Tag Archives: timer

powerpoint timer

Easy PowerPoint Timer

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powerpoint timerPowerPoint presentations often fail to be delivered well, due to presenters exceeding their time spent on single slides or simply. If you spend more than 5 min on a single slide you are at high risk of boring your audience to death (“death by slide”). Focusing on keeping your pace is not always an easy task, and I see that it’s good to estimate the amount of time you should spend on each slide to keep a balanced pace. How much time should I spend on this slide? Less than 1 min will often seem to fast for you audience, whereas, more than 5 min may bore your audience. It’s important to keep the momentum going. But enough of drifting into the topic of how to make proper PowerPoint presentations. Let’s focus on the topic of today’s post – an easy PowerPoint Timer that you don’t need to install.

When looking for an easy way to add a PowerPoint Timer to my deck it seemed there is a lack of any free and easy solutions. Most potentially convenient ones, like the animated progress bar and animated clock, failed as being constrained to a 1 min interval (animations are constrained to 1 min in PowerPoint).

The Easy PowerPoint Timer Example

Below a simple solution the I tend to use when needing to time my slides:

PowerPoint Timer Example
PowerPoint Timer Example

Notice the timer in the lower right hand corner? The timer will start running whenever you want – when entering the slide, on-click etc. Just like any other animation. See below how it works.
PowerPoint Timer - The Timer control
PowerPoint Timer Example

How is done? It’s a simple MP4 video embedded inside the slide!. No need of installing any add-ins, third party software or even macros!

How to use the PowerPoint Timer?

Most of my slides have a duration from 1:00-5:00 min, however, just in case I have prepared for myself a pack of 7 intervals fro;m 1:00-7:00 min. There is no real sense in timing you slides with a lower level of granularity e.g. 5:30. Just follow the steps below to easily set up your timer:

Download a ZIP with MP4 videos of timers and unzip the file

Copy intervals to slides

Depending on your desired interval copy one of the MP4 intervals to your slide.

Set the animations

Click on the Timer video and go to Animations. Next set the Animation settings as shown below to initiate the timer on entering the slide:

Timer video settings
Timer video settings

That’s it!

To save time consider preparing a slide with all desired intervals set with their animation settings. Then simply copy paste them into your final deck.

How to make your own PowerPoint Timer

As this is no rocket science and the timers are simply videos, you can consider making your own custom timers. Here is a few tips how I did mine.

Find a Timer application to record

First you need to find an timer which you can record. In this post I used the following online app:
http://www.online-stopwatch.com/countdown-timer/

However, you may considering using other timers e.g.:

Install a screen recording app

To be able to record your timer you need an application to record you screen – or in this case a section of the browser window. I personally can recommend the free version of ActivePresenter:
http://atomisystems.com/activepresenter/free-edition/

The plus side is that ActivePresenter comes at no charge and has no hidden catches like ads or the need of registering on websites etc. It is also quite easy to learn.

vba with vbscript

Schedule VBA Macros to run periodically via VBscript

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Some time ago I posted an article on how to run an Excel VBA Macro using VBscript and cmd to save time or to be able to run multiple Macros across a number of Excel files without actually needing to open them. Well, I decided to extend this example to allow periodic execution of Excel Macros e.g. in case your macros have to carry out some periodic tasks like load data into a database etc.

How to schedule VBA Macros to run automatically?

The solution is quite similar to the one posted on my previous article with one minor modification…

What we need to do is execute our VBA Macro (can be Excel, Access etc.) from a VBScript script file. To make sure it runs automatically we need to schedule it to run from startup by placing it in the Windows Startup folder. Follow the steps below to setup the script.

Create VBScript to run Excel periodically

First create an empty *.vbs file and input the following code snippet:

RunMacro
Sub RunMacro() 
  dim xl,path,xlBook
  path = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject").GetAbsolutePathName(".")
  Set xl = CreateObject("Excel.application")
  Set xlBook = xl.Workbooks.Open(path & "\Book1.xlsm", 0, True)      
  xl.Application.Visible = False
  xl.DisplayAlerts = False     
  xl.Application.run "Book1.xlsm!Module.MyMacro"
  xl.ActiveWindow.close
  Set xlBook = Nothing
  xl.Quit 
  Set xl = Nothing
  WScript.Sleep(5000)'New line: Sleep for 5 seconds
  RunMacro'New line: Run the Macro again
End Sub 

Replace the highlighted rows with your Workbook name and VBA Macro name.

What does the VBScript do?
So basically what it does is:

  1. Executes the Module.MyMacro VBA Macro in Workbook Book1.xlsm which is situated in the same folder
  2. Sleeps for 5 seconds
  3. Repeat

Add the VBScript to Startup

Schedule VBA: Add VBScript to Startup folder
Add VBScript to Startup folder
To make sure the Macro will run periodically and not require any manual touch, you may want to add it to your Startup folder. This will ensure that the script will start running as soon as you turn on your workstation and will stop as soon as you close.

Turn Off the periodic VBA macro

Schedule VBA: Turn off VBA MacroWhat if you want to turn the script at any moment in time? You might as well turn on the Windows Task Manager. There is an easier way. Just create the following *.bat file and run it when you want to close the periodic script:

taskkill /F /IM wscript.exe

Now you can create Excel Macros and use them to execute certain tasks at intervals automatically!

vba application ontime

Excel VBA Application OnTime – Scheduling VBA Procedures

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One of the many useful features of Excel and other MS Office applications, of which little users know of is the VBA OnTime event. It allows you to execute any Excel VBA procedure after the specified amount of time (delay). Using it recursively allows you to create a recurring / repeating event which lets you schedule periodic VBA Macros to run when working on Excel Workbooks.

Want to save your Excel file as a new version automatically? Read my post on versioning Excel files using VBA

Application OnTime Syntax

The syntax of the VBA Application OnTime Event:

Parameters

EarliestTime
The time (Date variable) when the Procedure is to be executed

Procedure
A string with the name of the Procedure which is to be executed

LatestTime
Optional. This is the latest time when the Procedure should be executed. This allows Excel for some flexibility when prioritizing Procedure execution together with other Excel (or other MS Office applications) Events such as Cut, Copy or Find. It makes sense to use this variable when your user is working on the file, so as not to interrupt any activities

Schedule
Optional. Defaults to True. If True schedules a new OnTime procedure. If False clears a previously set procedure. Useful when you want to cancel a previously scheduled Procedure

Schedule a Procedure

The code below will schedule the HelloWorld Sub to run in 1 seconds.

Wait 1 second and expect a Message Box to open with the message “Hello World!”.

Cancelling Application OnTime

You can also use the Application OnTime function to Cancel Scheduled Procedures.

Example 1: Automatic worksheet recalculate using OnTime

The Timer can come in handy when we need to refresh our worksheet(s) periodically and do not want to do this manually. See the example below:

Let us add this procedure in any VBA module within the workbook:

Next add this to the Workbook in the “Microsoft Excel Objects” section of the VBA project:

That is it! Once you open the workbook the whole workbook will be recalculated every 10 seconds. In order to stop it simply close the workbook or debug the Refresh procedure.

Example 2: Automatic workbook versioning using OnTime

Working on a large Excel solution and afraid that you workbook will crash? Want to have a separate backup copy of your file every now and then. Why not use automatic file versioning then?

Add this code to any VBA module:

Next replace the Refresh function with this:

Voila! Your workbook will be saved as a new version every 10 minutes. Great isn’t? There are probably a ton of ways you can further tweak this to work better e.g. add a pop-up asking to confirm the creation of the next version etc.

Hope that this will prove useful to you! Let me know!