Archive for the ‘PowerPoint’ Category


Finding the size of a Microsoft Office 2007 file


Prior to Microsoft Office 2007 (MSO2007), office provided a quick and simple way to find out just how big your file was.  This was done by selecting the properties option from the file menu which then displayed the same file properties dialog box that you could select from the file in Windows Explorer.

In MSO2007 the information is still available, but has been annoyingly ‘hidden’ somewhat deeper in the application.  In fact it is so awkwardly hidden that I know many people have not come across how to access it … so I thought I’d share.

Along with the menu item click options I’ve included the accelerator / shortcut keys to help make this as quick as possible.

  1. Select the ‘Office button’ [ALT+F].
  2. Select the ‘Prepare’ menu item [Press E].
  3. Select the ‘Properties’ menu item [Press P].
  4. In the ‘Document Properties’ section that appears, click the title (“Document Properties”) of the section to reveal a drop down list containing just one item – ‘Advanced Properties’.  Select this item to display the file properties.

NB: Please keep in mind that until you save a file, the properties window will not provide a file size though other file properties may be populated.


Presentations – Keeping your screen active


Power saving options on computers are something that I personally think are great.  They not only help reduce carbon footprints, but they also help draw out even more life from your laptop battery.   One of the main ways in which this is done (others being things such as disabling hardware) is by having an inactivity option that turns off the screen and the hard disk after a period of inactivity.  Unfortunately there are times when this isn’t something you want.  The primary example of this is when you are giving a presentation.

The typical way of overriding this in Windows is to change what power saving scheme is being used through the Windows control panel or a third party application that links directly to these options.  However sometimes end users don’t have access to this.

This typically occurs where a group policy has been applied to stop users ‘tinkering’ with the power saving schemes.  Users with access can amend or delete power saving schemes which can lead to complications with machines and so it is not that uncommon to restrict access.

Whilst applications such as Microsoft PowerPoint can lead the OS into knowing that it should keep things like monitors on if a presentation is in a browser or some other “power unaware” application, then power saving actions can kick in.

I decided to apply a brute force solution to this by creating an AutoHotKey script to send a key press to the OS at regular intervals.  By default it sends a Shift key press as this is least likely to have any impact on any application, but this can be modified along with the frequency with which it is sent by the use of a settings file.  The settings file also includes an option to choose whether to start sending key presses as soon as it is run.

The code for the script is given at the end of this post, but I have also compiled this into a stand alone executable that you could even pop onto your flash drive if you’re going to be presenting on someone else’s PC.  Similarly you could add it into your start-up group (with it set not to auto start sending key presses) so it is always there when you need it.

The script places a monitor icon in the system tray.  When it is black power saving actions through inactivity will take place.  When it is blue, key presses will be sent.  Right clicking on the icon will display a menu with an override option.  Selecting this option will place a check mark next to it which will set the icon blue and initiate the override mode.  Selecting the option again will uncheck it, set the icon black and turn off the override mode.

Only one setting is available on the settings menu.  This is another check item and determines whether override mode should be enabled immediately when the utility is first started.

The utility looks for a settings file called ActiveDisplay.ini in the folder from which the utility is being run.  If it does not exist, the utility will use its default settings which match the settings given in this example file:

;Set to 1 to enable override mode at start-up and 0 to disable.
;Specify what characters should be sent.  Use {} for special key strokes
;Number of milliseconds between sending the key strokes (120,000 milliseconds : 2 minutes)

If you want to tweak the script to meet your own needs you can get the details below and use your own icons.  If you want to get the compiled version you can download it for free.


;Read in settings
iniread, EnableAtStartup, %A_ScriptDir%\ActiveDisplay.ini, Settings, EnableOnRun, 0
iniread, KeyStroke, %A_ScriptDir%\ActiveDisplay.ini, Settings, KeyStroke, {Shift}
iniread, Period, %A_ScriptDir%\ActiveDisplay.ini, Settings, Period, 120000

;Create the tray menu
menu, tray, add, Override, Override
Menu, SettingsMenu, add, EnabledAtStartup
Menu, tray, add, Settings, :SettingsMenu
menu, tray, add, About
menu, tray, add, Exit
menu, tray, nostandard

;Time to do something that seems crazy - we'll flip these and then call the menu selection routines where it will get flipped back
EnableTimer := EnableAtStartup
EnableAtStartup := Not(EnableAtStartup)
GoSub, EnabledAtStartup
EnableTimer := Not(EnableTimer)
GoSub, Override


Send %KeyStroke%

EnableTimer := Not(EnableTimer)
If EnableTimer
 menu, tray, Check, Override
 menu, tray, icon, C:\Icons\Monitor On.ico
 menu, tray, tip, Default Power Saving Mode Overridden
 SetTimer, SendKeyStroke, %Period%
 menu, tray, UnCheck, Override
 menu, tray, icon, C:\Icons\Monitor Off.ico
 menu, tray, tip, Default Power Saving Mode
 SetTimer, SendKeyStroke, Off

EnableAtStartup := Not(EnableAtStartup)
If EnableAtStartup
 menu, SettingsMenu, Check, EnabledAtStartup
 iniwrite, 1, %A_ScriptDir%\ActiveDisplay.ini, Settings, EnableOnRun
 menu, SettingsMenu, UnCheck, EnabledAtStartup
 iniwrite, 0, %A_ScriptDir%\ActiveDisplay.ini, Settings, EnableOnRun

MsgBox, 0, About Active Display, Version 1.0`nCopyright 2009 RebootIT`n`n


Can’t XPerience a canvas


Microsoft Office Labs have launched an exciting new addition to One Note – Canvas for One Note.  This is the same idea as pptPlex for PowerPoint and instead off slides it amalgamates One Note notebook pages into a single canvas.  You can then zoom in and out and edit pages on a desktop like layout.

I was keen to give it a try, but unfortunately it currently only installs on Vista or a newer Windows operating system.  pptPlex will run on Windows XP so this was a bit of a surprise to me when I tried installing it (though in fairness the download page does list Vista as a pre-requisite).  Surely if pptPlex can run on XP OneNote can too….

According to a discussion thread on the Office Labs site there’s an idea that this limitation is actually down to the installer rather than the software so here’s to hoping that Office Labs do themselves a favour and widen their test base by offering an XP compatible installer.


PowerPoint – Mastering the canvas


Every presentation these days involves Microsoft PowerPoint.  After a while no matter how much multimedia you add to it, your presentation can still look a bit dull and boring.  In order to make your next presentation a bit different why not try pptPlex – a PowerPoint plugin that rebuilds a set of slides into a single ‘zoomable canvas’.

I saw this used by James Senior of Microsoft at the Misco Expo in October 2008 on a presentation about SBS, EBS and MS Server 2008.  It worked really well and added a new dimension to the way in which the presentation was delivered.  It also allowed him to skip around and to show areas that were collections of slide that fit together like a jigsaw but could then be zoomed in.