AuthorPOINT Lite is a freeware program that can convert Powerpoint presentations into flash. It offers a number of interesting features such as the ability to define quality output settings, a handful of output templates to choose from, and the option to upload your presentations for online viewing using a platform which the developers call “authorSTREAM”.
If you have been looking for a simple way to convert Powerpoint presentations to flash then you’ve found it. AuthorPOINT Lite is a program that does this in a straightforward and efficient manner (don’t let the “lite” in the title put you off; I like this program enough to give it a “pick” rating). Here are some notes on this program:
- The user interface: is simple and functional. Converted presentations are shown as thumbnails in the left hand panel, and clicking on any of these will display the individual slides as thumbnails in the bottom panel. Its rather nice.
- The conversion process: authorPOINT Lite imports your presentation one slide at a time, and conversion is relatively quick. A 30-slide presentation with charts and images converted in about 4 minutes. Once imported, the flash presentation is saved in the default folder and needs only be re-saved once/if you change your desired settings. One cool feature is that you can point authorPOINT to a folder full of Powerpoint presentations and it will import all of them at once.
- User interaction: once imported into AuthorPOINT Lite, there are 3 things you can do with a slide (a) edit its settings (more on this below), (b) edit presentation details including description and keywords (you would do that in order to make presentations accessible to search engines like Google once you publish them), and (c) create/edit a presenter’s profile, information which can be included/displayed in your output presentation.
- Settings: you can define desired image quality (0-100%), audio quality (4 point scale), choose whether or not to use narration if found, allow/disallow speaker notes, and choose output template (more on these below).
- Output templates: authorPOINT Lite offers 3 output templates to choose from in a variety of colors. You can think of each template as a kind of media player. Templates available are “Trade show”, a simple viewer on a white background, and “E-learning”, which includes a sidebar that can display a table of contents, a search box to hone in on the content you want, a thumbnail view, and the presenter info as defined in your authorPOINT Lite profile. The E-learning template can also display your presentation speaker notes in a bottom pane. Note that the 2 versions of the “E-learning” template (compact and standard) seem to only differ in terms of size.
- Upload to authoSTREAM: once you create an account online, you are able to use AuthorPOINT Lite to upload your presentations to authorSTREAM. This allows you to share your presentation online with friends as well as to embed your presentations in your site or within email messages. It will let you upload an unlimited number of presentation of up to 30 megs each. There is also a “community” aspect of sharing and rating presentations, which personally I don’t care for very much. Overall this could be useful if you want to publish presentations online and do not want to host your presentation on your own site.
- Watermark: presentations converted with authorPOINT Lite carry a small icon in the bottom right corner that displays a “powered by authorgen” tooltip when moused-over. I found this to be generally unobtrusive and generally not inappropriate.
- Video support: converting a Powerpoint presentation with embedded video results in a flash slide that displays the first frame of the video as a static image only. It seems that support for video is provided in the full, paid authorPOINT package.
- Office 2007 .pptx support: this is apparently coming very soon. Currently authorPOINT Lite supports Office XP and 2003.
Differences between free and paid versions: there are a number of differences. In truth, aside from the aforementioned video support and the ability to output to Html, Real, and “Pocket PC”, there isn’t much that the paid version has that the lite version doesn’t. I typically have an aversion to any program with the word “Lite” in its title, but not in this case.
The verdict: a well designed and useful program that offers a very nice user experience. Get it now.
Version tested: 188.8.131.527
Compatibility: Windows 2000/2003, XP, Vista. Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0.