OpenOffice’s presentation view

OpenOffice's presentation view
Currently OpenOffice’s presentation program Impress lacks a presentation view with notes and so on for a second monitor during presentations. But the feature is in active development, and first results are visible.

Microsoft’s PowerPoint and Apple’s Keynote both feature a presentation mode where the projector shows the current slide while the computer monitor shows the current slide, the next slide, the time and important notes. Such a feature is very useful and the lack of it is a serious reason to not consider OpenOffice as an alternative to Apple’s or Microsoft’s solution.

SUN recognized that as a problem and dedicated developer time to it. As a result, the first big problem was already solved in the past: since OOo 2.1 OpenOffice is capable of directing the output of the presentation to specific screens. However, this is only half of it: the presentation view also needs a dedicated interface on the computer screen and also needs to sync both of them with each other. This is addressed in bug 18486. There you can also find the note that SUN actively supports the development of that feature:

I’m happy to announce that sun provides a full time developer to add this issue to AF will develop this feature as a plugin, so it will be either available in 2.3 or you will be able to install it on your 2.3 shortly after it is released.

In contrast to that announcement the feature didn’t appear in OOo 2.3, and no add-on is released yet. But the project wiki page mentions that there is already a working version:

OpenOffice.Org - Presenter-View

Due to the fact that the feature is already working it is likely that the next OOo version contains it. I do however wonder how the tool is implemented using Linux, and if it will work well together with the new RandR. After all, RandR 1.2 was designed – among other things – for such purposes.

Anyway, great to see that this feature will be provided by finally.


14 thoughts on “OpenOffice’s presentation view”

  1. kevincolyer, I saw these snapshots but didn’t had the time to test them.
    But I am *very* interested to hear any report about it. I would also welcome any screenshot or similar things. 🙂

  2. Tested it. It was tricky to install and I did it on Windows as that laptop has dual monitor support. I discovered that you can use it in single monitor mode. What happens is that the normal editing window is replaces with the presenter view and the main window is on top. You can ALT-Tab between them.

    It worked perfectly. You can see transitions on both views too. You can also resize and move the slide views and clock. I will try this out for real on Sunday as it looks perfectly stable to me as I ran through one presentation just now.

    Finally! Well done Sun!

  3. Hi, we use MS PowerPoint for our church presentations as well. Based on screenshots and specification ( we would still miss possibility to see more than one slide ahead. I need to wait till display of multiple (pre/post) slides would be implemented also in OOo. But anyway I think we’re getting one step closer to OOo.

    One more thing I would mention here is that we need really fast text search in presentation with over 1000 slides. Does anyone have any hint for this in OOo? Because in Powerpoint it works OK for us.

  4. pb: The first thing is something you should add as a wish to the OOo bugzilla. Although I have to admit that I cannot really see how the majority of users might find something like that useful and that I’m not sure how you can implement such a feature with a nice design. I saw the PowerPoint (2003) design recently and think that they failed miserably to implement a good design.

    Anyway, about the search thing: it sounds to me like a bug, so if you report it the issue might get solved with the next version 🙂

  5. I have OOo 2.3.1 running under Linux with dualscreen, downloaded the linux version of the presenter oxt. I installed the oxt via the extensions manager, how do I launch the presenter mode now?

  6. Andreas – if I would knew that I would blog about it, be sure about that. If you can figure out how to bring the extension up working on Linux, please post me a message.

  7. You have to download the DEV version of OpenOffice from the same location where you linked the presenter view. In the DEV version, install the presenter view. And then launch a presentation by pressing “F5” and enjoy the presenter view. 🙂

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