Control presentations with APS, Companion and Stream Deck

APS with Stream Deck at corporate event
Photo: Danny Idelzon

If you are an AV-technician on an event, can you imagine controlling the sound and ligths with the mouse and keyboard? Im sure most people would prefer buttons and faders for this. And when it comes to controlling presentations, it shouldn’t be any different: You don’t have time to search for the next presentation in the folder when the presenter enters the stage. That’s why we made Auto Presentation Switcher(APS): To let the AV-technician control the presentations in the same way as they are used to from working with audio, video and lights. And when you combine APS with Companion and Stream Deck, you get the tactile control and flexibility you need to master all your presentations. 

In this article we will take a closer look at how you can use a Stream Deck with APS and Companion to control your PowerPoint, Keynote and PDF presentations

Jump to:
Open and display presentations
Control slides
Monitor presentations and slides

For more detailed instructions on how to set up APS with Companion, go here

Stream Deck with presentation-control

Open and display PowerPoint, Keynote and PDF presentations with Companion and Stream Deck

When the Mac and Windows presentation-computers are placed at the Front of House, the AV-crew must make sure that the right file is displayed at the right time. APS with Companion and Stream Deck gives you several ways to open and display presentations:

How to open presentations with Companion buttons

Open presentations with the slot-commands
Create buttons that opens specific presentations. With the slot commands you select these presentations from our user-interface. When a slot-presentation button is yellow, it’s ready to play. This feedback lets you push the slot-buttons with confidence.

Open presentations from filename
The command “Open/Start Presentation” lets you type in the filename and filepath of the presentation you want to display. It’s a great option if you want to select new presentations from a remote Companion-page. The only requirement is that you know where the file is stored on the local computer.

Use the previous/next command
A more straightforward way to open presentations is to use the “next” command that opens the next presentation in the folder. This command requires that a presentation is already displayed in Fullscreen. The “next” command will then search for what is the next presentation in the folder, and display this after closing the current. The “previous” command will go the opposite direction.
This creates a workflow where you first need to organize all your presentations alphabetically in a folder. Before the event, you can open and display the first presentation. Then during the event, you have an easy way of moving to the next presentation when needed.

Tip: Use Dropbox to remotely control your presentation-folder

Workflow with Dropbox and APS

When a presentation is displayed in fullscreen-mode, you don’t get access to the presentation-files on the computer. But by sharing your presentation-folder remotely through a file-sharing service like Dropbox, you can update your presentation-files from a different computer. This gives you the flexibility to edit and change presentations after the event has started. I have written more about working with Dropbox for your presentations here.

Open presentations in Fullscreen and from a specific slide-number
All our commands for opening presentations gives you two additional options: you decide if you want to open your presentation in Fullscreen, and from which slide.

Control presentation-slides with Companion and Stream Deck

A presenter will normally click through their own slides with a wireless presentation-clicker. But sometimes the show-operator needs to advance the slides or go to a specific slide in the presentation. Using Companion with APS, you get buttons for your slides on the Stream Deck controller.

Control slides with Companion

Slide-control with PowerPoint and Keynote
The safest way to control slides is to send commands to the specific applications that hosts the presentation. These commands will work also when the presentation-program is not in window-focus. For example, if you display a PowerPoint presentation on your external display in window-mode, while you want to work with a Word-document on your main display, you need commands that only applies to the Powerpoint-document.

Generic slide and presentation commands
Sometimes you get a mix of both PowerPoint and Keynote presentations. Then it’s convenient to use the same Stream Deck buttons for both apps. When advancing to the next and previous slides, the generic commands work just as the presentation-clicker: you can use buttons for the left and right keyboard-push. The generic commands for going to a specific slide are a bit more complex: When you push the command, APS first checks which app is in window-focus, or which app will react to keyboard-strokes. If it’s a PowerPoint, APS will use PowerPoint-commands. If it’s a Keynote, APS will use Keynote-commands.
Note that the generic commands only react to the application in window focus, so be careful if you are multitasking while the presentation is in slideshow-mode.

Get slide and presentation-info on Stream Deck buttons

Companion setup for APS

New in v.3 of APS is that you get more information about the presentations on the Companion buttons. You get the current and total slides in the presentations along with names of the current, previous and next presentations in the folder. (These are the presentations that will be used with the previous and next commands discussed earlier)

The slide-info is very useful in setups where you dont have the PowerPoint or Keynote presenter-view in front of you, or if other members of the crew wants to know how far the presentation has progressed. Since Companion runs over the local network, its easy to spread this information.

Streamlining Presentation Management with APS and Stream Deck

To wrap it up, APS with Companion and Stream Deck makes a great team for AV techs handling presentations at corporate events. It’s a solid setup that lets you easily manage PowerPoint, Keynote, and PDF files, especially when you’ve got lots of them and have limited space for your AV-equipment. With APS, you can open presentations, move through slides, and monitor your progress using Stream Deck controllers. You’ve got different ways to open and show your files, like using slot commands or picking a presentation by its name. Plus, if you need to update files on the go, you can use file-sharing services like Dropbox to do it from anywhere. Whether you’re moving to the next slide, picking a specific part of your presentation, or switching between different types, APS and Stream Deck give you the control you need to make sure everything goes smoothly.

Read more:
APS walkthrough: Control presentations and images with Companion and Stream Deck – PresentationTools
This article goes deeper into detail on how to set up APS with Companion

APS main page