Advance Your Presentation with Your Phone

Advance Your Presentation with Your Phone

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Posted by Rob Knies

Office Remote logo 

Making a business presentation can be daunting. Interaction with the audience might require you to change the flow of your presentation by jumping to a different section in your PowerPoint presentation. Or you might want to show supporting evidence in an Excel or Word document. Either you’ve faced these challenges or you’ve seen somebody else address them, but you know the drill.

With Office Remote, a collaboration between Microsoft Research and the Microsoft Office engineering team, you can manage such modern presentation flows from the palm of your hand.

“Office Remote turns your phone into a smart remote that interacts with Microsoft Office on your PC,” says Bert Van Hoof, an Office group program manager. “The app lets you control Word, Excel, and PowerPoint from across the room so you can walk around freely during presentations.”

This all can be yours, starting Nov. 18, when the app becomes available for download from the Windows Phone Store. All you need is a Windows Phone 8 device, Office 2013 (all versions except Office 2013 RT), a Bluetooth-enabled PC, and the installation of a desktop add-in for Office Remote on your PC, available on the download site. Once thus equipped, all you need for a flawless presentation is to open the Office document you want to project, pick up your phone, and begin your pitch.

“With Office Remote,” Van Hoof adds, “you can start your PowerPoint presentation, advance the slides, see your speaker notes, and control an on-screen laser pointer with a touch of your finger—all from your phone. You can also navigate between Excel worksheets and graphs, and control data slicers from the palm of your hand. And you can scroll through a Word document or quickly jump to specific sections or comments.”

All this is a result of an ongoing collaboration between Office and Microsoft Research intended to enable more natural, seamless interaction across multiple screens and devices to help people create and communicate content more effectively.

Darren Edge of Microsoft Research explains.

“We want to make sure that we continue to create tools that deliver the best possible experiences to presenters and audiences,” he says. “It is quite amazing how many people all over the world rely on PowerPoint to add memorable, visual impact to their presentations—and how many of these presentations are delivered in meeting rooms, classrooms, ballrooms, and boardrooms every day.

“The world is constantly evolving, though, and presentations need to evolve with it. We are building partnerships between Microsoft Research and Microsoft Office that will help bring innovations to products now and into the future. Office Remote is a great example of this: It brings together your large display, PC, and mobile device using services that we can continuously improve over time with the latest research and design concepts.”

Indeed, the app, operated via convenient, touch-based control, takes full advantage of existing projectors, large-screen televisions, and Lync-meeting connections. Your Windows devices talk to each other to make things easier for you. As a result, you can show what you want when you want.

In addition, these intelligently connected devices enable you to present one experience on your PC while simultaneously controlling what you’re presenting from your phone.

Van Hoof mentioned the highlights of the Office Remote capabilities above, but those are not the only scenarios the app enables. Consider:

  • PowerPoint: Large, easily accessible buttons on the phone enable you to start a presentation, advance slides forward or backward, view thumbnails and jump to a particular slide, access speaker cues while viewing the presentation time and the progress of slides, and deliver accurate, non-shaky direction with the on-screen laser pointer.
  • Excel: Simple gestures enable jumping not just between spreadsheets and graphs, but also among any named objects. Spreadsheets can be changed with a mere finger swipe, and navigation is available through rows or columns. In addition, you can use PivotTables or filters and change zoom levels, all with an Office Remote-equipped phone.
  • Word: Zoom control is available in this application, as well, and Word docs can be scrolled by screen or by line.

The research component of this project, by Edge and John Ransier, technical program manager, enables deeper understanding of real-world presentation practices. Such work fits squarely into Edge’s research vision.

“My research is all about high-value, long-term activities, such as language learning and presenting to an audience,” he says. “I start by choosing an activity that people really care about, then do all I can to discover ways of transforming that activity for the better. This involves broad investigations of current practices and the problems that people encounter, followed by many cycles of design and prototyping.

“Then it is time to ask the difficult question: Does it actually make a difference? At Microsoft Research, we have the additional incentive that concepts making a difference in our user studies have the opportunity to be incorporated into our next generation of products, making an even greater impact on the world at large.”

Office Remote represents just the first deep exploration in the productivity space into the realm of what Bill Buxton of Microsoft Research refers to as a “diverse society of devices,” where you use not only the right device for the task at hand, but, potentially, also use multiple devices together to make it easier to achieve your goals.

With the app ready for download, now it’s your turn to refine the process. Users can provide feedback on the website, which also includes a forum to provide answers to users’ questions. Let your voice be heard, and help make the presentation process better than ever.

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  • No support for Office 2013 RT! I would hope this is only temporary. If not, you all need to get your act together and decide what to do about Windows RT. I already got burned being an early adopter of Windows Phone 7 but I made peace with that fact that the jump to Windows Phone 8 was enough to eat the cost. Then I jumped on the Surface RT. This is a good way to alienate loyal customers.

  • Is this WP8 app available in Canada?  When I try to install it says not available in my region.

  • wow, this would be awesome, but i have a surface rt :(

  • The link to the "website" for user forums is currently pointing to the Windows Phone Marketplace.

    This is a cool and fresh idea!!!  The only problem I see so far is that when connected to a device that has two monitors (in Extend mode, and PowerPoint is in Presenter Kiosk Mode) and each screen has it's own scaling level (under Control Panel -> Appearance and Personalization -> Display, the laser pointer is quite off.  If that can be fixed, that would be awesome!!!

  • took 1 minute to set it up.  i will be using this very soon for powerpoints!

  • Andriod please!

  • "Come and buy Surface RT and you get included MS Office".  'Hey we have this new feature called office remote".  "You know that product we wanted you to buy?  It can't use it".

    MS, you are so brainless at times.  I don't care what the reasons were, but you should not have released this until it was available for every version. The tech blogs are running away with this already.....

  • Tried it - not too awful to setup, but it didn't work once installed. Seemed to sort of work, but advancing slides didn't work; selecting slide 9 from the slide picker didn't work....

  • Only available in the US? or for certain devices. No access from App Store in Canada on Nokia 920.

  • Available in Canada on Nokia 920?

  • Kudos for the app, but no Office RT 2013 support is extremely disappointing.

    I'm a big fan of the Surface 2 but if Microsoft is intent on treating it as crap it might as well admit it and save loyal consumers trouble.

    It's just like OneNote 2013 audio & video recording capabilities: not working on RT.

    Please start working on all over RT support or do not market RT as having Office 2013 as it's false advertising. Office 2013 Crap® Edition would be more telling.

  • Sounds and looks great, but...

    Why is it not available in other stores than EN-US? Checking my DE-CH store (Switzerland) does not allow to install the app and I have heard other people from different marketplaces complaining... please enable this app for other regions as well! Thank you!

  • Tried installing, but it says that Office 2013 is not detected on my system, which is surely installed... Dutch language, so maybe that's the issue?

  • Great to see it on Windows Phone first, which is unusual. Funny thing, when will it be available on iOS and Android?

  • Installed on a Lumia 925, and installed the office addin on a Windows 8.1 pro 64 bits with Office 64 bits. The option to turn on Office Remote does not work on the PC. The menu does not change to "turn off". I have Bluetooth enabled on both devices and paired is done. Any tips?