Once you've created a PowerPoint presentation, it's time to think about how you will present it. PowerPoint has a few options for making online presentations, but they deal with just a few scenarios. Fortunately, several free third-party products are available to help you achieve the results you're looking for.
PowerPoint 2010's Broadcast feature will do the job if you're presenting to an online audience (up to 50 people) watching in a Web browser during a real-time conference call. They won't even need to have their own copy of PowerPoint. But if the people to whom you're pitching want to view the presentation offline at their leisure, or if you have to set up the presentation so that any number of people can view the slideshow at any time, you'll need something else. I'll show you several methods of accomplishing each of these goals.
Broadcast a Presentation in Real Time
If you want to present online in real time, simply use PowerPoint 2010's built-in Broadcast tool. (Note that you need a Microsoft Live ID to use this feature.) Once you've built the presentation, click File in the top menu bar and then choose Save & Send. Next, select Broadcast Slide Show (in the middle column of options) and then click the Broadcast Slide Show button (it's the only button in the third column). When the Broadcast Slide Show dialog box appears, click Start Broadcast. If you're not already signed in to your Microsoft Live account, you'll see a prompt to sign in. At this point, you need to wait while your presentation uploads to the broadcast service.
Once the upload is complete, you'll see a dialog box containing a link that your viewers can use to open the slideshow on their own machines. Click Copy Link to put the link on your clipboard, or click Send in Email to distribute it that way (the latter link, however, defaults to opening Outlook, which might not be suitable if you use browser-based email).
You must wait until everyone is prepared for the meeting before you start the presentation. When the audience is ready, click the Start Slide Show button in the Broadcast Slide Show dialog box. The slideshow will display on your screen and on your audience members' screens simultaneously, and you can work through the slideshow one slide at a time knowing that everyone's screens will be in sync. The broadcast stream will not carry audio, so don't bother adding a soundtrack or sound effects to your presentation.
When the presentation is finished, click the End Broadcast button to stop the broadcast and disconnect all viewers from the slideshow (this won't, of course, disconnect them from the independent conference call).
Deliver a Presentation as a Video
If you'd like to convert your slideshow into a video presentation, PowerPoint 2010 can encode it to a .wmv file. Click File > Save & Send, and then select Create a Video (in the middle column). In the right column, you'll see two sets of drop-down menus with options for encoding the video. Click the Computer & HD Displays button to reveal two additional options: Internet & DVD (the best choice for videos that you will share online) and Portable Devices. Once you've made your display choice, click the Recorded Timings and Narrations button and choose the Record Timings and Narrations option to add a soundtrack, if your presentation doesn't already have one.
Progress through your presentation, speaking about each slide as you display it. Click the Next button on the recording toolbar to move to the next slide. Repeat these steps until you've recorded the audio for your entire slideshow. When you reach the last slide, the program returns you to the PowerPoint Backstage area. Click the Create Video button and type a name for the video file, and then wait as PowerPoint encodes the video.
Once it has created your video, you can upload the video file to the Web. Use an online video-streaming service such as Vimeo, and you'll be able to mark the file as either private or accessible to anyone.
Next Page: Share a Presentation via SkyDrive
Share a Presentation via SkyDrive
Anyone using Microsoft's SkyDrive cloud-storage service can upload PowerPoint presentations to the cloud for sharing (with everyone, via the Public folder, or only with those people you have invited). Choose File > Save & Send > Save to Web. As with PowerPoint's Broadcast feature, you need a Windows Live account to take advantage of this feature.
You'll see a display of the folders on your SkyDrive. Click Public if you want to share the presentation with everyone. If you want to share it with a limited number of people, select a shared folder or add one by clicking New. Back in PowerPoint, click Refresh, select the desired folder, and then choose Save As to save the file there.
Once the file has uploaded to your SkyDrive account, log in to your SkyDrive folder, click the presentation, and click Share. Now you can decide whether to send an email message containing a link to the presentation, to post the link to your Facebook or Twitter account, or to obtain a link that you can send to someone via other means.
Embed a Presentation in a Web Page Using Google Docs
At times you may want to publish a presentation that anyone can access, perhaps by embedding it in your website. One way to do this is to upload the presentation to your Google Docs account and publish it to the Web from there.
You need a Google Docs account, of course. Save your PowerPoint presentation as usual, and then sign in to your Google Docs account and click the Upload button (you'll find it represented by an icon on the left side of the page, to the right of the Create button). Choose Files from the pop-out menu, locate your presentation, and upload it. Google Docs will automatically convert the file to its native format. Once the presentation is in Google Docs, open the file in Google Presentations, click the Share button (in the upper-right corner of the interface), and set the visibility options and access levels as you like.
Google Docs offers three visibility options: 'Public on the Web' means that anyone can see the presentation, 'Anyone with the Link' means that only those with whom you've shared the link can see the presentation, and 'Private' means that only you have access to the file. You get four Access levels, too, ranging from Commenters (who can view, comment on, download, and copy the presentation, but can't delete it or change its sharing settings) to Owners (who have complete control over the presentation).
Deliver Presentations to iPad Users
No iPad version of PowerPoint exists currently, but you do have a way to share your PowerPoint presentations with iPad users. Sign up for a free account with SlideShark, and upload your presentation. Your iPad-using audience will need to download and install the free SlideShark app before they open the presentation. SlideShark can also share your PowerPoint presentations via Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or email.