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Practical Reasons Why PowerPoint Should be Your Preferred Report Presentation Platform


A lot of time and effort goes into creating a presentation and at the end of it all, you would want it to be able to stand out, attract attention and also be as accurate as possible. The tools you use to create your presentation can determine a great deal how it will turn out and the impact it will make.

PowerPoint is still the most favored program for designing presentations. In comparison to other programs like Excel and Access, it is able to turn a boring business report into an eye-catching functional presentation. This is why you should use PowerPoint to present database reports.

Using PowerPoint for Business Reporting

There are incredible advantages of using PowerPoint (with Windward integrated) for business reporting. Key among them are the following:

- Its visual tools make the presentation more attractive and easier to follow

- Provides high-quality graphics

- You can work with your colleagues with ease

- It enables fluid organization of a presentation and makes printing easier

- You can add video presentations customized to the audience need

- Your presentation and reports can be accessed anywhere on any device

- You can add impact to your presentation using animations and transitions

It is evident that PowerPoint is a game changer in driving the point home in your presentations. It, however, needs to have a data source. PowerPoint presentations cannot be effective without databases, here is an explanation of why.

Reasons for Using PowerPoint

You could choose to use Excel as your data source since it is quite flexible, allowing you to do a number of things with it. However, it is not without its limitations. Let's take a look at some of its pros and cons.


- It has a formula tool which makes it efficient for dealing with figures that need live computation

- It is easy to enter data and view it

- The learning curve is fairly simple

Sharing copies is easy

- There is flexibility in the way you can use each unique cell


- You cannot use it to answer detailed questions about the data you are presenting

- Excels prediction of data representation is usually wrong and this compromises data integrity

- It does not adapt well to data increase, when data increases, excels performance diminishes affecting the appearance and the whole presentation

- You cannot use it effectively to combine multiple data sets

- It is not easy for many people to work on the same spreadsheet, this makes collaboration difficult

Databases as Alternative to Excel

Databases are a recommended alternative to power your PowerPoint presentation. They are like huge libraries where you can store all your data. Databases are well organized with information stored in the right place. Here is why they are favored for PowerPoint.

- They have logical storage which prompts you to store data in the right column. Unlike Excel, PowerPoint would stop if you entered the wrong type of data in the table

- It is able to store any amount of data and will continue to scale appropriately according to the size of the information being entered

- Different reports can be used with a combination of all the data stored

- The data categorization is efficient and there is no problem of merged or irregular cells

- It is designed purely for managing data which is what makes it efficient though when it comes to the presentation you need to have another program like PowerPoint to make sense of the data.

Integrating Database with PowerPoint

Just as we have mentioned before, the database cannot function on its own for presentation, but at the same time, integrating database and PowerPoint is not as smooth as you may imagine. You need to have a program like Windward that can link the two.

Linking database and PowerPoint enables you to automate certain functions that would have taken a long time. For example, creating a number of similar PowerPoint reports using the same data that differs by data-sets. Linking the two can automate this function and you can avoid the tiresome manual creation of several reports. Windward can be used to integrate the two.

Why You Should Use PowerPoint in Creation of Reports Using Database

Connecting PowerPoint to an external database will produce real-time information about the data, using visually engaging graphics. This data is usually updated in real-time making the presentation as accurate as possible.

Tools like Excel and Access may have similar capabilities but the features that PowerPoint provides, make it a more preferred option. PowerPoint on its own however will not achieve the presentation you want, it will need to be integrated with Windward for smooth insertion of data.

Here are seven reasons PowerPoint should be your preferred presentation program for data reporting.

Entice the Audience With Impressive Animation and Exciting Slides

Data is mainly about numbers, but numbers without explanation is not meaningful. It is only when these numbers are compared and contrasted with expectation competitor achievements and goals, that meaning begins to emerge and we can figure out if set standards have been achieved.

Instead of presenting these numbers as boring lists with totals, PowerPoint gives the presenter the ability to present these numbers as a representation of expectations and achievements. the presentation will incorporate animations to illustrate what the figures mean. For example, if you had to show a trend in buyers decisions over a period of one year, wouldn't it be easier to show this with an animated graph that has moving arrows showing the direction of the trend, upwards or downwards? Sometimes, you can even get more creative with the animation just to make a lasting impression.

Eliminate the Burden of Copy/Paste

Using other tools usually involves copying and pasting data onto the presentation page, this, for the most part, is time-consuming. Time though is not the only concern, human error too can come into play as you copy the data and you will end up with a flawed presentation.

