10 of the Best PowerPoint Plugins and Why You Should Use Them
April 4, 2017
Spice up your presentation and add functionality with these cool plugins. They’ll impress your audience, boss and anyone else who appreciates a slick slideshow.
What’s your favourite PowerPoint plugin? You do have a favourite PowerPoint plugin, right?
If this is news to you, it shouldn’t come as a great surprise. You can get add-ons for everything nowadays, from your WordPress website to your Facebook Messenger app. It was inevitable that someone – in fact make that everyone – should develop PowerPoint plugins.
Just because a plugin’s out there doesn’t mean you should use it though. After all, there are only so many add-ons you can incorporate before your presentation starts choking under its own weight. There are some great PowerPoint plugins on the market, but think of them as seasoning, used to spice up your presentation rather than to overwhelm it.
We’ve rounded up a selection of our favourite PowerPoint plugins, from all-in-one tools to simple applications that are good for one task only. Whether you’d like to refine your entire presentation or simply beef up a particular slide, there should be something in this list to suit.
The complete PowerPoint suite
If you’re looking for software that will enhance every element of your presentation – adding business icons; converting to HTML5 or Flash; editable maps; customisable diagrams; the whole shebang – try something like iSpring or Power-user. The former is probably the best-known all-in-one suite, helping you convert your presentations into e-learning courses among other things. You’ll need to be a heavy PowerPoint user to justify this added layer of complexity, but there’s no disputing the power that tools like iSpring can furnish you with. Use that power wisely.
The best PowerPoint highlighting add-ons
Sometimes you just want your audience to follow your gaze and zero in on a specific part of a slide. Opazity will help you with that. It enables you to blur a slide save for one highlighted area and is ideal for concealing quiz answers, blurring out an image and generally teasing the content of your slide out, one element at a time. There’s also MagPointer, which allows you to highlight and magnify specific areas of a slide. It’s ideal for zooming in on schematics and other intricate diagrams. Zoom for PowerPoint has made it possible to perform some of these features in-house, but add-ons like Opazity and MagPointer take its functionality to the next level.
PowerPoint plugins for getting organised
If you’re less concerned with wowing your audience and more concerned with keeping track of where you’re at, SlideDynamic will help. In addition to enabling you to view thumbnails and create customisable mini menus, SlideDynamic lets you perform a keyword search within your slide – ideal for lengthy and erudite presentations. While you’re organising your slides, you might want to add Notes123, a free plugin that allows you to attach sticky notes to Microsoft Office documents. Scribble down ideas as you’re assembling your presentation and return to them later.
ActivePresentation Designer is another clever organisational tool. This one can be used to create multi-level menus so you can jump to specific parts of a presentation. If you’re giving a client a lengthy set of slides, think of this as the tl;dr that will enable them to jump to key sections without getting hopelessly lost. Finally, there’s WorkLoad Timer which lets you track exactly how long you’ve spent working on your PowerPoint presentation. Just make sure your boss doesn’t discover that you lavished 30 hours on those 10 slides.
Highly specific PowerPoint plugins
The following set of plugins you’ll either need or, in all likelihood, will never use in 100 years. Still, it’s reassuring to know that if there’s a highly specific feature you’d like to add to your presentation, there’s probably a highly specific plugin to help.
STAMP is a subtitling tool that lets you add closed captions to audio and video files that you’ve embedded in a presentation. It’s ideal for deconstructing the sick flows in the mixtape you included in the hope of impressing your clients through the medium of gangsta rap. Or something.
Advanced Contact Bar will add a neat footer to your slide deck containing your profile pic, logo, social links and anything else you deem noteworthy. It’s great for appending to presentations you intend to publish on the web as it can reinforce your brand and grow your followers.
What else would you like to achieve? Wanna embed the current weather in your designated location into PowerPoint? There’s a plugin for that. Want users to engage with your slides, submitting detailed feedback and responding to polls? There’s a plugin for that. From adding QR codes to creating mind maps and word clouds, there’s a PowerPoint add-on for almost any task you can dream of.
Most of the time, you’ll be able to get by with the functions built into Microsoft PowerPoint. But for those special occasions when you want to impress or need to implement a specific feature, don’t be afraid to check out the wealth of third-party add-ons. They’ll infuse your presentation with pizzazz, flair and every other superlative you may care to throw at it.
Five Incredible Sources of PowerPoint Design Inspiration
April 28, 2017
Don’t just wait for inspiration: go out there and grab it, borrowing the best ideas from the web and adapting them to fit your presentation. Where do you turn to...
Choosing PowerPoint Transitions
April 21, 2017
Slide transitions matter. Choose them wisely to enhance your presentation without overdoing it. In football, you can tell when the referee’s had a good game because you’ve scarcely noticed them...
How to Storyboard a PowerPoint Presentation
April 12, 2017
Before you start on your first slide, grab a pencil and get storyboarding. Perfect planning is the key to a perfect presentation, one that’s focused and flows. What do you...