Last October, I explored new presentation tools. I was intrigued by the presentation as code idea, where you craft your presentation in text form, and the actual slides are generated for you. I started experimenting with Obsidian’s advanced slides plugin and with iA Presenter, a brand new tool from Information Architects..
This was all before the advent of generative artificial intelligence, changing many productivity and business tools.
Here’s a quick update on my experiment with iA Presenter.
After several iterations, the tool was officially released in 2023. I ended up buying a license to it, as it had served me well. I am able to create and evolve a good looking presentation in no time from a markdown text file. Being able to add a background image per slide was a great improvement.
Overall, you need to be willing to let iA Presenter do the layout. You give up control for a different and faster creation process. You can not add text, images or diagrams as you want. I ended up creating diagrams outside of the tool using a variety of tools. (There are even tools that create flowcharts from text file if you want to be extreme in your use of Markdown.)
Initially I linked to images by URL. Yet, I found that I had more options when I added the images to the tool. This increases the presentation directory size. When generating images using artificial intelligence with Dall-E, downloading and importing is the only way. I wish there was the ability to specify a common image directory, in addition to having it local to each presentation.
As my teammates do not have the tool, I have not been succesful with a collaborative creation process. I had shared the Markdown file in git in the hopes folks would edit the presentation in the source text format. That has not worked out. It requires a change of religion for many. I also share a draft presentation in PDF format for feedback. However, that’s been cumbersome for my colleagues.
Although iA added Export to PowerPoint, I haven’t used it. I imagine this will become more useful when folks will want to “borrow” slides to embed in their own presentations.