and to massively widen your potential audience.

The secret of Articulate Presenter’s success is Flash. With its extensive support for text, graphics, animation, audio and video, Flash can easily handle all-singing all-dancing multimedia extravaganzas ready for CD or DVD-based delivery. More importantly of course, thanks to the format’s low bandwidth requirements and the massive 98% penetration of the cross-platform Flash player, Flash enables the same high impact presentation to be delivered over the Internet to a truly global audience.

Clearly the ideal solution would be to merge PowerPoint creation with Flash delivery and that’s exactly what Articulate Presenter provides. While WildPresenter (see page ) lets you create Flash-based presentations from scratch or import PPT files for conversion, Articulate Presenter takes a very different and more integrated approach working from directly within PowerPoint. Simply create your project as normal and then go to the new Articulate menu and select the Publish command. Articulate Presenter automatically takes care of converting all the media elements in your project as well as translating over 165 of PowerPoint’s in-built animations (though not page transitions or most text-based effects).

articulate presenter powerpoint

Articulate Presenter fully integrates itself with PowerPoint and the presentation player.

Flash-based output is key, but Articulate Presenter also helps you give your presentation greater impact during the creation process. You can add links to web pages or to downloadable files and insert external Flash movies or web-hosted content for elements such as long-form video or changing content such as pricing. Most importantly, you can take full control of the key medium for presentations, especially when these are to be delivered remotely - sound.

Using Articulate Presenter’s Import Audio command you can quickly import an external MP3 or WAV file as the soundtrack for each slide. This is useful if you’ve hired professional narrators but, if you’re providing the voiceover yourself, then the Record Narration command is ideal as it lets you record as you run the presentation. Using the Sync Animation Timings command you can then playback your recording and synchronize each animation in turn to ensure perfect timing. And for the finishing touch, Articulate Presenter 5 now lets you add background music to each slide with its Audio Playlist capability.

When you’ve got your presentation running exactly as you want it, you’re ready to convert it to Flash. Here the Publish dialog has been reworked to provide one-click publishing so, if you’re happy with the defaults, simply click OK and your slides are processed and the results loaded into your browser. It’s here that you can see the real strength of Articulate Presenter as your presentation is automatically wrapped within an extremely professional interactive player. This doesn’t just provide playback controls but optional panels at top and bottom which slide open to reveal associated notes or attachments. Most impressive is the side panel running down the left which is split into two sections: the top Presenter area providing a photo and access to brief biographical details and below that a Navigation area divided into four tabs showing an outline view, thumbnails, slide notes and a search panel.

In this latest release the integration between Articulate Presenter 5 and its player has been seriously reworked to ensure even better results. Using the new Slide Settings panel you can set the title, presenter, display mode, background audio and whether slides should change automatically or manually on an individual slide basis. You can also choose to hide slides from the Navigation panel to set up branching based on hyperlinks and you can set a level for each slide to produce a collapsible hierarchy for the player’s Outline view.

articulate presenter 5 player

The professional player helps your presentation to stand out.

Using the new Player Template Builder command you can then set whether each section should automatically expand when the user reaches its heading. You can also control a whole host of other parameters – setting exactly which player elements should be shown and how they should be labeled, whether long headings should be wrapped or shown as tooltips, whether navigation should automatically scroll, whether keyboard shortcuts should be enabled, whether users should be prompted to resume from where they left off on restart, whether the presentation should scale or be locked, whether users should be free to navigate slides and so on. Once determined, you can save the results as a template for future re-use.

None of version 5’s new player features exactly shouts out at you, but they all impress in an understated way – and, crucially, when you put them all together the result is a seriously better end user experience. This is the real strength of Articulate Presenter 5. Where alternatives like WildPresenter also enable you deliver rich presentations remotely and globally via Flash, Articulate Presenter 5 goes a major step further. It enables you to not just reproduce your PowerPoint presentations and deliver them over the Internet to the widest audience possible but also to make them more professional, more compelling and more persuasive. Ultimately that is what successful business presentation is all about.

Ease of Use
Value for Money

ratings out of 6

Tom Arah

June 2006


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