POINT AND COUNTERPOINT

Company reps often show their products to journalists and customers through really boring “PowerPoint” presentations. The story typically starts somewhere around “when man discovered fire” and is then followed by lots ofWildPresenter bullet points. Bob often tells them if they don’t cut it short he’s going to have to kill them.

It doesn’t have to be that way. A jazzy PowerPoint presentation is devoutly to be desired and we’ve just discovered how to do it: Use “WildPresenter.” The Lite version is $99 from WildForm.com and the Pro version is $399.

The program can be used with or without Microsoft’s PowerPoint to create animated presentations in “flash” or “SWF” format, which can then be loaded quickly onto a Web site. This feature alone has won kudos from many users because the new file size is smaller than any made with conversion tools, and all the Web links are retained in the final version. This feature is so powerful that some PowerPoint users move their creation into WildPresenter Pro just to convert it to flash.

The $400 professional version also lets you capture a Web site in motion or sequences from your own computer. You simply click a button to start recording. You can also record your own voice describing what’s happening, which makes it great for training and classroom videos. You can then add “jukebox controls,” which let the viewer fast-forward, rewind, pause or freeze during a presentation.

You can add “mouse-overs” too. These highlight something when the mouse pointer passes over it and you can then click there for more action. The click can take the viewer to a Web site or to a more detailed explanation of what they’re looking at. At any time along the way, you can add quizzes for teaching and emphasis. It takes just two steps: Type out the questions and then select from a menu whether you want answers to be multiple choice, yes or no, or fill in the blank.

The tutorials in this program were first rate, holding your hand through every step. WildPresenter works with Windows, Mac and Linux.

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