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How I use my Author Tools to format and publish content

Posted by Murray Fife on

I just wanted to drop you all a quick note to show you something that I have been working on over the past 207 days.

Up until then I had been creating PowerPoint Slideuments that I used to document processes and save away all of my notes that I had been making. The problem was that in order to publish them I had to transfer all of the content by hand over to Word documents and then also try to keep all of the formatting consistent. For a typical walkthrough guide that I was developing this would take up to 8 hours of work and was not the most stimulating process because it pretty much consisted of:

  1. Selecting PowerPoint
  2. Selecting the image
  3. Pressing CTRL+C
  4. Selecting Word
  5. Clicking on the next blank location
  6. Pressing CTRL+V
  7. Selecting PowerPoint
  8. Selecting the text
  9. Pressing CTRL+C
  10. Selecting Word
  11. Clicking on the next blank location
  12. Pressing CTRL+V
  13. Repeat 400+ times

I had finally got a little tired of this and I had an idea that I could automate the layout and typesetting of word documents from the PowerPoint documents that I had been creating and publishing up until that time. So on October 28th, 2015 I created my first prototype:

Using a little bit of VBA I was able to take this PowerPoint:

And spit out a word document:

How cool is that. I definitely did that Dance of Joy ( when this happened.

Since then I have upgraded this prototype, re-written it all in Visual Studio – stretching my already limited programming skills to the breaking point and also added a whole slew of bells and whistles to the add in for PowerPoint. Now I can take this storyboard:

And it will format the document every which way I like:

And to boot it will create training PowerPoints for me based on the content:

Yesterday I sat down and created an overview Mix (another great product from Microsoft that people don’t know about – that shows how it works, and after realizing that no-one wants to sit through 50 minutes of me talking online I split the presentation up into 12 smaller lessons that are a little more consumable.

If anyone is interested in seeing how I use this tool to develop content in a whole slew of different formats so quickly then here is the complete set of recordings:

Part 1 – Formatting Your Content:

Part 2 – The Publishing Ribbon Bar lesson permission:

Part 3 – Creating Walkthrough Documents:

Part 4 – Creating Recipe Instructions:

Part 5 – Creating Scripts:

Part 6 – Using Alternate Word Templates:

Part 7 – Creating Thumbnail Reference Guides:

Part 8 – Creating A Blog Post:

Part 9 – Creating A Print Ready Book:

Part 10 – Creating A Kindle Ready Book:

Part 11 – Creating Companion PowerPoints:

Part 12 – Creating Hiding Text In PowerPoint:

I am going to be using everything that I show in these presentations to reformat all of the content that I have published on the site into other consumable formats for you all including ready made PowerPoint training documents, more Mixes, and also raw content within Word so that you all can repurpose the content for your own training and marketing programs. So watch out for more richer content in the future.

I hope that this is interesting to you all and if anyone wants more information about the add-in then don’t hesitate to drop me a note.

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