With PowerPoint, however, the database is linked directly to the PowerPoint and the data is updated automatically, this means you save time and energy and still end up with an accurate report. The reports can even be scheduled to update periodically for even more accurate data.

Add Lively Graphics

We say this again, numbers are boring. Statisticians may love their numbers, unfortunately, the people they will present these numbers to may not be so taken up by them. But it is important that the reports with their numbers are presented and understood, so grabbing attention is paramount. With PowerPoint presentations, you can include graphics that will help to add some life into the numbers and release the monotony.

If people have colorful graphics with different information represented with different colors, it is likely that they will remember it even after you are done. It is also much easier to understand the information represented in a pie chart that figures in an excel sheet lined up and totaled.

Manual Design of Snapshot Presentation

This means you can create an external presentation of the data for people who cannot access the database. If, for example, you would like every member of the audience to have a copy of the data on a separate screen so that they can follow through as you present, this can be done for every highlighted point. Or if they are products in a catalog, you can provide information for each product and then generate a single presentation with all the products.

Easy Access to Updated Data in Real-time

Since data is constantly changing, it is important to be able to have the most recent data when making decisions. with PowerPoint linked to Windward, access to updated information on any database is made possible in real-time. This means that presentations are up to date with the most recent data.

This enables decision-makers to make the right decision basing on the current data report. You simply need to schedule the data update in such a way that at the time that the data is being presented, you will have the right figures, for example, if you are showing viewership of a particular program, this is information that can change and you may need to have the most recent figures, with your presentation linked to data servers, that should not be a problem.

Superior Mail Personalization

With PowerPoint linked to the database, you can achieve superior personalization for mailing lists. say you have different clients interested in different information, there is no need to send all the clients the same information which also includes data they may not be interested in. Just like with Snapshot presentation, you are able to generate just the information different clients are interested in and that is what is sent to them along with their name and other information that concerns them personally.

With Windward at the helm, you will achieve customer loyalty since they will feel like you take the time to attend to them individually not as a group and you meet their particular interests.

Ease of Collaboration

PowerPoint is a Microsoft program and Microsoft is used by the majority of computer users. This means when you create a PowerPoint presentation, you can share it with more people and collaborate on the same presentation together without having to look for a conversion tool. According to statistics, there are over 1 billion people who use Microsoft tools, this means that about 1 in 7 people on this earth are able to access a presentation in powerpoint compared to other programs. So, if you are sending out emails to clients, there is a higher chance they will be able to easily access your presentation if it is presented as PowerPoint.

In Conclusion

When you use Windward, you can create meaningful reports using data on a database. Executives can look beyond numbers in a list and see the big picture that these numbers are painting for a better financial compass of the business.

The presentation is key to understanding data, it is no use to collect data and then present it as raw information. PowerPoint acts as the chef, to put together different ingredients (figures) and come up with an alluring presentation ready for the audience to consume.

When using PowerPoint to present data, the best-automated solution to link the PowerPoint to the database is Windward. The results of this integration are impressive and they will turn a

boring annual report on facts and figures into a more interactive lively discussion and more people will actually understand what is being presented.

-- Author: G Abel.

Learn More About PowerPoint Reports

Tags Start & End

Tags Can Start & End Anywhere

Appendix B

.NET code for multi-page image output

Appendix A

Java code for multi-page image output

Data Bin Search

The Data Bin can now be searched to find a table, column, node or other piece of data without scrolling through it all.

Shrink to Fit

This will shrink the contents of a cell until it fits the defined cell size.

Time Zone Conversion

A new Windward macro has been added to help with converting dates and times from UTC time to the local time zone.

Image Output Format

New image output formats added.

PostScript Output Format

PostScript, commonly used with printers and printing companies, has been added as an additional output format.

New and Improved Datasets (Designer, Java Engine, .NET Engine)

Datasets have been re-written from scratch to be more powerful and easier to use.

Stored Procedure Wizard (Designer)

This works for all tag types that are connected to a SQL-based data source (Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, or DB2).

Boolean Conditional Wizard (Designer)

Before, conditional statements could only be written manually. Now they can also be built using our intuitive Wizard interface.

Reorganized Ribbon

The ribbon menus have been re-organized and consolidated to improve the report design workflow.

XPath 2.0 as Data Source

Adds various capabilities such as inequalities,descending sort, joins, and other functions.

SQL Select Debugger

SQL Select  Debugger

  • The look and feel was improved
  • Stored Procedure Wizard
  • Improved Exceptions pane

Tag Editor/Tag Selector

Added a Query tab as a field for typing or pasting in a select statement

  • Color Coding of Keywords
  • TypeAhead
  • Evaluate is now "Preview"

Rename a Datasource

All tags using that Data source will be automatically updated with that name.

