q's abt Powerpoint, from a tech writer?

Subject: q's abt Powerpoint, from a tech writer?
From: "Hart, Geoff" <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 5 Dec 2003 15:57:49 -0500

James Jones reports: <<A couple of years ago I tried to create a portfolio
with Powerpoint but the file got corrupted. A computer engineer friend said
that this happens sometimes, and there's nothing that can be done.>>

He's probably right. You can always try opening it in a newer version of
Powerpoint, but if the file is well and truly trashed, it's probably gone
for good. I've seen utilities that claim to recover damaged PowerPoint files
(e.g., http://www.officerecovery.com/powerpoint/index.htm) but have no
direct experience with them, so I can't tell you whether it'll work. In any
event, there's a free demo here, and a Web search on "utility recover
corrupted PowerPoint files" will turn up other options. You have nothing to
lose by trying--just make a backup of the original file before you start.
<<I'm creating an online portfolio (of tech writing, translation,
cartooning, and illustration). When I'm done the Powerpoint 2002 file will
have 25 to 30 slides. What do I want to do that I don't know about yet?>>

Avoid PowerPoint? No, seriously. If you want maximum portability, maximum
resistance to file corruption, and maximum "this guy understands a trendy
modern technology" (Web pages), create it in HTML instead. Develop a simple
HTML table of contents that demonstrates how well you understand the
presentation of online information (good navigation, proper grouping of
related topics, skilled use of white space, etc.), then link from it to the
things that you want to show off (jpg's, screen shots, PDFs... even <gasp>
Powerpoint presentations).
<<Set the file so that it cannot be written to anymore when I'm ready to
start using it as a portfolio>>

Can't be done. A sufficiently determined user will always find a way to
trash a file. Trust me on this one. <g>
<<Use Notes pages as additional space for samples,>>

The advantage of HTML is that you can use popups and secondary windows to
explain what's so great about each item in your portfolio. Try doing that in
PowerPoint! <g>
<<Use Powerpoint Viewer (or the Pack and Go Wizard) so that people who don't
have Powerpoint on their machines can still view it.>>

Want to bet that it'll work on my Mac? On John's Unix machine? I wouldn't.
PP files aren't nearly as portable as you'd hope, and using a Windows .exe
file tells the potential client or employer that you don't recognize the
existence of other platforms. Not necessarily a good message to send.
<<It seems like I remember something on this list (or maybe it was somewhere
else) about ht use Powerpoint as a portfolio.>>
It can certainly be done, but it's not the best tool for the job.

--Geoff Hart, ghart -at- [delete]videotron -dot- ca
Forest Engineering Research Institute of Canada
580 boul. St-Jean
Pointe-Claire, Que., H9R 3J9 Canada

"I have always wished that my computer would be as easy to use as my
telephone. My wish has come true. I no longer know how to use my
telephone."--Bjarne Stroustrup (originator of C++ programming language)



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