Summary: Use Presenter ’09 to create a menu for other Presenter modules.
Break up your work
So you have a 500-slide presentation and you are finding that it is a little too large to handle? Why not split your presentation up into smaller modules and link them together with a starter menu? Not only do your modules publish quicker, it also means you can edit just one without touching the rest.
Advantages of using modular approach
You can use PowerPoint and Articulate Presenter to create that menu.
Use all the creative tools of PowerPoint to make just the menu you need. You can use just HTML but why not use Presenter. I have put together some simple examples of menus. To navigate, click on each of the chapter headings in the main menu to see different types of menu, and then click on the Menu button to come back to the main menu. The other menu options are not working in these demos.
How does it work?
In this article we saw how to link from one presentation to another. By placing a web object in a presentation we can elegantly link to another presentation. We place a linking web object in each of the modules which will link to the main menu. In the main menu presentation we have a series of web objects each linking to the modules. The advantage of using this method rather than just launching a presentation via an ordinary hyperlink is two-fold.
- No new windows are opened when you launch another presentation. New windows can be blocked by browsers or Flash.
- You can link back to the main menu easily.
Use relative links rather than absolute links. In other words, don’t specify the exact location of the modules, but their location relative to the menu and to each other. That way we don’t need to worry about the final destination of the presentations. Just so long as they know where they are relative to each other is all that matters.
We begin by assuming that your modules are ready to be linked together by a common module. Let’s organize our directory structure first.
- Create a folder for the files you will need for the project. The folder can be anywhere on your computer. Call it something like My Menu Project.
- Create two more folders within the My Menu Project folder and call one My Project Web Objects and the other My Project Upload Files
- Create folders within the My Project Web Objects folder and call them menu, module1, module2, module3 etc. Create a folder for each module you will have in your presentation.
- Create folders within the My Project Upload Files and call them module1, module2, module3 etc. Create a folder for each module you have in your presentation.
Your directory structure should something like this:
Prepare a web object to link to the main menu from each module.
- Open Notepad.
- Paste the following code into the file:
- Save the file as index.html.
- Place it in the menu folder in the My Project Web Objects folder.
This will be the web object you will need to use in Presenter to link to the main menu. We’ll use it a bit later.
Now let’s do the same for the modules.
Prepare web objects to link to each module from the main menu.
- Open Notepad again.
- Paste the following code:
- Save it as index.html and place it in the module1 folder in the My Project Web Objects Folder.
- Create an index.html file for each module and place it in its corresponding folder in the My Project Web Objects folder.
- Notice the link in the code above to module1? Change the code so that it matches the module you are working on. So if you are linking to module2, make sure that the link in the code says module2/player.html.
In case you are wondering, the code above is the same as the first piece of code for the menu. Just the link has changed.
You should now have a series of folders within the My Project Web Objects folder on your computer, each holding a unique index.html file.
Inserting the web objects into your modules to point to the menu.
The next step is easy. In each module, add a web object at the end and point to the menu folder index.html.
- Create a blank page at the end of the module.
- Go Articulate -> Insert web object
- Do not enter an html address but rather click on the yellow button to the right and navigate to the index.html file in the menu folder you created earlier.
- Click ok.
- Make the web object small or even take it off the slide area so that it won’t actually appear when published.
- Customize the PowerPoint slide with a message like “Please wait while a moment”
You need to do exactly the same for all your modules. Always insert the menu web object index.html file since we want to send the user to the menu.
Inserting the web objects into the Menu to point to the modules
Now let’s prepare the menu.
- Create your menu like in one of the examples.
- For each menu item, create a hyperlink to a new slide. So, if you have four menu items, you will have four new slides each corresponding to your four modules.
- In the first module slide, insert a web object as before but this time point to the module1 folder and insert that index.html.
- Customize the page as before.
- Do the same for the other three pages, but each time point to the corresponding module web object folder that we created earlier. So for the Module 2 slide in your menu, point to the module2 web object folder etc.
- Remove the player controls (Articulate -> Player Templates -> Navigation) and make sure that the slides do not move on automatically in the Slide Properties Manager.
- You probably don’t want to show the outline in your menu, so make it appear in Slide Only view (or No Sidebar) (Articulate -> Player Templates -> Layout)
Publish and prepare the folder to upload
Now that your presentations are all ready, you can publish each of them and place them in the My Menu Project folder we created at the beginning.
- Publish your Menu presentation to the web. (Articulate -> Publish -> WEB) Publish the files into a default area on your computer like for example in My Articulate Documents. This will avoid confusing the published projects and your server project.
- Place all the published files in your My Project Upload Files folder you created earlier..
- Publish Module 1 to the WEB to My Articulate Documents. (Articulate -> Publish -> WEB)
- Copy the player.html, the data folder and the player folder into the module1 folder in the My Project Upload Files folder.
- Publish Module 2 to the web to My Articulate Documents and again copy the published files into the module2 folder in the My Project Upload Files folder.
- Do the same for the remaining modules.
- Finally test your structure by launching player.html at the root level of your folder on your computer and see if the menu works and that you are able to get back to the menu from each of the modules.
- Once you are satisfied that the links are working fine, you are ready to upload the folder to the server.
The final folder structure in the My Project Upload Files will look something like this:
These are the only files that need uploading to a folder on your server.
Creating A Menu For A CD
This method will also work for publishing to CD. There are a few important differences however.
Your directory structure will look like this within the My Project Upload Files folder:
These are the only files and folder you must burn onto your CD ROM.
You will need to unzip it and then launch the presentation via Launch_Presentation.exe. There is no need to burn it to CD ROM (though you can if you want). It should work straight off your computer.
What’s great is that all the modules play within the launch so there are no Flash or browser security issues.