Microsoft has released Presentation Translator, a translation tool for PowerPoint. It’s part of the Microsoft Garage Experimental Project, so you can imagine it’s not perfect yet, but it promises big. According to the website, it is a PowerPoint add-in that allows you to add live subtitles to your presentation, and it will translate the text in your PowerPoint document. But – does it work?
There are quite a few tools out there that are springing up all over the place to help you create designed presentations with very little effort. There seems to be universal acknowledgement that presentation software (like PowerPoint) can’t do it on its own (without a team of experts), and we need a better alternative. But is newcomer SlideMagic the answer?
What is SlideMagic?
SlideMagic is a template-based presentation design tool. It’s the brainchild of Jan Schultink. Jan runs Idea Transplant, a presentation design company, but decided to build a tool to help people design their own presentations. He’s got some great knowledge about what works and what doesn’t in the realm of presentation creation, and he’s channelled all this expertise into an app that will have you creating slick presentations in no time.
What I like
SlideMagic is foolproof. With PowerPoint there’s always the chance that someone can choose the butterfly template and Comic Sans as their font of choice. SlideMagic doesn’t create your slides for you, but it provides things such as fonts, colour schemes, and layouts so that even if all you do is replace what’s already there with your own content, you’ll still have a pretty slick presentation at the end of it.
Jan is also an advocate of the Death To Text on Slides movement. Like us, he believes you can’t read and listen at the same time, so his templates are bullet point free.
SlideMagic has obviously been created by someone who knows a thing or two about design. The website is a thing of beauty and the slide templates are crisp and clean and organised around strong grids: there are no 90s gradients or clip art. By simply putting your content into the first template you come across you can create something that looks modern and professional.
What I’m not so keen on
I recently reviewed Google Slides and I mentioned their lack of animation and how it was much more restrictive than PowerPoint. Well compared to SlideMagic, Google Slides is the new Pixar: SlideMagic doesn’t support animation at all. I’m not sure that this will be a permanent fixture, but for now there are no animation capabilities. For us this is a limitation because we like to pace the flow of information with animation so we can show the audience just enough visuals or text to keep them interested and informed. Looking at the example decks that Jan has thrown together, you can see what he’s shooting for: oodles of white space, crisp lines, and caption bars. For us professional presentation designers it’s not ideal, but for a presentation novice this is one way of training yourself to put less information on a slide, and because the template is nice, whatever you create will look swish.
Am I out of a job?
Will BrightCarbon switch from PowerPoint to SlideMagic?
I think it’s a great app, but for someone who knows what they’re doing it’s pretty limiting. All of us here at BrightCarbon would know how to create the same layouts and templates in different presentation creation tool and we can be trusted to have access to a choice of fonts and colours without resorting to Snap ITC in hot pink.
SlideMagic is the bicycle stabilisers of presentation creation: if you use the app you can’t go wrong. For companies who don’t have the resources to commission professionals to create beautiful dynamic presentations, get involved with SlideMagic. Admittedly it takes a bit of figuring out – it’s like learning any new piece of software. But lots of businesses are still using Calibri bullet points on a white background, or awful PowerPoint templates full of gradients and butterflies; SlideMagic will help you build slides to the same level of complexity, but your presentations will look like they were made this decade.
Will SlideMagic negate the need for presentation designers?
In short, no.
SlideMagic is absolutely brilliant for anyone wanting to try out presentation creation, but with no real design know-how and a fear of animation. These people might not want anything overly complex as an end-result, and that’s fine. There are, however, people who want a presentation that’s animated, includes bespoke elements, and perfectly fits brand guidelines. These people will always need presentation designers and will always need a sophisticated program to make that on.Leave a comment
Senior managing consultantView Hannah Harper's profile
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