SlideFab v1.10 released

UPDATE: SlideFab 2 is now available with groundbreaking changes. The text below is deprecated.

 

SlideFab v1.10 is a minor update bringing a couple of bugfixes and improvements. Most notably, SlideFab is now capable of making slides and whole presentations from a worksheet directly without opening the SlideFab window. Therefor a named range "SlideFab_X" needs to be created for a given Excel cell where X is the number of the Xth embedded setting. Now, when double-clicking this cell, SlideFab will run according to embedded setting number X. On top of this a few bugs were fixed and some aspects were improved. This makes an upgrade to  SlideFab v1.10 highly recommendable.

The following lists give an overview of the novelties and bugfixes since version 1.9.

What's new in SlideFab 1.10

Features:
- Making slides directly from a worksheet via double click a cell with a named range such as "SlideFab_X" where X is a number of an embedded setting

Bugfixes:
- Removed a false error message when auto-fitting text to shape seemed not to work after shape was deleted due to condition
- Fixed a bug where conditional formats in a table were not updated properly
- Handled an issue when embedded savings were stored in the workbook but could not get read anymore
- Resolved a problem when exporting to Powerpoint chart did not work when it was linked to Excel. Now there is a warning instead
- Tweaked the positioning of the worksheet view when clicking into a range selector textbox (e.g. for shape source range). Now the chosen range is centered instead of being focused in the upper left area of the visible range
- Improved slide and shape renaming with a new message within the SlideFab Powerpoint add-in

SlideFab v1.9

IMAGinE Innovation: Here comes SlideFab v1.9

UPDATE: SlideFab 2 is now available with groundbreaking changes. The text below is deprecated.

 

This latest release of SlideFab v1.9 comes with a couple of novelties, for example two great new export modes:

  1. SlideFab has now the function to open up image files (e.g. jpg, png) from the hard drive and put these images into Powerpoint slides. As filenames can be computed or looked up from lists with formulas (e.g. VLookup or Index/Match), this new feature opens up a world of new possibilities. For example, when embedding company logos into the presentation it is not necessary to add these images to the Powerpoint file itself.
  2. Another novelty is SlideFab's feature to support charts which are designed within Powerpoint. This is a tremendous addition to copying charts from Excel over to Powerpoint or to updating think-cell charts. The way it works is very simple: Design any chart within Powerpoint and then define where the data in Excel will come from. (Please note: this import mode will be only be visible when using charts in a Powerpoint template file. Otherwise this mode will not be shown within the export mode dropdown in the slide editor)

On top of these new features SlideFab got a massive speedup improvement which will pay off for larger presentations with hundreds of slides.

SlideFab v1.9 also supports the format painter for indirect shapes and images from files. For example, when a drop shadow (or border, reflection, etc.) is set in the template for a shape which will become a picture when running the slide fabrication, this drop shadow will appear in the output file as well.

 

The following lists give an overview of the novelties and bugfixes since version 1.8.

 

What's new in SlideFab 1.9

Feature:

  • New export mode: SlideFab can now read image files and put those into Powerpoint shapes
  • New export mode: SlideFab supports Powerpoint charts and updates data tables from ranges in Excel

Under the hood improvements:

  • Splitting and caching to speed-up the fabrication of larger Powerpoint presentations with > 200 slides
  • Disabling and restoring autosave in Powerpoint to improve speed-up
  • Improved positioning precision for shapes when imported from a Powerpoint template presentation
  • Minor bug fixes
SlideFab category tree example image for the blog post

Wolf in sheep’s clothing? How to tame the beast and create great category trees in Powerpoint automatically using SlideFab

UPDATE: SlideFab 2 is now available with groundbreaking changes. The text below is deprecated.

 

Category trees are a little bit like wolfs in sheeps' clothings: They look pretty, sometime cute. But if you try to create great category trees, they will eat up all your time. So, what is a category tree: It is visualization of numerical data which is categorized in multiple ways. The category tree gives an overview of the most important sub categories first. Then it shows how these sub categories break down. For example, it can be used to show supplier spend data on spend category and sub category level as well as the top suppliers and countries per subcategory. Gathering all these numbers and compiling these Powerpoint slides is a huge copy/paste effort. You can imagine: Chances are high that something will go wrong. And if the underlying data changes, then it basically means starting from scratch. 

Fortunately, category trees can be created with SlideFab as well. As soon as Excel model and Powerpoint presentation are set up, the slides can be created within no time. So whenever data changes it will be a piece of cake to recreate the category trees. This means faster results with less time invested and also no manual copy/paste errors made. This short video shows in less than three minutes how this looks like and how it can be done.

If you want to try it yourself, go grab the SlideFab trial version and download the category tree example from the downloads page. It is even possible to plug in your own data, just make sure to refresh the pivot tables after pasting your data.

A longer tutorial explaining this example follows soon, it will go through the model and template and explain the underlying logic. If there are questions in the meantime, feel free to reach out.

Creating 100 Fact-Based Supplier Negotiation Decks with custom storylines in 15 minutes

UPDATE: SlideFab 2 is now available with groundbreaking changes. The text below is deprecated.

 

This tutorial video gives an overview of the SlideFab capabilities when it comes to automatically creating whole presentations and not just mere slides. The example is based upon the idea that for annual negotiations with the suppliers there should be a custom-tailored fact-based presentation for every supplier in order to prepare and support the negotiations, ultimately leading to better results (e.g. savings). Therefore a storyline is created which leads through the historic performance and culminates in a claim for the upcoming year. The video explains how custom formula-based slide titles and content can be created to really have a personalized look and feel beyond just showing charts and tables. As a result, based on 7 templates slides, 650 slides  for 100 suppliers will be created (50 slides are not created for sake of story consistency using the slide condition feature.  Basically it is about just not showing some suppliers how good they actually are 😉 ).

