Showing PowerPoint on an iPad

By on Jun 14, 2012

I was recently asked to give a short presentation on the use of mobile technologies in an agency at a meeting of the Nashville Insurance Professionals. When I arrived, I found out that I would not have a projector available. Instead of relying on my laptop, I decided to use my iPad with a new app called SlideShark from Brainshark.

SlideShark is a free PowerPoint viewing app that allows you to view and share PowerPoint slides using an iPad. It could be a very interesting tool for producers who want to use PowerPoint presentations with prospects and clients without having to lug around an LCD projector and a laptop. It reminds me of the modern version of the old flip chart presentations. (Yes, I am that old!)

SlideShark screenshot

The app works in tandem with the SlideShark web service. Like the iPad app, sign-up is free. The free version provides 100MB of storage, but you can upgrade your account to receive additional online storage space: $49 a year gets you 500MB, while 1GB costs $98 annually. Agencies with multiple users may want to consider SlideShark’s team option, which offers 5GB total of storage for $149 per person per year.

PowerPoint file sizes will vary, of course, but I uploaded three different moderately sized presentations to SlideShark and still only used about 25MB of my allotted 100MB. If you plan on uploading a lot of different presentations, you can pay for the additional storage space — or be very aggressive about deleting presentations after you’re finished with them.

Getting PowerPoint presentations into SlideShark is very easy. You upload presentations through the SlideShark website and then download them to the iPad app for offline use. You can also add presentations via your iPad’s Mail app by tapping and holding on the attached file and selecting Open in SlideShark from the pop-up menu. SlideShark also offers support for DropBox, GoodReader, and Box.

SlideShark’s strength is its ability to play PowerPoint presentations as a slideshow. The app gives you the ability to auto-play presentations, using a slider to set the amount of time before automatically moving to the next slide. This could be good for self-running trade show presentations. You can also manually control your presentation with an intuitive series of swipes (leftward to advance, rightward to go back, etc.).

SlideShark doesn’t support every PowerPoint feature. According to the app’s FAQ, hyperlinks on slides, embedded videos or animated gifs, slide transitions, and triggers won’t work on the iPad, but playback is smooth enough to get your point across. And some PowerPoint animations, like bullet points revealing themselves, work just fine.

If you have an iPad 2 or third-generation model, even better. You can use Apple’s Digital AV Adapter or VGA Adapter to connect an LCD projector and take advantage of mirroring to display your presentation on a large screen. The latest version also has built-in support for AirPlay for wireless connection to a supported device.

While SlideShark’s main purpose is to display PowerPoint presentations on your iPad, the app also offers a few modest editing tools. You can re-order your slides right on your iPad. You can also search for presentations, tag favorites, and delete files from your online account. The app also supports slideshow (.pps and .ppsx) file types.

There’s plenty to like about SlideShark. During the presentation mentioned above, I was able to use my iPad as my “teleprompter” and walk around instead of being tied to a podium. SlideShark allows you to leave your cumbersome laptop at home and turn your iPad into an effective presentation tool.

Start using SlideShark today.

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