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Presentation Versioning in SlideSource

One of the central tenants of productive presentation collaboration is effective version control. SlideSource.com supports version control of individual slides as well as version control of your presentations. This SlideSource Pointer highlights how to manage your presentation versions.

Working Copies

When you create a presentation and drag slides from your Slide Library to it, what you are doing is creating a working copy of your presentation. This working copy is automatically updated as the individual slides are updated. There are times, however, when you will want to save or lock a specific version of the presentation. When you save a version of your presentation that version will no longer be automatically updated if your slides continue to change. You might save a version to be presented to a specific audience or a version you reviewed at a meeting with senior management.

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Selecting the Version of Slides to Include

2 - leftWhen building a presentation in SlideSource, the default mode is to always include the latest version of the slides in the presentation. By using the default mode, the working copy of your presentation will always show the most recent copy of any slides you have added to it. This means that as you continue to edit the individual slides, your presentation is always up to date.

There are times when you may want to choose a previous version of a slide to include in a presentation instead of the most current version.

To do this, just click on the Slide Version button and choose the version you want to use for the presentation. In the image to the left, version 1 of the slide is selected to be included in the presentation.

This slide will no longer be updated in the Working Copy of this presentation, even if the slide is edited in your Slide Library.

Usually, you will want your Working Copy to always reflect the current version, and then save versions of the presentation as a whole to lock in slide versions.

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The slide and presentation versioning features in SlideSource.com provide many options for keeping you in control as you develop and collaborate on your presentations.

Offline Slide Editing with SlideSource

The “Big Idea” of SlideSource is that every slide counts. Every slide represents an investment of time and energy that should be managed throughout the life cycle of the slide. That is why SlideSource enables you to open your slides to edit them in PowerPoint and tracks the version history of both individual slides and presentations.

There are times when you will want to edit a batch of slides, or perhaps an entire presentation, offline but still want to maintain the version history of each individual slide in your library. SlideSource was designed with exactly this kind of productivity in mind. This post shows you how to edit offline and then update your library with your offline edits.

Offline Editing with SlideSource

SlideSource can only track version histories for slides that have first been uploaded to your library. When a slide is uploaded, a unique identifier is added to the slide metadata which will always be used to identify that slide, even if it is downloaded from the site.

To edit offline, download some slides by using any of the download options. In the example below, I have temporarily added slides to my slide tray and then dragged them to the PPT button (click image to enlarge).

Click for larger image.

Save the downloaded slides to your computer and open them in PowerPoint to edit as you normally would. When you are ready to update your Library slides with the offline edits, just upload the slides back to SlideSource using any of the upload options. After your slides are uploaded, SlideSource will let you know that it recognizes those slides as ones you already have in your library. You will then be able to decide what you want to do with them.

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Select each slide (or all slides with Shift+Click) and then click on one of the available actions. If you choose “Apply Changes,” the existing slides in your library will be updated with these new versions and the previous version will be saved to the history. If you choose “Treat as New,” then the slides you selected will be turned into brand new slides in the library with brand new version histories. Of course, if some slides were included by accident in the file, you can choose to discard those slides. It is okay to include edited slides along with new slides in your upload as SlideSource will let you handle each separately.

Editing offline can make you and your team very productive without giving up the control of your slides that you have come to expect with SlideSource.com.

Only One

email-506pxAs we have discussed in previous posts, the lack of version control can cause no end of heartache for anyone who has ever created presentations in a group setting (which is almost always the setting in which presentations are made). Practicing the “Only One” principle prevents lapses in version control and the waste of time, energy, and effort they cause.

The fully articulated version of this principle is: “There can be only one file that contains the latest, greatest, most current version of a slide (or a specific collection of slides) and all edits must be done directly to that file.”

In practice, this means that the impulse to email out a copy of a PowerPoint file should be suppressed. Email is often the path of least resistance and it can be a hard impulse to resist. Sometimes there is a great deal of pressure from other team members or, even worse, management to do this. Everybody wants complete access to the file all the time.

