Office Mix now lets PowerPoint users create on the fly

The tool for turning PowerPoints into interactive teaching tools has also added a search engine

Microsoft has refined Office Mix, a new PowerPoint add-on for turning presentations into teaching tools

Microsoft has refined Office Mix, a new PowerPoint add-on for turning presentations into teaching tools

Microsoft wants to deliver a new wave of apps that are intuitive, intelligent, and mobile- and cloud-friendly -- and its latest move is with Office Mix, a PowerPoint add-on aimed at teachers, for recording presentations and making them more interactive.

Office Mix, launched in May, now lets presenters create "mixes" while they are giving their presentations live, by adding a new control panel that contains only the most essential features for building "mixes" without sacrificing the screen real estate for the slides the audience is seeing.

"We've also made it easier to switch the camera on and off, select ink and move through your slides and animations," reads a Microsoft blog post.

OfficeMix now also lets presenters who are recording themselves while creating a "mix" of their PowerPoint to pause and resume the recording "so you can gather your thoughts, and be sure to say what you want, when you want." Another new feature lets presenters "erase" what they've written or drawn on a slide.

Finally, Microsoft has added a search engine to the Office Mix library component which will let users find "mixes" by category, tag, topic and author.

When Microsoft released Office Mix after a private preview that involved extensive teacher feedback, it described the software as a PowerPoint 2013 add on designed to make it easier and more affordable to turn slides "into interactive online lessons and presentations."

With Office Mix, teachers can record themselves presenting, write on the slides and insert quizzes, polls, videos, screen captures and screen recordings and other elements, which the software "mixes" into what Microsoft describes as "an interactive, playable document" that students can then view on the Office Mix website.

Quizzes inserted into "mixes" can have different question formats, including true or false, multiple choice and free form answer, and teachers can determine the number of attempts students get to answer, offer hints, set a timer, change the order of questions and provide feedback.

Office Mix also tracks usage of the presentations, giving teachers analytics on data like which students accessed the "mix," how many answers they got right and how much time they spent on each slide. Although currently designed for teachers, Office Mix can be used by other types of users as well.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

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Juan Carlos Perez

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