Connecting to a Data Source

New single interface to replace 2 separate dialog boxes

Tag Tree

Displays of all the tags in the template, structured as they are placed in the template. This provides a simple & intuitive way to see the structure of your template. Also provides the capability to go to any tag and/or see the properties of any tag.

Added Javelin into the RESTful Engine

Support for Google Application Engine Integration

The ability to integrate the Windward Engine into Google’s cloud computing platform for developing and hosting web applications dubbed Google Applications Engine (GAE).

Additional Refinement for HTML Output

  • Improved indentation for ordered and unordered lists
  • Better handling of template header and footer images
  • Better handling for background images and colors

Redesigned PDF Output Support

This new  integration will allow for processing of complex scripts and bi-directional  text such as Arabic.  Your PDF output  will be much tighter and more closely match your template, and we’ll be able  to respond rapidly to PDF requests and fixes.

PowerPoint Support

Includes support for new ForEach and slide break handling, table header row repeat across slide breaks, and native Microsoft support for charts and images.

Tags are Color Coded

Tags are color coded in the template by type, making it easy to visually identify them.

Increased Performance

Version 13’s core code has been reworked and optimized to offer a reduced memory footprint, faster PDF generation and full documentation of supported features and limitations in the specifications for DOCX, XLSX and PPTX.

Advanced Image Properties

Documents can include advanced Word image properties such as shadows, borders, and styles.

Improved HTML Output

Windward has updated HTML output to reflect changing HTML standards.

Version 13 New Data Sources

Windward now works with a slew of new datasources: MongoDB, JSON, Cassandra, OData, Salesforce.com

Generate Code

The Generate Code tool in the designer allows you to open an existing template and, with a click of a button, automatically create a window with the code needed to run your current template with all data sources and variables. Simply copy this code and paste into your application's code in the appropriate place. You now have Windward integrated into your application.

You only need to do this once. You do not do this for each template. Instead, where it has explicit files for the template and output, change that to parameters you pass to this code. Same for the parameters passed to Windward. This example uses explicit values to show you what to substitute in where.

Pivot Tables Adjusted in Output

Any pivot tables in an XLSX template are carried over to the XLSX output. The ranges in the pivot ranges are adjusted to match the generated output. So your final XLSX will have pivot tables set as expected in the generated file.

This makes creating an XLSX workbook with pivot tables trivial.

Imported Template Can be Set to Match the Parent Styles

In an imported sub-template, if its properties for a style (ex. Normal) differ from the parent template's properties for the style, the use in the sub-template can be set to either use the properties in the sub-template, or the properties in the parent.

You set to retain when you don't want the child template's styling to change when imported. You set to use the parent when you want the styling of the imported template to match the styling in the parent.

Any explicit styling is always retained. This only impacts styling set by styles.

Tags can be Placed in Text Boxes

Tags can be placed in text boxes. Including linked text boxes. This gives you the ability to set the text in a textbox from your data.

Tags can be Placed in Shapes & Smart Art

Tags can be placed in shapes & smart art. This gives you the ability to set the text in a shape from your data.

HTML Output Supports Embedded Images

When generating HTML output, the engine can either write bitmaps as distinct files the generate HTML references, or it can embed the images in the HTML providing a single file for the output.

Footnotes & Endnotes can Have Tags

You can place tags in pretty much any part of a template, including in footnotes & endnotes.

Document Locking Supported in DOCX & XLSX

Any parts of a DOCX or XLSX (PowerPoint does not support this) file that are locked in the template, will be locked the same in the output.

Specify Font Substitution

If a font used in the template does not exist on the server generating a report, the font to substitute can be specified.
In addition, if a glyph to be rendered does not exist in the font specified, you can specify the replacement font. This can be set distinctly for European, Bi-Directional, and Far East fonts.

Process Multiple Datasources Simultaneously

If you need this - it's essential. And if you don't need it, it's irrelevant.

Windward enables you to build a document by applying multiple datasources to the template simultaneously. When Windward is merging the data into a template, it processes the template by handling each tag in order, and each tag pulls from different datasources. (As opposed to processing all of one datasource, then processing the next.)

This allows the select tag to use data from another datasource in its select. For example, if you are pulling customer information from one data source, you can then pull data from the sales datasource using the customer ID of the customer presently processing to pull the sales information for that customer. If you're interested in patching together your data from multiple datasources, read this post on our blog.

Learn More About PowerPoint Reports

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