PowerPresentations - Presentation Tips & Secrets

Review of MagPointer

Written by Kevin Lerner.

 Review of MagPointer,  a PowerPoint add-in that helps you keep your audience's attention focused on where you want.

Introduction
Using MagPointer
Pricing and Support
Conclusion


Introduction

Many times, we create slides with content of several types. For example, you might create a chart on the left part of your slide and then add some supporting data for the same chart as a table on the right side. While showing this particular slide, you may want to alternatively highlight both these content types so that you can help focus your audience's attention to the topic you are discussing. This sort of highlighting is possible if you design your graphics or slide content that way -- and are prepared to use a fair amount of animation. Again that may need some sort of familiarity level from the presenter so that he or she knows when and what to click!

Fortunately, we are reviewing an add-in for PowerPoint that achieves predictable results without graphic jugglery or added animations. MagPointer automatically detects slide objects and enables you to interact with those objects in real time. For example, you can highlight text objects or table components, enlarge specific objects, create frames or zoom on specific slide areas. It is a suitable add-in for content-rich presentations and very useful for webinars, e-learning classes, and online business meetings. Of course, it is also beneficial for in-person presentations. Once installed, MagPointer automatically launches whenever your Slide Show begins -- while keeping all your PowerPoint animations and functionality intact.

You can learn more about the MagPointer from their site. My contact at MagPointer for this review wasYossi Pinkas -- thank you, Yossi.

Back


Using MagPointer

Download the installer, run the setup routine and follow the instructions. When installed, follow these steps:

  1. Open an existing presentation or create a new presentation. Play the presentation inSlide Show mode. 

     

     

  2. Once in the Slide Show mode, the add-in automatically gets activated -- a Smart Cursor and a floating SmartBar (right edge of the screen) appears, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 1. Note that PowerPoint's conventional Previous and Next arrow buttons (typically on the popup toolbar available on the bottom left) are disabled when you use MagPointer.

     

    MagPointers Smart Cursor and SmartBar within Slide Show view
    Figure 1: MagPointers Smart Cursor and SmartBar within Slide Show view

     

  3. Now, hover your mouse over the SmartBar to see some context-sensitive icons, as shown in Figure 2. This is intuitive and useful when you are using a remote mouse controller in face-to-face presentations.

     

    SmartBar displaying icons
    Figure 2: SmartBar displaying icons

    The SmartBar icons are explained below -- starting from top to bottom, as marked inFigure 2, above.

     

    1. Previous Slide: This takes you to previous slide.

       

       

    2. Next Slide: This icon takes you to next slide.

       

       

    3. Frame: Click the frame icon, move your cursor to the slide area where you want to add focus, drag the cursor until the area is covered -- release when done to create focus on that area. Alternatively, you can just left-click and drag to draw the frame around the specific slide areas to be focused. Frames can be freely drawn anywhere and are not related to slide objects. You can also change the frame color. Figure 3, below shows a frame created around the slide title. To remove the frame place your cursor over the SmartBar and click the Cancel icon which is the topmost icon with a red multiplication sign (see Figure 3, again). Additionally, you can also click inside a frame or right-click -- the latter option clears all highlights and frames.

       

      Frame created
      Figure 3: Frame created

       

    4. Zoom: When this icon is selected (or you right-click and drag the cursor over a selected area), you invoke the magnifier. The cursor in this mode is replaced by a circular magnifying glass. The magnifier also serves as a projector -- the screen is dimmed and only the area under the magnifier is highlighted, as shown in Figure 4. Magnification is independent of slide objects and any area in the slide can be magnified. You can also adjust the magnifier's radius and zoom and finally you can also add magnifier spots (“frozen” enlarged highlighted areas). 

       

      You can click the left button of your mouse and drag or scroll the mouse wheel -- dragging up and down zooms out and in within your magnifier. Similarly, you click the right button and drag up and down to change the magnifier size.

      Press the Esc key to get out of magnifier mode. Again, you can also right-click or press Cancel icon on the SmartBar to achieve the same result.

      Zoomed slide area
      Figure 4: Zoomed slide area

       

    5. Multiple Highlights: To create multiple highlights click on the multiple highlights (or hold the Ctrl key while highlighting). You can highlight text, table elements, etc. You can also change the frame colors based on your requirement. Figure 5 shows multiple, highlighted text objects on a slide. To get out of this mode, click the single frame icon on the SmartBar.

