PowerPoint users no longer have to export their slides as images and jump through hoops to share their presentations on social media, thanks to a new add-on released today by Microsoft Garage, the software giant's fast-track consumer app hub.
"A new, free plug-in in PowerPoint developed through the Microsoft Garage is now available—Social Share," said Microsoft spokesperson Athima Chansanchai in a Nov. 5 blog post. "Once it's installed, you can share slides and decks to Facebook and Twitter without leaving PowerPoint. Post them as an image, album or as a video."
Alternately, users can share a link to the PowerPoint-authored content they wish to share. The software automatically uploads a sharable file to OneDrive, Microsoft's cloud storage service.
Releasing the Social Share add-on is the latest move by Microsoft to expand PowerPoint's capabilities and reach. Last year, the company released Office Mix, another free add-on that enables users, particularly educators, to quickly create interactive and sharable lessons, quizzes and training materials.
Now, PowerPoint experts can more easily share their creations with their Facebook friends and Twitter followers.
"PowerPoint has rich editing, animations and photos that people might want to share on social media. We thought PowerPoint would be a good way to start to find a simple way to share content," Om Krishna, a Microsoft Office senior software engineer, is quoted as saying in the post. Krishna is a member of Office's Wildfire group, which created the add-on as part of a hackathon project. Social Share is a two-way street, Krishna added. Reactions on social media are displayed within the PowerPoint UI.
"This is my favorite part, being able to bring comments and interactivity and show it in the activity pane on the right side. We bring all the interactivity on Facebook and you can see it in PowerPoint, bring it all together in PowerPoint," stated Krishna.
Krishna and the rest of the Wildfire team envision the add-on being used by academics and thought leaders to help spread their discoveries and ideas to a bigger audience. Considering Facebook's size, Social Share may help them accomplish just that.
Yesterday, while reporting its third-quarter 2015 earnings, Facebook revealed that it had recently crossed the 1.55 billion-user mark. Social Share's video output option may also prove useful. During a conference call, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said 500 million people were watching 8 billion videos per day on Facebook.
Social Share can also be used to solicit feedback or add a level of social media-driven interactivity to live conferences and events, according to Vidyaraman Sankaranarayanan, a senior program manager in Microsoft Office's Wildfire group. "If you're in a conference, you could post your PowerPoint to Twitter and present to an audience and then you could look up the comments in the social activity pane and address them during the Q&A part of the session," he stated.