Emailing slide files for review, approval, production, or any other collaborative activity can be bad. Email is the sworn enemy of version control. It’s very easy to lose track of slides once released into the wild. You can never control how the file is going to be returned or when. You won’t know how many versions will need to be reconciled or which set of changes take precedence over the others. What if someone you sent the file to sends it onto others for review without letting anyone know? It’s also not unusual to receive a copy of a file back after the deadline for changes has passed and the slide or presentation has been finalized. Most importantly there is no way to see what all of the work done by each of the team members actually adds up to, or to gauge what progress has really been made, until all the individual working versions have been laboriously folded back into a single file.

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There is no way to completely avoid the problems that arise when email is your go-to collaboration tool. All you can do is mitigate them with robust communication. Everyone on the team must know…

  • Who the file was sent to
  • Who is doing what
  • Who needs to know if team members send it on to someone not in the original group
  • Who has final responsibility for ensuring all the changes actually get made to the final version
  • How changes need to be indicated
  • The deadline for requesting changes
  • What will happen if the deadline is missed
  • How conflicting change requests should be resolved
  • and so on…

Even with the best proactive communication however,  it is almost impossible to avoid spending extra time, energy, and effort managing all the challenges inherent in this collaboration workflow.

And obviously, as I’m sure many of us have experienced, buy-in on these important measures is never guaranteed. There is almost always at least one team member who tends to “go rogue” and ignore even the most sensible and least restrictive protocols.

The best way to allow both access to the file, as well as to ensure strict version control would be to avoid email altogether. To do this, you must maintain the presentation file in a central location that is easily accessible. Ideally the location would allow users to make changes and manage version control at the same time. A tool like SlideSource.com can help you accomplish this and is the perfect example of a system that simply and easily gives collaborative teams the needed access and control. Instead of multiple copies of a file going out to all team members, all team members come to edit slides in a single file and in a single location. The latest, greatest, most-up-to-date version is always available to the entire team and every version of every slide and presentation is available should it be necessary to roll back.

Stop for a moment before hitting the send button the next time you need to involve a team in working on a presentation file. Consider the hidden costs behind what may seem to be the easiest way to collaborate. Enacting and enforcing the “Only One” principle will make the collaborative creation of a presentation more efficient than email can ever hope to be.

Sharing Presentations in SlideSource

The ability to quickly share slides or presentations in your library is a central feature of SlideSource.com. This post dives into a little more detail on sharing than we have before. We will focus specifically on how to turn sharing on for a specific presentation or version of a presentation. The presentation sharing feature enables you to quickly send a link to anyone so they can view or download your presentations, even if they don’t have an account with SlideSource.com.

Begin by navigating to a presentation you want to share. You can share the current working copy of your presentation, or select a specific version of the presentation you have previously saved.

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The red text to the right of the Actions button tells you that the presentation is not currently shared. Now click on the Share button. The green box shows you that sharing is now on, and a link is now available for you to copy and distribute.

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The sharing link leads to SlideSource.com’s unique presentation sharing screen which can be viewed in any browser. At the sharing screen viewers can advance through the slides, view them in slide sorter mode and download individuals slides or the whole presentation.

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Sharing your slides and presentations has never been easier or faster.

Countdown to Launch Day 3: It’s a beautiful slide! Take credit for it.

countdown-day-3-506pxIn the past, your beautiful slide was buried in a deck called “End of Month Boring Slides.” Now, with SlideSource.com, everyone knows it’s your masterpiece because the slide properties say so. It’s right there for all to see.

All properties are tracked at the slide level in SlideSource.com.  You can also add custom Tags to make your slides even easier to find, and even add comments about slides to inform others about them.

And, when it is time to roll your beauties out, you can find exactly what you need, when you need it. Search your Library by slide owner, by the actual content of your slides or by the tags you have attached to them. You’ve worked hard on your slides. Now make every one of them count, with SlideSource.com

SlideSource.com is launching on January 13th! It’s a powerful, slide and presentation library that is intuitive and easy to use. Never lose a slide or version again. With SlideSource.com you and your team will have all of your slides and presentations in a single secure place that’s accessible anywhere at any time.