or, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk



Reference Question of the Week – 3/1/15

   March 7th, 2015

powerpoint-printanimationsThis question wasn't all that difficult to answer, but I thought it was interesting in that, it's something I didn't know before and for some reason feel a little bit better for knowing now, kind of way.

A grad student patron had been at one of our computers for awhile, working on a Powerpoint presentation for a group project. She'd asked me a few various questions over the course of maybe an hour, but then came up very frantic.

It turned out one of her team members had added a bunch of animations to their presentation, and now that she was finished adding her part and was playing the slideshow to see how it all looked, none of the animations were working. She said they had worked for her at home, but our computer was not displaying them.

I don't know if Powerpoint has a setting that would block animations - or if there was one, that our computers set that way - but then in the course of talking about it with her Powerpoint suddenly crashed.

She was surprisingly calm about that. I knew she had it saved so there was no danger of losing anything, but usually when something isn't going well, anything out of the ordinary escalates stress quickly. However, she saw the crash as a positive thing - her logic was that Powerpoint on this computer must be glitchy, which would account for both the crash and not playing animations (as opposed to the idea that something was wrong with the presentaiton and that's what caused the crash). Now this is my kind of patron.

Anyway, here comes the reference question:

At this point she said she no longer cared about playing the slideshow, and all she wanted to do was print a copy for her professor to have during their presentation. However, how do you print slides with animations? Good question (and much more reasonable than the patron who asked how to print a YouTube video).

Apparently her team member created one slide where the animation was four different graphs replacing each other (instead of just creating four separate slides). Only one showed at a time during the actual presentation, but looking at it in normal edit mode, all of them were superimposed over top each other.

It seemed logical that Powerpoint would have a "Print Animations" option, so I went online to look for the solution.

From what I gather, Powerpoint 2007 (which we have on our workstations) does not. However, you can still do it, but it's a bit of a manual process. The answer I found was this:

  • click on the "home" tab
  • go to the far right and click on "select" (it is located in the "editing" box on the far right)
  • (for me, a dropdown box opened and I chose Selection Pane)
  • the "visibility panel" will open up showing you the animations for the [slide] you are on
  • just hide each [animation layer] at a time and print them out

See the image above for this Powerpoint pane (or try it yourself!).

Although a manual process, this worked extremely well. You can show or hide whichever layers you want by clicking the little eye icon, so the patron was able to always show the slide title, and toggle off/on each chart and print them pretty quickly.

She was extremely happy with me - although still annoyed at her team member for making all this necessary.




Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,


5 Responses to “Reference Question of the Week – 3/1/15”

  1. Mary Ellen Says:

    I’m relieved that I’m not the only one who has had to tell patrons that no, I cannot print out a YouTube video for you. (More than one patron!!)

  2. The Librarian With No Name Says:

    I’m kind of interested to know what they imagined a printed-out YouTube video would look like. The only thing I can think of is using the snipping tool to capture key frames to create kind of a storyboard. Weird.

  3. Brian Herzog Says:

    @Mary Ellen: I’m actually relieved to know I’m not the only one too.

    @The Librarian: I’m really not entirely sure – my guess is either individual frames or an entire storyboard, but every time I’ve asked someone for clarification, all they say is, “I want to print the video” so I end up saying it can’t be done. Maybe libraries should scrap the idea of 3D printers and get flipbook printers instead.

  4. The Librarian With No Name Says:

    Oh, snap. Looks like the Internet beat us to it. The website under my name links to an automatic bookmarklet for creating YouTube storyboards. Maybe next time you can show them what that looks like and see if it’s what they’re after.

  5. Brian Herzog Says:

    @The Librarian: huh, amazing. Thank you for sharing that – I am really looking forward now to the next time someone asks that, to see if this is indeed what they expect when they say “print a video.”