Creating customized story flows in PowerPoint slide and presentation mass production

Using customization to individualize mass-produced PowerPoint slides

The art of creating PowerPoint presentations is topic of a whole industry: Templates, tutorials, manuals, best practices, etc. are offered to enable users to sculpture one perfect presentation. However, so much effort for one presentation does not scale well, e.g. when each country, business unit, team leader, etc needs a dedicated presentation. In such cases mass creating slides and presentations can help: Same structure but different data. In most cases the outcome is not very emotional or thrilling as titles or annotations do not reflect the message conveyed through the data. The slides tell no story. In fact, one might argue that a phonebook is more exciting. Unfortunately, the situation is as follows: One gets either customization or economies of scale.

Matrix customization vs economies of scale

However, this article is about approaches to bring more customization to mass-produced slides. Even though these tipps are meant for SlideFab 2, some will find them helpful for manual automation coding with VBA or Excel modeling in general.  So, here are some ideas which explain how to get more customization when mass producing PowerPoint slides or presentation based on Excel.

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SlideFab 2 dashboard competition title image

Human-vs-Machine: How SlideFab 2 performs against human brute force

How much time does SlideFab 2 really save? In order to find that out there will be a competition between Alice and Bob. On the one hand, Alice uses SlideFab 2. On the other hand, Bob uses his own hands with high-performance copy and paste and leverages a small VBA snippet as turbo. The task will be to create dashboard slides in PowerPoint which are filled through an Excel-based calculation.

SlideFab 2 Human vs Machine Challenge Just after starting

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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.