Excel, a Presentation Platform?

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Presentation authoring is dead simple in PowerPoint. It definitely has its merits. But have you ever noticed that most presentations are similar, and frankly boring.

Ever wondered if Excel itself could be used to make a graphical presentation?


I decided to make this presentation to test the idea. It uses one chart and one text box for the entire show. The slides are advanced with a scroll control and thus no VBA is required or used.

I can tell you that its not as easy as PowerPoint and there are no fancy transitions (most of which are worthless, in my opinion).

But there are some advantages as well.

The presentation can be more interactive. Excel has much better charting facilities. No kludgey OLE linking needed for dynamic charts. And in the end it's not that difficult, especially if you follow the strategies promoted here at excelhero.com.

Each slide is drawn from values in a state machine using named formulas for the heavy lifting.

I chose to make the presentation about Robert Sacks's Number Spiral, a fascinating topic to be sure, with some very interesting math. Robert was most kind in allowing me to do so.

For an enlightening experience, please download the workbook and let me know what you think!

--- UPDATE ---

Now you can watch a slide show if you don't have Excel 2007.

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This is really great!!!
I wonder how much time you need to prepare something like that. 4 days ago you came with Eurovision entry and now this?
I need to say that every next entry on your blog amaze me more. Please keep on posting ... the most creative excel/charting site I found so far.

Must admit – I learn a lot from this blog (or at least I will learn when eventually I find out how do you make most of that stuff).


Welcome to my blog and thank you for the great compliment. From my stats I know that many people are reading my postings, but relatively few comment. So thanks for doing that! Sometimes it feels like I'm writing to myself...

It actually took me awhile to figure out the math on the Number Spiral. Robert Sachs who invented it helped.

Once I understood the math, the crafting in Excel only took a couple of days. Excel is a great tool and my goal is to open my readers' eyes to larger possibilities and it sounds like I'm succeeding.

I'll try to keep them coming, but as you know work comes first.

Please keep reading and commenting!


Daniel Ferry

Beautiful work Daniel... You truly push Excel's limits everytime. Thanks for sharing your valuable ideas and implementations with rest of us :)

"From my stats I know that many people are reading my postings, but relatively few comment"

The only explanation for that is we are spellbound...speechless !

After a very long time have I seen a Excel blog which way above the crowd...where Excel is pushed to the limits

The last such site was of Ivan F Moala http://www.xcelfiles.com/
While there are no new posts for the last two years...what is there is simply fantastic.

Keep going

Very interesting approach, dynamically drawing the charts and filling in the labels as you need them. A few times it slowed down, but probably a combination of Excel 2007's notoriously poor charting performance and the fact I was running in a VM.


Thanks for commenting!

I'm glad you liked it. While Excel 2007 is dramatically slower in charting performance than previous versions, I have had no performance problems with the Number Spiral presentation on any of the computers I've tried, so I suspect the VM was likely the problem in your case.


Daniel Ferry

Danial, that is just awesome, as is this blog.

Why do I always discover new blogs just minutes before I intend to shut down the PC and get some sleep? Damn you...

@Jeff Weir -
Thanks. The Sacks's Number Spiral is one of my favorite Excel creations.

I hope you got some sleep after all ;)

Daniel Ferry

This is great! I've been looking for better ways to visually represent spreadsheet data! This is an awesome insight--I can use this for some statistical analysis I've been working on.

Thanks for the insights!

I am amazed at every entry, and if your goal is to show readers what can be done with excel, you more than fulfill that. You actually open our curisosity . We might even get distracted from excel. I certainly am simply awed by your ease at manipulating, explaining, and making maths so fun to dig in!
You mentioned you did not get many comments? If we could comments with little stars, your pages would be like the milky way I am sure! It is hard to comment on such great entries except with gapping mouths!

@Danièle -

Thank you very much. There's much more coming, so please keep visiting!


Daniel Ferry

Hi Daniel

Ditto on what Daniele wrote. Superb demonstration. I love the concept and your execution.

Thank you!


@Kelly -

You are welcome. I'm glad you liked the chart.

Thanks for reading my blog!

Daniel Ferry

Daniel, it's fascinating! WOW!!!
It's really inspiring and I am really proud that I am your student in EHA :-)


Gotta say: this is freakin' awesome. Well done.

I'll continue to read through the blog, and see what else I can get. I first got into using Excel as the presentation medium while in Afghanistan; our commander wanted us to create a PowerPoint slide in a certain format, based on a spreadsheet we were using for tracking equipment. We couldn't do the slide without having to re-accomplish our entire spreadsheet; then we came up with the idea of adding drawing objects to an Excel spreadsheet and making it look like a slide. We printed out the result, and waited until he approved it before telling him it was a spreadsheet.

I'm working on a similar solution now, but am struggling with how to "enlarge" certain areas of the sheet. If anyone's got any clues for me, please chime in.

Wonderful job, Daniel! The illustrations look better than the ones on my site.

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This page contains a single entry by Daniel Ferry published on March 23, 2010 9:22 AM.

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