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Archive for October, 2007

Powerpoint – now with drag and drop!

I actually wrote this post ages ago but didn’t publish it – because I couldn’t quite get the drag & drop to work properly on the IWB. But now I think I’ve cracked it. On screen you click to pick up the object, move it by moving the mouse & then click again to drop it in the required place. On the IWB you tap once to pick up the object, which is now attached to your finger, move it with your finger, then tap twice to drop it.

So here’s the original post below.

We all know how useful a tool PowerPoint is for teaching purposes – indeed, perhaps we over-use it. Death by PowerPoint and all that. Mind you, in skilled hands it is an incredibly versatile program. Just look at this, for example! Makes you feel a bit inadequate, really. But one thing always seemed to be missing, and that was the ability to drag objects or text around the screen using the mouse.

Like you can with Smart notebook presentations. The snag with those, however, is that they lack all the other functionality that PowerPoint possesses, plus they are currently not fully supported by Moodle, so you can’t put them there for your or students’ use. So I was very interested to find a template that finally offers drag and drop in Powerpoint. I edited it a bit to get rid of some annoying quirks, and think it now works fine. The instructions on how to perform this trick are on the opening slide of the template, so I won’t bore you here with the details, but – as you will see – it’s really quite easy.

Just a couple of tips before you begin. First, to make sure you can open the template, check that your macro security level is set to medium. To do this, open up Powerpoint, go to Tools in the top toolbar menu and click on Options.

On the menu screen select the Security tab, click on Macro Security and make sure the security level is set to Medium.

That allows you to open the template with its embedded drag and drop macro. The key things you need to know are on the opening slide. A further tip to speed things up is, if you are creating a number of similar objects, is to set up the first one with the desired styles, fonts, fills etc plus the macro, then copy & paste as many clones as you need, so it’s only a question of changing bits of text.

Oh, maybe one more thing, as Columbo used to say. When you have created and saved your wonderful drag and drop presentation, it’s probably sensible to make it Read Only, for reasons that will become obvious. To do this, view the file name in its folder, right click on it and select Properties, then in the menu box check Read Only, followed by Apply then OK.

Sorry all that seemed so long-winded, but it will be worth it! I have linked the drag and drop template here. And a rough trial example here, in best Blue Peter style. Best to save them, not open them from here, then open them in Powerpoint. To use the example, make sure you view it as a show. Hope the links work ok. If they don’t, please ask. If they do, have fun.