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.

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.

Mass production of think-cell charts using SlydMkr for the Sales Chart Example

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


In 2017 the famous Powerpoint add-in think-cell will celebrate its 15th anniversary. Even though plenty of great visualization (and also data investigation) tools such as Tableau and Qlikview have emerged since then, it cannot be denied that think-cell is the gold standard when it comes to creating charts in Powerpoint presentations. think-cell is easy to use and creates pretty, polished charts.

However, when it comes to creating many think-cell charts, the task is not so easy. Using the data-link function to connect Powerpoint with Excel is helpful for sure, but it can become quite hard to maintain in complex situations when there are multiple presentation versions with multiple think-cell charts. Also implementing custom VBA code to create think-cell charts automatically can become quite challenging.

This is where SlydMkr will come into play: This tutorial is about think-cell chart mass production. It will be shown how SlydMkr can be used to create think-cell charts automatically. As this approach does not involve any coding, it is very easy to set up. The "trick" is that the think-cell charts are defined as usual in Powerpoint, while the data range will be defined in the Excel model. But instead of using the well-known data-link mentioned above, SlydMkr will take care of business: While creating the slides, the think-cell charts will be updated with right data automatically.

Creating 1000 Powerpoint slides in 10 minutes easily using SlydMkr Wizard for the Excel Name Card Example

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


This tutorial will show how to use the SlydMkr Wizard in order to create Powerpoint slides for a simple Excel model using a Powerpoint template file.

This example is about a very common task: There is a table of items and for each row a separate slide shall be created. In this example the table contains participant information, e.g. name, age, company, etc.. The desired output is a name card for each person where this information is printed nicely. To make things a littler more entertaining there is also a person specific company logo which needs to be put on the name card. And on top of this, the example shows how a conditionally formatted cell can be used to have different name card background colors for people at different ages.