The PowerPoint Pen-Only Toolbar: Making the use of PowerPoint on a tablet PC more efficient

Discussion in 'Educators' started by lblb, Aug 31, 2013.

  1. lblb

    lblb Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    LAST UPDATE: January 12, 2014
    - Uploaded version 1.1 (see changelog below)


    Hi all,

    I have developed a toolbar that can be used to facilitate the use of PowerPoint on a tablet PC and to circumvent the difficulties associated with not having access to a keyboard. The toolbar can be helpful in making it much easier to write on the slides during a presentation, and it also includes other useful functions like:
    - easily switch between the pointer, pens of different colors and the eraser
    - option to automatically turn Touch input OFF when a pen is selected and to turn it back ON when going back to the pointer (this prevents undesired touch input while drawing with the pen)
    - button to toggle Touch input ON/OFF during the presentation
    - options to facilitate connecting to a projector (which can sometimes be painful with no keyboard)
    - options to adjust the volume
    - option to have a more visible cursor during the presentation (when using a tablet PC, the cursor during a presentation is usually a tiny hard-to-see white dot)
    - option to add a slide during a presentation (which is not normally possible without this toolbar)​

    I've only tested the toolbar on Windows 7 64bit and PowerPoint 2010 but it should (hopefully) work on all versions of Windows (starting at Vista) and PowerPoint.

    If you want to know why you may be interested in using the toolbar, read on. If you want to learn about its main functions, you can watch the video that I have uploaded on YouTube (see below). If you want to try it out, you can download a zip file (that I've uploaded on MediaFire.com) with the link at the bottom of this post (make sure to download the correct 32 or 64bit version). The zip file contains the installer for the toolbar and installation instructions in a pdf file.

    Comments. suggestions and bug reports are very welcome!


    VIDEO:
    Making the use of PowerPoint on a tablet PC more efficient: the PowerPoint Pen-Only Toolbar - YouTube


    Why a PowerPoint Toolbar?

    I am involved in education and one of the main reasons why I bought a tablet PC was that I wanted to use it to annotate and draw on slides during PowerPoint lectures. I figured that tablet PC’s and PowerPoint were a natural match and that there had to be great ways to use them together. I was actually very surprised when I started using my tablet with PowerPoint that this is actually not the case: you can annotate PowerPoint slides during a presentation but you have to right-click on the slides (or use an icon at the bottom of the slides) then select items from dropdown menus. The whole process is very clumsy and is in fact not very elegant for the audience.

    Even after extensive searches on the web, I couldn’t find any discussions pointing to concrete ways of making the use of PowerPoint on my tablet more efficient. So I have been experimenting for a few semesters in my classes and have investigated quite a few ways to try to use PowerPoint to its full potential with a tablet. A summary of my early explorations can be found here:
    http://forum.tabletpcreview.com/ep121-slate/46926-optimal-use-powerpoint-tablet-pc.html

    I have now moved away from these early strategies because since then I've learned to program a bit and so I have developed the current toolbar. The use of this toolbar has now become a very simple and effective way of using the full potential of the handwriting capabilities of my tablet during a PowerPoint presentation. I've been using and refining it for a couple of semesters and it is now ready to share. Hopefully, other users will find it useful, and perhaps suggest improvements.

    Being able to seamlessly write on the slides during a PowerPoint presentation has been quite simply wonderful. It's been really nice to write on the slides, then save the file at the end of the lecture and post online the slides that still contain what I wrote during the lecture. And I have had tremendously positive feedback from the students about the "interactivity" of it all. The wow factor when you start writing on a slide during a presentation is always great!

    DOWNLOAD:


    UPDATE January 12, 2014: version 1.1
    Changelog:
    - Removed the prompt that made it impossible to use on versions of Windows prior to Windows Vista
    - Hopefully now compatible with Windows XP (although I have not been able to test it)
    - Changed the last buttons at the bottom of the Navigation toolbar from "next/previous slide" (which are already on the main toolbar) to "go to first/last slide"
    - Should hopefully not make any difference but all button images were converted from .bmp format to .ico format (as the latter resize better)
    - The toolbar is now more explicitely identified in the Add-ins tab in PowerPoint.
    - Corrected a few typos

    Download v. 1.1:
    (Note: To uninstall the previous version, just delete the following folder
    C:\Program Files\Apps for Tablet PC\PowerPoint Pen-Only Toolbar 1_0
    as well as the add-in that you put in your add-ins folder.)


