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In the next couple of weeks, I'll be giving a lot of presentations using PowerPoint on Windows. Problem is, a lot of the data I want to cover doesn't belong in a PowerPoint slide. I'll be doing product demos, showing web pages, that kind of stuff. While I could record it as a video, it won't feel right, and it won't demo as well.

What I want to do is to achieve the look that Steve Jobs has during Apple keynotes, where he smoothly fades from the presentation to a demo screen and back. Jobs does this by having two different laptops and a video mux. I don't have that luxury: I've just got a single laptop.

Is there any application that allows you to smoothly fade out a window (in this case, PowerPoint) to achieve a similar effect? Or perhaps some hidden feature inside PowerPoint that covers this scenario? If not, is there some equivalent strategy that will have the same effect?

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3 Answers

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I've often wondered about the best way of doing this and so far I've found virtual desktops are probably the best way to go. I've used Dexpot which has plenty of customiseable options, supporting up to 20 virtual desktops. Have a prowerpoint on one desktop, fullscreen website on another, video in another. All it takes is a ctrl and 1 keystroke to switch to desktop 1, ctrl and 2 to switch to 2, and so on. It cuts in stright away, I don't know if there is an option to fade per se, but there are some trainsitions to play with.

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If you only need to show slides and demo webapps you might be able to use Compiz with a Linux LiveCD (e.g. a recent Ubuntu). Compiz' Application Switcher should already be pretty close to what you want.

During the presentation I would then use one full screen program showing your PDF slides, and another one running your browser. You can prepare different pages in tabs and switch your browser to fullscreen hiding any tab bar.

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You may want to look at Vitruawin. I'm not sure if they have the smooth transitions though. It tries to implement the linux multiple-desktop idea on windows.

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Virtuawin is nice (use it myself), but it cannot do any kind of transition effect when changing desktops. The old windows just go away, and the new ones appear. –  sleske Oct 14 '10 at 8:19
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