Interested in learning more about the new online presentation authoring tools that you may have been hearing about?
280 Slides is one of these free services in beta that lets you create and share presentations online. If you travel or don’t want to carry any hardware, you can access your presentations anywhere there’s a computer and an internet connection.
The service features includes the ability to:
- Store presentations on its secure server.
- Download online-created presentations in PowerPoint 2007 format.
- Use a built-in media search that searches places like Flickr and YouTube for adding photos and videos to your presentation.
- Use themes
- Email the presentation to a friend, embed it into a web page, or post on SlideShare.
- Avoid a software download as the service works within your web browser.
You don’t have to register to start using the editor. Just launch the editor and get to work. But you’ll need to register to save your work. At least, you can get a feel for the program before you give out any information (it only asks for your email address and a password).
To create a new BBP presentation, just click New and pick the blank white theme. You can also change the layout to blank so you follow the BBP method instead of let the template distract you.
The interface is straightforward with the global menu (new, open, save) at the top and presentation-specific menu right below the global menu. The formatting menu appears below the presentation menu for changing the font, size, color, justification, indentation, bullets, and fill colors.
Back to the presentation menu toolbar, which has five grouped menu items as follows:
- New, Duplicate, Delete for managing slides.
- Themes and Layouts for changing the look and feel of the slides.
- Pictures, Movies, Shapes, and Text for adding visuals to the slides.
- Forward, Backward, and Back for ordering the content.
- Present, Download, and Share for managing the entire presentation.
When creating a BBP-style presentation, you still need to do use the storyboard template and create your storyboard. You won’t be able to import anything into the presentation. But you can always copy and paste from your storyboard file.
While the Media Browser searches Google Images and Flickr, beware that it doesn’t mean you can use them free. You can also have the Media Browser to direct the browser to a specific file available online or upload a file from your computer. The Movies Library works the same way as the Pictures Library. The Shapes Library currently contains 13 shapes with the traditional shapes and arrows.
Rather than having a Help or FAQ, the service uses Get Satisfaction to answer your questions. The company cares about addressing problems, but it can be a hassle to find all the answers through another web site instead of through 280 Slides.
Overall, 280 Slides takes little time to figure out and it works fast. If you try to leave a presentation before saving it, the application gives you a warning so you can save it before moving to another web site. If you don’t have PowerPoint 2007, you can download the free Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 File Formats so you can open any PowerPoint 2007 files.