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  1. #1
    New Lounger
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    Playing different Powerpoint slideshows different times of day

    Hi Everybody,

    I maintain the slideshows that appear on a public display monitor. I was wondering if there is a way to automate having different Powerpoint slideshows play based on the time of the day.

    The idea goes something like this:
    From 7am to 4pm, display the full long loop version of the Powerpoint slideshow (display full information, news, promos, etc.)
    From 4pm to 7pm, display the commuter version of the Powerpoint slideshow (looping transit and weather information much more frequently in time for the evening commute)
    From 7pm to 7am, display an abbreviated version of the Powerpoint slideshow (with frequent black screens to reduce burnout during the overnight hours, in case the last person leaving neglects to power down the monitor before heading home)

    The computer running the shows is a Windows 7 machine with Powerpoint 2010 installed. I have to use Powerpoint due to special macros that I use in the slideshows (so I can't migrate to Google Docs without some of the slides getting broken, for example).

    I'd greatly appreciate if anybody has third party applications or a solution through Windows 7 native tools to do this automation task.

    Thanks

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  3. #2
    Silver Lounger mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    I wonder if it would be possible to run three instances of Powerpoint Viewer at the same time, thereby keeping three separate tasks running independently of each other. I am suggesting Powerpoint Viewer rather than Powerpoint, so that you don't have to purchase three Powerpoint licenses. I'm not sure that Powerpoint Viewer would be capable enough, though, to handle everything you would need for it to do in this scenario, so you might have to go with the full Powerpoint program.

    Or, perhaps you could run three virtual machines on one computer, each running its own copy of Powerpoint or Powerpoint Viewer. This would, of course, necessitate that you install three copies of your OS, one for each virtual machine, which means the purchase of three additional Windows licenses.

    Or maybe you could get three separate computers, each one handing one of the slideshows.

  4. #3
    Silver Lounger mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    If you are concerned about an image burning in on your monitor, I don't think you need to worry about that, since the image will keep changing.

  5. #4
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    OX,

    Welcome to the lounge as a new poster!

    You could easily accomplish this with Task Scheduler
    You'll need one task to start PP for each of the slide shows (passing the show file as an argument to PP).
    Set the Trigger to the desired time and then set the task to End after X hours. Done.

    Ah, one small problem there isn't an option to stop after 9 hours. So you'll have to break that one down into 2 tasks stopping one after 8 hours and then start the same show to stop after 1 hour. You'll see what I mean when you try to set it up.

    Should take more than about 10 minutes to set up the whole thing. HTH
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

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  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrjimphelps View Post
    If you are concerned about an image burning in on your monitor, I don't think you need to worry about that, since the image will keep changing.
    That's what I thought at first too, but apparently the design I used had too many similar colors for too long of a time. Burn spots at a few areas of the screen now.

    Didn't help that my group got a consumer grade LCD monitor using funds from a technology grant instead of commercial grade (which I surmise might handle extended usage better) - but they didn't check with me first. They just surprised me with it one day.

    Quote Originally Posted by RetiredGeek View Post
    OX,

    Welcome to the lounge as a new poster!

    You could easily accomplish this with Task Scheduler
    You'll need one task to start PP for each of the slide shows (passing the show file as an argument to PP).
    Set the Trigger to the desired time and then set the task to End after X hours. Done.

    Ah, one small problem there isn't an option to stop after 9 hours. So you'll have to break that one down into 2 tasks stopping one after 8 hours and then start the same show to stop after 1 hour. You'll see what I mean when you try to set it up.

    Should take more than about 10 minutes to set up the whole thing. HTH
    Thanks RetiredGeek. Haven't quite taken advantage of the early sign-up offer Windows Secrets made for paid subscribers when Woody's Lounge was passed over to WS. Took my sweet time signing up. Seems like better late than never!

    For some reason, command line switches never came into my head until you replied. (I suppose somewhat ironic since I grew up on a DOS PC and worked with the Bourne Shell at some point in my life). I will look into Task Scheduler - which I haven't used before, but as long as I know the appropriate switches for Powerpoint, I think it should do the trick. The 8 hour limitation is not a major problem for me.

  7. #6
    Lounger Wiley's Avatar
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    in reference to people forgetting to turn off the PCs, i use a free analog clock program called ClocX.
    everybody is out of here at 5pm. i've set the clocks to turn off the PCs at 5:05pm.
    check it out at www.clocx.net

    right click on the clock and click on alarms
    i have several setup and you can even associate wav files with alarms
    Last edited by Wiley; 2013-11-07 at 11:20. Reason: additional info

  8. #7
    New Lounger
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    ClocX Too

    FWIW, I use ClocX too, for simple alarms, and, because its clock has a transparency setting, I use it as an on-screen, on-top, click-through, clock - that isn't really there.
    I set it to a certain faintness that makes it virtually invisible. It 'responds' only when I think to recognise it.
    It therefore has a 'mind switch' - cybernetics: an inanimate object that responds to thought.
    Last edited by Phred_E; 2013-11-14 at 10:18.

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