    32bit version: Installer for PowerPoint Pen-Only Toolbar 1.1 (32bit)
    64bit version: Installer for PowerPoint Pen-Only Toolbar 1.1 (64bit)

    Original version (1.0):
    32bit version: PowerPoint Pen-Only Toolbar 1.0 (32bit).zip
    64bit version: PowerPoint Pen-Only Toolbar 1.0 (64bit).zip


    *Thanks to Derson for troubleshooting on a preliminary version of the toolbar:
    http://forum.tabletpcreview.com/software/56578-looking-beta-testers-powerpoint-toolbar.html
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 16, 2015
  2. cleft

    cleft Scribbler - Standard Member

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    This is brilliant! Thank you for developing this toolbar, lblb!
     
  3. lblb

    lblb Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Hi cleft,

    I'm glad you like it. Hopefully it can be as useful to others as it is for me. Cheers!
     
  4. hitman

    hitman Scribbler - Standard Member

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    I'm getting a message on my PC which says that the "download appears to be malicious"!
    Any other links for the download as after watching the you tube video I'd really like to try this.
    Cheers
     
  5. lblb

    lblb Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Hi hitman,

    I'm not sure there is much that I can do but let's try. Unfortunately, this kind of download will often be identified as suspicious because it contains an executable file and because it hasn't been downloaded all that much (it's been downloaded 54 times since I uploaded it).

    Maybe you could try downloading it from my dropbox:

    32 bit: https://www.dropbox.com/s/houle32h70k4cep/PowerPoint Pen-Only Toolbar 1.0 (32bit).zip

    64 bit: https://www.dropbox.com/s/k0yi2qgmzinrv7m/PowerPoint Pen-Only Toolbar 1.0 (64bit).zip

    Other than that, if you are able to download it but aren't doing it because of the message you are getting, then maybe it will require an act of faith from your part! I've thoroughly scanned the files for viruses and there isn't anything there. Also, I can add that I have uploaded things on this forum that have been downloaded many hundreds of times (see for example http://forum.tabletpcreview.com/artists/47928-photoshop-toolbar.html and http://forum.tabletpcreview.com/software/56322-apps-tablet-pc.html) so maybe that can increase your confidence in downloading this toolbar.

    Hopefully you'll be able to test it. This toolbar has really changed the way that I use PowerPoint with my tablet and, although it takes a bit of time to get used to it, I wouldn't do without it ever again! I hope that it can be helpful for you, and don't hesitate to write back here with suggestions and bugs.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2013
  6. hitman

    hitman Scribbler - Standard Member

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    lblb
    Thanks for the detailed response
    I'm not sure if it was my pc as it went through a stage of doing the same with a number of downloads
    I will try on my Lenovo X200T and report back
    Thanks in advance for putting together such a useful tool
     
  7. lblb

    lblb Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Hi hitman,

    no problem. Hopefully the download will work. (And unfortunately I can't really send the files to you by e-mail because the file is an executable and this type of file is typically not possible to send by e-mails.) By the way, I just saw that someone posted a comment on the YouTube page of the toolbar on the same day that you posted your first comment here. Was that you on the YouTube page? If yes, I'm sorry I didn't get to reply before as I just didn't have time to visit that page. But don't hesitate to ask questions here and I'll be happy to try to answer them.
     
  8. gatewaypc

    gatewaypc Pen Pal - Newbie

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    I downloaded and tried to run on Power Point 2010. I did insert the add-ins and could see the icon. When I clicked, it said "run time error:53" and asked me to end. Then nothing happened. Not sure if you had this problem before, but I appreciate if you can provide some suggestions.Thanks.
     
  9. lblb

    lblb Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Hi gatewaypc,

    maybe it's a permission thing. If you go to:

    C:\Program Files\Apps for Tablet PC\PowerPoint Pen-Only Toolbar 1_0

    and double-click on the file "PowerPoint Pen-Only Toolbar.exe", does it launch the toolbar or do you get the same error message? If you get the same error message, right-click on the file, select "Properties" and in the "Compatibility" tab select "Run this program as an administrator" then Click OK. Does it now launch correctly when you double-click on the file? If yes, close the toolbar from the menu button (top left button) and you should now be able to launch it from your PowerPoint ribbon.

    Does that help at all?
     
  10. gatewaypc

    gatewaypc Pen Pal - Newbie

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    Thanks for quick response.

    I managed to insert the toolbar into the add-ins. After I clicked add-ins, it says " this program requires Windows vista or later". If I check the comparability, I only had options: Windows 95, 98, NT, 2000.

    Here is the details of my PC:

    Windows XP version 2002, Service Pack 3. MS Office is 2010.

    Any suggestion? Thanks.
     
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