New Social Share feature in PowerPoint for enhanced interactivity

Lindsay James
Lindsay James
By Lindsay James on 09 November 2015
New Social Share feature in PowerPoint for enhanced interactivity

Microsoft has launched Social Share, a new, free plug-in for PowerPoint which has been developed through the Microsoft Garage.

Using the plug-in, users can share slides and decks to Facebook and Twitter without leaving PowerPoint. They can be posted as images, albums or as videos.

“This could come in pretty handy for anyone who has a presentation – or part of one – they want to share to more people,” explains Athima Chansanchai from Microsoft News Center in a press release.

“PowerPoint has rich editing, animations and photos that people might want to share on social media,” says Om Krishna, a senior software engineer with the Wildfire group in Office, which created Social Share. “We thought PowerPoint would be a good way to start to find a simple way to share content.”

And, you can see comments to shared posts within PowerPoint, too. “This is my favourite part, being able to bring comments and interactivity and show it in the activity pane on the right side,” adds Krishna. “We bring all the interactivity on Facebook and you can see it in PowerPoint, bring it all together in PowerPoint.”

Social Share also automatically uploads document to OneDrive so that users can share a link with their friends.

Social Share started as a hackathon project within the Wildfire group, which engages users after products are shipped. “When I was pitching this idea, I found Office to be a very rich authoring tool, but we wanted to make sharing front and centre,” Krishna says. “If people share, it helps engagement.”

The plug-in streamlines the steps needed for academics and other presenters who want to distribute their presentations and reports more widely to large social networks.

“This is also great for feedback,” says Vidyaraman Sankaranarayanan, a senior program manager also on the Wildfire team. “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.”

Sankaranarayanan says the team got advice from the Garage early on. “It’s been a positive experience,” says Sankaranarayanan, who cites help such as the naming of the plug-in and the addition of User Voice as vital to the development of Social Share. They’ve also been helpful in honing the user experience “so it’s very focused to the task at hand without diversions, and helping us spread the word for greater adoption.”

The Garage has recently released several apps, including Arrow, Twist and Snip. The Garage is dedicated to developing the hacking culture across Microsoft, and is the platform for Microsoft teams and individuals around the world to get cutting-edge apps and projects out to the public.

Releasing this experiment through the Garage gives the team an opportunity to learn what people share in large groups – and how those on social networks respond to those decks and slides.

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