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PowerPoint 2013 for Developers: Conversation with Steve Rindsberg

Monday, August 13, 2012
posted by Geetesh on Monday, August 13, 2012 IST



Steve RindsbergSteve Rindsberg has been associated with PowerPoint since the product originated more than two decades ago -- his PowerPoint FAQ site is a treasure trove of PowerPoint information. When he's not updating his site, he's creating new PowerPoint add-ins that expand possibilities within PowerPoint. Steve's also into a lot of print technology related stuff.

In this conversation, Steve discusses what the upcoming PowerPoint 2013 offers developers, and about the rumours that apps will replace add-ins soon.

Geetesh: PowerPoint 2013 seems to be adding several new options for developers -- can you share some thoughts?

Steve: I am assuming this question is about what is new for developers in PowerPoint 2013, and what can Indezine readers and other PowerPoint users can expect to see in PowerPoint add-ins as a result.

The features that hold the most promise, at least to me, are:

  1. Presentation Broadcasting: Add-ins should be able to launch, pause and resume broadcast presentations and even add meeting notes to the broadcast.

  2. Guides: Developers can now add, delete and position drawing guides. How about an add-in that lets you create a set of guides -- and then memorize it. You could then recall it, or any other "guide set" you've created, with a click of the mouse?

  3. Commenting: It's been expanded to allow replying to comments and accessing these replies. I can imagine an add-in that would extract all the comments in a presentation and show them to the user in a more organized way than we now have.

  4. Charting: There are some interesting-looking new features here, but as yet they don't appear to be "wired up" yet. The new AddChart2 method seems to be better at producing error messages than charts, but I'm hoping that it and the other new features will enable us to add and manipulate charts without Excel flashing in and out of view as currently happens.

There’s a list of the new goodies for developers here: What's new for PowerPoint 2013 developers, including lots of links to online documentation of new objects, methods and properties; hardly any of these have any useful information yet, but I expect they’ll be fleshed out as the release date gets closer and features are locked in.

Geetesh: What's all this talk about the new Office apps replacing add-ins? Will add-ins continue to work in PowerPoint 2013?

Steve: When Ms. Foley says "...add-ins are passé. Apps are in." she's telling us more about the world Microsoft wants us to move into than the world we'll actually live in, at least for the next version or two of Office. And for PowerPoint users, the story's completely different. PowerPoint 2013 doesn't support the new add-in model Foley writes about. Office apps won't replace "traditional" PowerPoint add-ins just yet.

The story for traditional add-ins promises to have a happy beginning and ending. I've been testing all of my PPTools add-ins in Office 2013 (in the Click To Run version, no less). They all work nicely. In fact, I've updated the installers so anyone can test PPTools add-ins while testing the Office 2013 Preview (and report bugs using the Contact link on every page of PPTools.com).

Naturally, I can't speak for all add-ins, and in fact some of them are almost certain to have issues with the Click To Run version of Office 2013, but Microsoft and the developers will probably sort these out by the time Office 2013 releases.

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