Issue #84 May 17, 2005

1. PPT – Hyperlinking

Sometimes in a PowerPoint presentation you will want to run a file from another application. This may be a video or a file from an application like Excel or Word. PowerPoint does allow you to create hyperlinks from text or other objects, but to activate them, you usually need to move your mouse to the link and click on it to start the link. This mouse moving across the screen is distracting for the audience. I use hyperlinks in my Compelling PowerPoint seminar to show a few of the Video Tutorials I created that illustrate a particular point I am making. I want it to appear seamless when I present, so I searched for a way to launch the link without using the mouse. Here’s what works for me. Since the video tutorials are Flash files played from an HTML page, what I really need to do is launch the HTML page and then the coding on that page will do the rest. So I have created an Action button (by clicking on Slide Show->Action Buttons and selecting a button). This action button is set to hyperlink to the HTML file. Then, when I want to launch it during the presentation I press the Tab key to select the action button and press the Enter key to activate the action button. The audience never sees the button selected because the Tab key puts a very faint box around the action button to indicate it is selected. It is a seamless way to launch the video that really adds to the presentation. When the video is done, I close the browser by pressing Alt+F4 (which is a key combination that closes many programs without having to use the mouse to click on the menus). Consider how you may use this technique to seamlessly add files from other applications to your presentation.

2. Forcing a PC to shut down

It is inevitable that at some point in time your PC will just hang – stop working in the middle of what you are doing, no error message, it just freezes. If you have had this happen to you it is frustrating because you may lose the work you were doing. The bigger concern is what to do if it happens. The first thing to try is to press the Ctrl, Alt and Del key at the same time (the easiest way to do this is to hold down the Ctrl and Alt keys and then press the Del key). This may allow you to shut down the problem program and restart the PC. If this does not work, then you will have to turn the power off. The way to do this on current PC’s is to hold the power button in for 5-10 seconds until the computer forces the power off and shuts down. Wait 30 seconds before you turn it back on. When the PC restarts, it will likely want to check the disks to see if any damage was done – let it do this and repair any problems it finds – rarely will it find anything. While an episode of freezing may cost you a few minutes of work, it can be dealt with properly. If you have these occurrences more than once a month or so, there is probably something more seriously wrong with your computer. Back up all data and take it to the repair shop to find out what is wrong.

3. Useful Resource – FinePrint

One of the features of Word 2002 and above that I use often is the ability to print multiple pages on one sheet of paper. I wish more applications had this feature, but many do not. There is a utility that many have recommended that adds this capability to all programs. It is called FinePrint and it acts as a printer driver that you print to. It then does the work of formatting the multiple pages onto a single sheet. It is free to try and the banner is removed once you buy it. Check it out at