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Best Practice

Using PowerPoint Addins

When is is okay to add capabilities to PowerPoint? Many large companies prohibit addins of any kind because it makes the application nonstandard; and large-company IT departments work more efficiently with standardized computers. Another issue is whether you're bringing something into your computer that may actually harm your functionality. Nonreputable addin sources can introduce viruses and worse into computers via addins.

The rule of thumb that we follow is to not be on the bleeding edge of any technology, whether it is upgrading to a version x.0 of a software or installing new goodies we run across on the Internet. It's always best to research whatever you're considering installing on your computer.

Given that, addins can make your life in front of a computer much easier. For example, there is a little utility that helps you determine which shape is active in a group of layered objects. It is called Shape Console. It can be very useful and save you time as you format and edit slides that have multiple layers of objects (does not work with PowerPoint 2007 yet). You can check it out at http://skp.mvps.org/sconsole.htm. This site does not ask for a donation for their freeware, so just download it and use. It's always a good practice, however, to reward the efforts of those out there who are creating ways to make your life easier. Try to reward their efforts with a few dollars or whatever they suggest. We want them to keep developing these little utilities and addins.