This post is by Heather Ackmann. She is a new/old PowerPoint MVP. Old, because she’s been an MVP in Microsoft Office for years. New, because Microsoft got rid of Office MVPs, so she’s come over to the light side and is now a PowerPoint MVP. And she’s an MCT (Microsoft Certified Trainer). Heather is also full-time author for Pluralsight, creating computer training videos full-time on PowerPoint, Excel, Word, and other topics.
On the job, she is passionate about three things: her audio equipment, her training courses, and her PowerPoint slides. Her desk is never clean, but her courses are meticulously structured. At work and at home she pushes the limits of what her Microsoft Office applications can do and often asks them to do things they weren’t designed to do. When she discovers something new and interesting that Office can do, she loves sharing that information with the world via Twitter, her website, or in one of her many Pluralsight courses. In her spare time, she crochets many hats and scarves for her kids who refuse to wear them outdoors.
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If you have not yet had a chance to play with Office Mix, the latest add-in for PowerPoint that allows you to create an interactive online multimedia presentation sharable and viewable on any device, you need to read Ellen’s Introduction to the add-in here.
But if you are already somewhat familiar with Office Mix, maybe have even created one or two Mix presentations yourself, I am going to explain how to take Mix Interactivity to the next level by designing and creating your own custom interactive menu into your Office Mix presentation.
Towards the end of this blog, you’ll find a presentation containing the step-by-step instructions, but here are a few things to consider beforehand.
Why Design a Custom Interactive Menu for Mix?
Below is a mix presentation I recently created and shared to Twitter. The presentation is less of “presentation” in the traditional sense and more of a curation of some of my favorite web resources that I used to teach myself how to crochet.
Due to the nature of the content and the medium through which I was sharing the presentation, I wanted viewers to be able to skip through the sections at their leisure much like a website or catalog, but I found the native navigation features of the Mix player somewhat limited. The answer? Design my own menu using simple features already available in PowerPoint.
How to Design an Interactive Menu in PowerPoint
The basic look and design of the above menu is created entirely with PowerPoint shapes, lines, and text boxes, with one exception: the home icon. The home icon I downloaded from Shutterstock as an Illustrator vector file and then converted to a PowerPoint shape (click here for instructions on how to convert vector graphics to PowerPoint shapes).
There are a couple of places in PowerPoint to build your menu. The choice is up to you. You can either build shapes on the slide master layouts, or on individual slides. It really depends on how complicated your presentation ends up being and what you find more convenient in the end. Hyperlinks will work from both the slide masters and the individual slides.
Before sharing your presentation, there are a few things you should consider:
- Mobile Devices: If you choose to enable playback on mobile devices, Office Mix will render your mix as a video. That means that ALL your actions and hyperlinks, any quizzes, and apps, etc. will NOT work on these devices.
- Player Navigation Buttons: There is one pop-up navigation button that appears on occasion over the slides whenever the slides stop “playing” automatically after audio or a video file has ended. The button will appear towards the bottom center of the player. Ordinarily, this doesn’t cause a problem; however, if you’ve placed the menu at the bottom of the slide like I’ve done in this example, this pop-up button has the potential to block your navigational menu. This isn’t as big of a problem as it could be though; the button does disappear automatically after a few seconds. It’s just a bit cumbersome to navigate around sometimes. As such, designing your slides with the menu placed at the top of the slides might be a better option.
How to Create Clickable Buttons
And now for what you are really wanting to know—how to make those buttons work in Office Mix! To demonstrate how to create buttons for Office Mix, I created directions in Office Mix. See the embedded Office Mix presentation below. Enjoy!
What do you think? It’s really simple, right? Leave a comment and share with your colleagues!