Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Why should I use SlideFab?

Sometimes repetitive Excel tasks have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat. If such a task included creating many Powerpoint slides based on an Excel model, it would be a great situation to leverage automated slide creation using SlideFab.
SlideFab will help you to save time, get results faster and to create reproducible results instead of one-offs.

What is the idea behind SlideFab?

SlideFab is about getting content from Excel to Powerpoint in an automated, repeatable way. In SlideFab it is possible to define parts from an Excel model (e.g. cells, ranges, charts, tables, etc.) should be assigned or copied to shapes in a Powerpoint slide.
The strength of SlideFab comes into play when multiple variants of the model output are required on slides. The tool will loop all variants and create the defined output slides on the fly.

How much time and money will I save using SlideFab?

Answering this question precisely would need a thorough calculation which takes all the task details and challenges into account.
However, there are clear trends which support a use of SlideFab:

1. Whenever Powerpoint slides or even whole Powerpoint presentations need to be created which are structurally identical but different in terms of the data using SlideFab makes sense: SlideFab can create hundreds of different variants of the same slides or even whole presentations in a batch.

2. Whenever Powerpoint slides or even whole Powerpoint presentations need to be created and updated frequently using SlideFab makes sense: Once SlideFab is set up, it takes only seconds to load settings and start the process again.

3. Whenever time is scarce and manual copy paste or implementing a custom solution would just take too long: With SlideFab the user just needs to do the setup. Afterwards it runs automatically with no supervision required.

Depending on the details SlideFab can save up to several days of work when manual copy paste tasks get replaced. Consider a client example where a Powerpoint presentation showing over 4,000 questionnaire answers with participant details was supposed to being created. With one answer per slide (and also the participant information) it took about 30 to 40 seconds each. Doing all of it manually would be a whole week of copy paste. Not even mentioning the quality risk. Of course, creating a custom VBA-based macro solution would (or should) not take a whole week but a few hours for sure. Even worse the macro would be useless afterwards. Setting up SlideFab took about 10 minutes while the Powerpoint slides were created within 2 hours flawlessly.

Is SlideFab working for me?

This is a question you can answer yourself:
Please feel free to download SlideFab 2 lite. It is fully functional allowing you to test it thoroughly. It can also be used in commercial production scenarios. However, it can automate only two shapes per slide.
Thus, if you need to get rid of this limitation, you are invited to purchase a full version.

Do I need to be an Excel guru or even hold a VBA master’s degree in order to use SlideFab?

SlideFab is easy to use. First of all, no skills in VBA or any other programming language are required. Secondly, a SlideFab user does not need to be an Excel guru.
The minimum requirement for a user is to being able to build the desired model. Of course, better Excel skills won’t hurt. Recommendations on how to build good Excel models can be found in web, e.g. at the ICAEW.

Why is SlideFab working with any kind of model?

As Excel is tremendously flexible it is clear that SlideFab needs to be flexible as well. This is achieved through a generalization on how an Excel model should look like in order to being compatible with SlideFab:
SlideFab relies on three basic assumptions concerning compatible Excel model:
There is some model output which needs to be copied or assigned from Excel to Powerpoint
The model output (e.g. some calculation result) depends on a single input cell  (so-called Model Base) through formulas
This input cell will be changed based upon a variants list such that the model results will be created and copied to Powerpoint for each single variant

How does SlideFab handle models which rely on multi-dimensional variants?

Example case 1:
Imagine a model calculating total revenues per product which depends only upon product ids as variants (e.g. p01, p02, p03, etc.). These can be used with SlideFab right away.
Example case 2:
Imagine a model which subtotals revenues per product (with product ids as in case 1) and country (identified by iso codes, e.g. US, UK, NL, .etc). Here, it would make sense to concatenate the dimensions for all valid combinations as variants: p01_US, p02_US, p01_UK, p03_UK, etc.

Why do some of my presentations take longer to create than others?

The time it takes to create the slides depends on various things, e.g. number of variants, number of slides, number of shapes, computer performance, etc.
However, what is really important is that the Excel file itself can have a tremendous impact due to its calculation time. As SlideFab recalculates the whole Excel file for each variant in order to update numbers, texts, charts, etc., it is clear that a faster model will help. Thus, please avoid unnecessary calculations and try to build the model as lean as possible. Some general recommendations can be found for example at techrepublic.

Does SlideFab support user defined function written in VBA (UDFs)?

Yes. It is possible to use user defined functions. Thus, SlideFab works not only with XLSX but also other Excel file types such as XLSM.