Build Your Digital Signage Messaging With Microsoft Word???

June 27, 2024 by Dave Haynes

Just about anyone who advises, guides or executes on content and creative strategy for a digital signage network has talked customers off the ledge from using common office productivity tools to make their own content, so it was a bit weird to come across news that Minneapolis-based CMS software firm Carousel Digital Signage has developed tools that enable PowerPoint, Excel and even Word docs to be used for on-screen content.

The knee-jerk reaction for a lot of readers would be “NOOOOO!!!!” … but let’s think about it. There are some sound reasons for making this available:

The MS Office integrations are based around URLs, and changing a doc sitting on a network will change the slide that’s in a playlist.

I have been in workplace environments that have used Office docs as digital signage content, and the ones that really, really didn’t work were Excel spreadsheets. The information is too small to take in and there’s usually too much of it. One chart, full screen, could do the business, though.

There is at least one company that has based its digital signage software offer around PowerPoint since the late 1990s – PresentationPoint from Belgium. The company says it has 10K+ customers and leverages the ability to do real-time data integration for updated presentations like dashboards and queue management.

It’s important to note that Carousel also has integrations with Canva, a much-used content creation tool, and Geckoboard, which does real-time KPI dashboards. There’s also support for the Powerpoint alternative, Google Slides as well as Docs.

Ultimately, it is not about the tools used but the strategy, goal and skillset of the operator. There are plenty of very sophisticated creative tools out there, like those from Adobe. But using a great tool is no guarantee that the output won’t look like crap or be ineffective.

You don’t need something fancy, that involves a user license and learning curve, when you can knock out a slide in PowerPoint that says: Reminder: Fire alarm drill at 11 am.

  1. Ken Goldberg says:

    I can appreciate the Office integration for users who are hell-bent on using those tools. That said, any PPT can be exported in a variety of DS-friendly formats, including MOV, MP4, JPG, PNG.

  2. Jeff Grandell says:

    For all of you DIY “shade tree mechanics” and “home improvement tradesmen”, you have to understand the desire for someone wanting to do this themselves with the tools they are comfortable with, if the end job is “good enough”.

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