Disclaimer

The content of this blog is my personal opinion only. Although I am an employee - currently of Imagination Technologies's MIPS group, in the past of other companies such as Intellectual Ventures, Intel, AMD, Motorola, and Gould - I reveal this only so that the reader may account for any possible bias I may have towards my employer's products. The statements I make here in no way represent my employer's position, nor am I authorized to speak on behalf of my employer. In fact, this posting may not even represent my personal opinion, since occasionally I play devil's advocate.

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Sunday, September 07, 2008

Want a GUI for linking pages, e.g. in PowerPoint

I twittered: Hyperlinking pages within a PowerPoint presentation: wanted: a graphical link editor, so I can draw arrows...

It's rather hard to express this in twitter's length limit, so let me elaborate:

I'm creating a PowerPoint document, where every slide has a link to a corresponding slide somewhere else in the document. Basically, parallel structure, with crosslinks.

It is a real pain to use PowerPoint's hyperlink feature: "all you have to do is ... drag the shape that the link will live in, write the text, mouse to Insert / Hyperlink, scroll the dialog to the slide you want to link to, fill in the text, and fill in the flyover..." Worse, I was making bidirectional links, so I had to do this twice for evety pair of corresponding slides.

I mean, this is one of the reason's people like WikiWord with CamelCase or [[links]] - wiki makes it easy to create links, even if the formatting is not so great.

But, although this could become a paean to Wiki, it will not: I'd like to make it even easier.

E.g. I would like to be able to draw arrows between slides in something like PowerPoints's Slide Sorter view.

Now, it is easy to see how drawing such arrows would establish the link, but how would you want the link displayed? I suspect that I might like to have a default object, e.g. something like a box labelled "To Corresponding", where the arrow starts; for that matter, a similar box labelled "From Corresponding" where the arrow ends. You would probably have to figure out some placement, either explicit, or added to a stcak of such links in a footer area.

This is not a paean to wiki: indeed, I would like a similar link editring tool for wiki pages.

Wiki links are nice in that they flow natirally with the text.

The links established by such a GUI would probably not be "in text flow" links; they would probably be special buttons at head or foot of page.

Extension to multinode relations are easy to imagine.

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