• Nikki Ault

PowerPoint for Digital Signage

They are popping up everywhere, and they are really cool. The moving images pulling you in, enticing you to actually pay attention to them.

Providing you entertainment, information, selling you, coaxing you, directing you, and filling your senses.

Way more eye-catching than the non-moving text and still images offered by traditional signage. We are talking about Digital Signage of course!

Using digital signage is becoming not only the mainstream thing to do, but it can provide a higher level of effectiveness for getting your message across.

This digital signage thing sounds great, but I fear it just costs so much. Can I not just create a PowerPoint slideshow and run it on a continuous loop to create the same effect? Is using PowerPoint for digital signage a good idea?

Well let's take a look at that.

The Pluses of PowerPoint

PowerPoint is a highly effective presentation software. You can use graphic images, text, and even embed videos into slides to create a presentation or show to communicate your message.

It is a fairly inexpensive software. The software typically comes as part of the Microsoft Office package for home or business. Creating content alone doesn't require any additional fees or hardware.

Many users are familiar with PowerPoint. PowerPoint is a commonly-used software in schools, universities, and the workplace. Users find it quite simple to navigate and create content.

Creating content is easy. Through the use of preset templates, adding your own images such as branding, or company-specific photos, and integrating data from other Office software, such as Excel, gives the ability to create content easily and effectively.

Limitations of PowerPoint as Digital Signage

PowerPoint is easily decipherable as PowerPoint. Because of it's familiarity, it can come across as a "cheap" solution to digital signage. Check out our blog, Digital Signage: Cheap vs. Affordable for more information on how to evaluate these options.

RSS Feeds can not be used in PowerPoint. When creating content for digital signage, RSS feeds are often used within the layouts. RSS Feeds are news, weather, sports, traffic, etc. that are updated live and are fed into the content for your digital signage. PowerPoint does not support a live RSS feed integration.

PowerPoint is not a Content Management System (CMS). Content can be created in PowerPoint, as mentioned above, however it is not a CMS, therefore it does not provide the flexibility or ability to be scheduled, or carry unique playlists or multiple zones.

Once content is created, the PowerPoint files, most often, must be converted to be used in a Content Management System. Most Content Management Systems do not support ppt files.

PowerPoint can integrate data from other Office programs, however it is limited in integrating key performance indicators from other programs. Digital signage platforms allow for integration, also known as Data Visualization, of this type of data from many different programs, not just Office, and can be updated live.

How To Use PowerPoint As Digital Signage

Let's take a quick look into how you can set up a PowerPoint slideshow to display your content on your display and how that differs from true digital signage.

Step 1: Create slides in PowerPoint that include all the content and messages you plan to convey to your audience.

Step 2: Click the "slideshow" tab, and select "set up slideshow," click the "Browse at Kiosk (full screen)" button under "show type," then click OK.

Step 3: Save slideshow onto computer that will be connected to the display or save to USB drive that can be used for the computer that is connected to the display, or SmartTV if available.

Step 4: Connect computer to display using an HDMI cable (if not using an HDTV display, you will use a DVI or VGA cord to connect). Select the appropriate source on the display and open the file as it was saved.

Step 5: Press "F5" on the computer and the PowerPoint Slideshow will begin and will continuously loop until you press the "Esc" key.

Content From PowerPoint For Digital Signage

The major difference between the above steps for using PowerPoint for digital signage and those listed in this section, rest in the content management system capabilities. A content management system allows for the customization, scheduling, monitoring, deployment and reporting of content through a digital signage network.

PowerPoint is an effective presentation software, not defined as digital signage software, nor is it a content management system. How do I use content from PowerPoint FOR digital signage instead of AS digital signage?

Step 1: Create content on slides in PowerPoint.

Step 2: Click "save as" and convert slides to an appropriate file type that is supported by your Content Management System (a CMS such as Signagelive).

Step 3: Upload the files to your CMS and schedule the appropriate content to the desired media players that you wish to receive it, within your digital signage network.

Step 4: Content will be downloaded to desired media players and will now play in a loop format.

Step 5: Rinse and repeat as content is updated.

Having a CMS to schedule, monitor, and deploy is the biggest difference between using PowerPoint AS digital signage and using content created in PowerPoint FOR digital signage.

PowerPoint As Digital Signage: And The Verdict Is...

PowerPoint can be an effective choice of software to create content on. Running the content through PowerPoint in a continuous loop, however, may not get the results you desire, or convey your full message to your audience because of its limitations.

If cost is your concern, there are affordable digital signage options to combat those limitations. If ease of use is your concern, training is available on any digital signage hardware and software, or most companies offer content management as a service.

Digital signage can be an effective tool for your company and when done correctly, can add value to your business. If you have been using PowerPoint or have been considering using PowerPoint for your digital signage needs, we would love the opportunity to conduct a free consultation with your company to discuss other possibilities that will ultimately deliver the best results for your brand and your customers.

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