Of course, this idea of custom-tailored presentations can be applied in other domains as well, e.g. when conducting surveys and using SlideFab to create feedback presentations for all participants or when running a decentralized project where individual work plans and instructions need to be compiled in larger numbers or on a regular basis through SlideFab.

Please note: The video was created with SlideFab 1.7 which at this time was still known as SlydMkr. For the new features since then please refer to The most powerful Powerpoint automation tool got even stronger: SlydMkr / SlideFab v 1.8 released.

SlideFab FBN example video tutorial poster

Creating supplier spend tables in Powerpoint automatically using SlideFab

UPDATE: SlideFab 2 is now available with groundbreaking changes. The text below is deprecated.

 

The new SlideFab v1.8 introduced the Slide Loops feature which brought great flexibility and power. In this video a very simple example will be shown on how this function works. Spend data from a list of companies in Excel shall be copied over to Powerpoint in such a way that there is one slide per supplier. One slide - and if this is not enough? Indeed, in such cases SlideFab will take care and create as many slides a required in order to have everything covered.

SlideFab v1.8 poster

The most powerful Powerpoint automation tool got even stronger: SlydMkr / SlideFab v 1.8 released

UPDATE: SlideFab 2 is now available with groundbreaking changes. The text below is deprecated.

 

This brand new version 1.8 of SlideFab (formerly "SlydMkr") brings numerous novelties and innovations. A huge impact has a conceptual breakthrough in the model base / variants logic: Slide loops which can be found in the slide template edit window.

So far SlideFab was able to create one slide per slide template and variant combination. Now, SlideFab is able to create an arbitrary number of slides per slide template / variant combination. This is tremendously helpful when one slide template is just not enough to cover all content. And even better: Depending on the requirements of each variant the number of loops can be defined using formulas (e.g. when variants are categories and each category contains multiple sub categories. Now, every sub category needs to be put on a separate slide. Then slide loops allow it to flexibly determine the category-specific number of slides based on a simple count function.).

On top this SlideFab v1.8 contains an improved and redesigned reference editor which is key for most worksheet interactions.

Apart from the already existing resize mode (1st button), the named range selector (2nd button), the table / column picker (3rd button) it now contains the possibility to select fields from pivot tables.

The selection windows for named ranges, table / columns and pivot fields now contains a text-based filter. This improves handling of SlideFab when working with richer Excel files.

 

The following lists give an overview of the novelties and bugfixes since version 1.7.

 

What's new in SlideFab 1.8

Features:

  • Added loops to slide templates (see explanation above)
  • Remade the named range and table/column picker windows which now contain filtering features
  • Added the option to reference pivot table fields for the variants list directly
  • Import Handling has now the feature to remove orphaned shapes (shapes which exist in SlideFab but not in the PPT template anymore)
  • When focussing the entry field of the range picker, SlideFab will automatically activate the appropriate sheet and select this range in Excel
  • When opening up template file a progress bar will show how long it still takes
  • SlideFab is now able to delete existing shapes, tables, etc. from a slide when the shape condition evaluates to false (instead of just ignoring it)
  • For creating think-cell charts SlideFab can now handle transposed source ranges
  • Added option to remove think-cell tags from shapes in the Powerpoint add-in
  • SlideFab can now remove activated computers from the license server, freeing up the license for other machines.

Bugfixes / Improvements:

  • Fixed a bug where an Excel table without formatting stopped the Excel table to be created at all
  • Fixed a bug which stopped decomposition into multiple files by template
  • Fixed a bug where Excel tables where slightly moved towards the bottom right corner as if they were copy pasted
  • Ensured cleaning of the clipboard while running SlideFab
  • Fixed the error message when running custom VBA code which appeared all the time - even when everything went fine
  • Fixed a bug which led to an incorrect name when the template file was refreshed and the names were supposed to be taken from the template file

 

SlideFab v1.7 poster

Automatically creating Powerpoint reports got even easier: SlydMkr 1.7 released!

UPDATE: SlideFab 2 is now available with groundbreaking changes. The text below is deprecated.

 

The latest version of SlydMkr contains a couple of new functions to improve user experience and to create even better slides and presentations. One really cool new feature is to create sections in the output presentation which improves readability and browsing in the slide sorter view. For example when creating fact based negotiation decks by suppliers then there will be a section for each supplier (cf. screenshot for illustration). A new auto-update functions help to keep SlydMkr up-to-date without having to download and install the latest version manually.
This new version contains also some bug fixes and improvements to robustness.

 

What's new in SlydMkr 1.7

Features:

  • The update check was removed in favor of an auto update function which can download and install the most recent SlydMkr version from the homepage
  • An option was added to create sections in the output presentation either by variant name or slide template name
  • Slide making stats will be shown after completion giving feedback on how much time the Excel models takes to calculate in comparison to the slide making time (lower Excel calculation times are better)
  • Added estimation of time left for the slide making process

Bugfixes / Improvements:

  • Improved the handling of all reference edit controls (e.g. for selecting model base range or variants range)
  • Fixed a bug which led to tables having an incorrect size when file decomposition was enabled
  • Fixed an error when duplicating slides that the reference name and id to the Powerpoint slide got lost
  • Improved a bug which disabled automatic version check permanently
  • Some further fixes and enhancements to increase overall robustness (also when using think-cell)