       

      Multiple highlighted text on the slide
      Figure 5: Multiple highlighted text on the slide

       

    6. Multiple Frames: To create multiple frames click on the multiple frames icon on the SmartBar (or hold the Ctrl key while framing). To get out of this mode, click the single frame icon on the SmartBar. Again, you can also change the frame colors based on your requirement.

       

       

    7. Disable MagPointer: Click this icon to disable MagPointer.

       

       

    While using the frames and highlights, MagPointer builds a navigation path for all detected slide objects automatically and enables you to traverse them by scrolling the mouse wheel -- forward for next object or backwards for previous object. Navigation through objects is available only when a single object is selected.

     

     

  4. Play around with the options -- you can also download the User Manual from the MagPointer site to learn how these options work.

It's possible to customize (fine-tune) MagPointer behaviors (actions, screen dimming, etc.) in theConfiguration window. To get to Configuration window, right-click to get the PowerPoint pop-up menu and select the MagPointer Configuration option.

Back


Pricing and Support

MagPointer costs US$9.95 for a single user license. For corporate licenses, you can contact MagPointer.

Support is through e-mail and telephone.

Back


Conclusion

MagPointer is an amazing product that lets you deliver your presentation with so much more control and oomph. However, we will not recommend that you use MagPointer without first playing a fair bit with the available options. You have to be in control of all the options, and practice them well before you use it in front of a real audience. Time spent playing with MagPointer options is certainly time well spent since some of the features provided are amazing indeed. And the cost:performance ratio is heavily lopsided to the performance part!

 

 

Pin it

Recommendations

  • "We engaged The Presentation Team to do a Presentation training for our team and he did a great job. He spent time understanding our requirements and the skill level of our team members and created a course which met our expectations and goals. I highly recommend The Presentation Team as a Presentation (PowerPoint) trainer."

    Navdeep Sidhu
    Senior Director, Software AG
  • "Kevin Lerner provided best-in-class services when hired to work on promotional materials for the launch of a key product at Motorola. The expertise and quality that he brought to the project were second to none and as a result, he delivered a top-notch presentation that was quickly adopted throughout the organization. Kevin is great to work with, delivers on time, is a great team player and is always willing to go the extra mile."

    Maria Cardoso
    Motorola
  • "Kevin has been a working with Cox Communications to deliver world-class PowerPoint presentation visuals since 2009. His ability to meet our specific needs, timeframe, and budgets has been exceptional. His professional interaction with our team reflects his deep expertise in the industry, superior presentation design skills, and commitment to superior service."

    Jonathan Freeland
    VP, Video Marketing at Cox Communications
  • "Kevin is an enthusiastic, creative, and passionate presentation guru. Our company was impressed and felt the value of his training in 2013 that he was invited again recently to again share his knowledge. Both times he has been energetic and addressed many areas for presentation development. From planning to follow-up Kevin is personable and easygoing, motivating our teams to take their presentations to the next level."

    Yoshimi Kawashima
    Project Coordinator, Nissin International
  • "Kevin helped me immensely improve my presentation slides development, from tips & tricks to aesthetics, all with the intent of getting the message across crisply and creatively. I've already received praise for decks that incorporate the skills obtained from his training. I highly recommend Kevin's services."

    Era Prakash
    General Electric
  • "The PowerPresentations seminar opened my eyes to all the limitless possibilities in presenting."

    Leah Gordillo
    Saint Francis Medical Center
  • "Kevin was a pleasure to work with. He was well-prepared and was an excellent example on how to give effective presentations."

    Seminar participant
  • "The PowerPresentations seminar gave us the tools we need in order to create effective presentations that sizzle."

    Seminar participant
  • "Kevin has always had vision, creativity, and enthusiasm for his professional and works tirelessly perfecting whatever he is working on."

    Marty Smith
    Zenith Goldine Pharmaceuticals
  • "[Kevin and The Presentation Team have] always delivered 110% in terms of meeting our objectives for finished product and budget"

    Paul Price
    Watsco Corp.
  • "I had more people come up to me after I spoke, commenting on the visuals you created, than I did on the subject matter!"

    Andy Smith
    Smith & Robb Advertising
  • "By working together, we have been able to substantially improve the quality of services and products originating from our department"

    Myrlene Clifford
    Ryder
  • "As a Fortune 1000 company, we sought to produce a classy, yet conservative presentation for our shareholders. It was evident that you and your team listened to our thoughts as you developed the presentation..."

