Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Presentation Tip: Sharing your presentation online

Recently I offered some ways that you could turn your PowerPoint presentation into a video that could be sent to others or posted to the web (see article here). What if you want to just share the slides without the extra work to add an audio track? In this article, I want to share some ways to share your presentation so that others can easily view it. All of these methods work quite well no matter what platform the viewer is using, including mobile devices.

One of the key issues to address when sharing your slides is the security of your slides. I don’t suggest making the PowerPoint file available to others because it has too many risks of being misused and it might accidentally reveal private information contained in embedded objects. If you want to simply e-mail the file or post it on your website for download, I suggest you convert it to a PDF format first. That way, the content is more secure (not perfect, but better than the PowerPoint file format). The following methods allow you to more broadly share your presentation than e-mail usually allows.

Brainshark/myBrainshark: I suggested this service in the previous article because it allows you to add an audio track to your slides and create a video. But you don’t have to add audio at all. You can skip that step and use this service to simply allow people to view your slides. You can accept the default slide timing settings and quickly have a file to share. The viewer can pause on whatever slide they want to view longer or skip ahead using the default viewer controls. The resulting file can be embedded on your website or you can send others a link to view it in a browser. Remember that the Brainshark service is a corporate service and myBrainshark is a free service that makes your files public (you can pay an upgrade fee to keep them private).

SlideShare and other slide sharing sites: Most of these are simple to use. You upload your PowerPoint file, input a title and some other information, and you have a set of publicly available slides that others can view through a link to the service. You can also embed the file in your website if you’d like. One caution from my first experience with SlideShare is that your presentation might not look the way you expect if you use fonts other than the standard Arial or Calibri. So you may want to check how it looks on different browsers and platforms before you send a link to others.

File sharing sites like Dropbox, Google Drive, or SkyDrive: These file sharing sites are also known for cloud storage. You can upload a file to your account on the service. Then you have the option of sharing it with others, as long as they have an account on the service as well (there may be some options to share without an account, but there may be limitations). As I said above, you will only want to be sharing a PDF version of the file, not the PowerPoint version. Most of the sharing here is one at a time, so it is harder to share a file using these services to a wide audience. Because PDF is a universal format, everyone will be able to view a file from these services, even if they are on a mobile device.

When you want to share that great presentation you just delivered, these options will help you decide which method is the best for you.


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