    Will Flower
    Republic Services
  • "We were told by the customer's selection committee the presentation of our solution was the deciding factor in NextiraOne winning a five-year contract valued at over $35 million at Miami International Airport"

    William McGlashan
    NextiraOne
  • "Your presentation added an extra dimension to the program and was very well-received."

    Tom Feltenstein
    Neighborhood Marketing Institute
  • "Kevin is an excellent speaker, effective team worker, passionate about his craft, enthusiastic, well-organized and reliable."

    Marilyn K. Volker
  • "Lant & Associates will never look as good as we do today - because of the relationship we created with The Presentation Team.  'We came...You pushed...and We are flying!' "

    Tom Lant
    Lant & Associates
  • “Kevin is a professional. He did a complete overhaul of my power point presentations and I have had excellent results with his work. He was on time, he sent as many betas as was necessary until we got a great final outcome.” 

    Joachim dePosada
  • "Your expertise in the filed of PowerPoint and general presentation techniques helped elevate us to the level necessary to beat the competition."

    Mike Geary
    James Pirtle Construction
  • "The contrast between the old version and The Presentation Team's version is like night and day."

    Keith A. Bostian, Ph.D
    Iconix Pharmaceuticals
  • "Kevin and his team never failed. The persistence and discipline enabled my projects and other others to be completed in a quality fashion."

    Kent Rodgers
    I2 Technologies
  • "Every day, someone, somewhere, is viewing the training presentations you and your team created for HelmsBriscoe. Indeed, this interactive 12-module PowerPoint presentation has become a powerful tool for our sales team, and has helped HelmsBriscoe in achieving our mission."

    Kari Moberg
    Helms Briscoe
  • “I came into a new position but inherited a lifeless ppt presentation. Kevin and his team reworked my ppt and turned it into a powerful presentation tool for me . . . which I used without much need for revision for several years. Kevin's great. He's that good.” 

    Greg Kreuziger
  • "One of the things I appreciate most about our relationship is peace of mind.  Your team has the latest technology and knoweledge, yet maintains old-fashioned respect for your customers." 

    Kathy Watkins
    Eastman
  • "Your dedication, diligence and professionalism was very much appreciated and helped us achieve a complete multimedia presentation including voiceover all in a 4 day period."

    Jennifer Cassandra
    Designline Construction Services
  • "Over the past twelve months, your dedication has demonstrated a true commitment to a common goal."

    Adam LaWare
    DePuy Spine
  • “Kevin redesigned PowerPoint slides for clients of mine, as well as some of my own slides. As an executive presentation coach for nearly 25 years, I'm very picky. Everything he did looks great.” 

    David Greenberg
  • "We worked well together; his work style was relaxed yet focused, and our email and frequent phone calls helped us to communicate clarly and timely."

    Sherry Alumbaugh
    Data Solutions
  • "You and your team hit the mark with what you delivered.  Many thanks for your outstanding customer service and design ideas."

    Lois P. Frankel, Ph.D.
    Corporate Coaching International
  • “I have worked with Kevin for over 15 years. He has consistently distinguished himself not only as a creative expert but a valuable business partner. There have been many times I needed someone with excellent creative skills to help me take complex business issues and make them simple and easy for high level professionals. Kevin never failed me and always exceeded my expectations. I was very impressed with his commitment level and do "whatever" it takes attitude. I recommend Kevin as a valuable and creative business partner.” 

    Bruce Frcek
  • "The City of Oakland Park has successfully received the ranking for grant money it was seeking thanks in part to the great presentation that the Presentation Team created.  Thank you for your hard work, creativity, and expertise in brinking this dynamic video presentation to life."

    Stan Brown
    Ambit Marketing Communications
  • "Kevin brought a high level of creativity, enthusiasm, and deep multmedia experience to our team.  He worked dillegently with the team to produce an outstanding proposal which we subsequently won."

    Jeffrey Keller
    Accenture
  • “Kevin has on more than one occasion taken on a project for me and provided a great product when my budget was limited. I felt he had my best interest at heart at all times.”

    Derrick Witt
    Corporate Fitness & Wellness
  • “Kevin is a high energy, creative professional very focused on achieving customer goals. I enjoyed working with him very much and would recommend him without question.”

    Ellen Mughal
    TQ3
  • “Kevin brings a great deal or knowledge and professionalism into his presentations. He conveys valuable information to his attendees that prove beneficial in their day-to-day operations within their own organizations.”

    Jeff Parrish