APS User Guide PC

APS logo

Version 3.0
May 5. 2024

0. Introduction

Auto Presentation Switcher (APS) helps you display presentations, images and videos on your computer. You can switch presentations seamlessly, display videos and images on top of your presentations, and display a screenshot when no presentation is displayed.
APS can be controlled from the user-interface, using global keyboard-shortcuts, or over the local network using Bitfocus Companion.

1. Compatibility

Windows requirements
64 bit Windows 10 and 11. Microsoft .net framework 4.8.1 is required.

Programs and file extensions
PowerPoint:
PowerPoint 2016 is supported. Both 32 and 64 bit versions of PowerPoint can be used.

PowerPoint file-extensions:
.pptx, .ppsx, .pps ,.pptm and .ppsm. We recommend using pptx format.

PDF
Programs:
Adobe Reader 64 bit
Adobe Acrobat DC 64 bit
Okular

PDF file-extensions
.pdf

Still-images
Jpeg, PNG or TIFF files

Media player
MPEG (ES,PS,TS,PVA,MP3), AVI, ASF / WMV / WMA, MP4 / MOV / 3GP, OGG / OGM / Annodex, Matroska (MKV), Real, WAV, JPEG, PNG, TIFF

2. Installation and licence

2.1 Installation
Download the application and run the installer. When the app starts for the first time it will enter trial-mode. In this mode the app will work normally for 10 minutes and then close. To use the app without restrictions, licenses must be installed.

2.2 Verify that the program is running

APS icon tray

The program-icon can be found on the bottom right corner on the taskbar. This icon means that the program is active.

2.3 Activating the licence on a new computer
After you buy a licence, this will be e-mailed to you. When you open APS, you will first see this menu:

Push Activate. Now copy and paste the licence-code from your mail into the activation field and push “Activate”. The licence is now installed

! This process requires Internet-connection, and your computer must be able to contact our server which is placed on the domain www.presentationtools.com. Make sure that no firewall on your computer prevents the APS application from contacting our server.

2.4 Using the licence
The licence can only be activated on one computer at a time. The licence-key is stored in the user-data on your computer. This means that if you change the user, you will have to repeat the activation-process, or use another licence.
After you have activated the licence to your computer, you can use APS also while not connected to the Internet.

2.5 User-account on PresentationTools.com


If you have a yearly subscription for your licence, you can monitor and release your APS licences from our webpage. To do this you need a user-account using the same email-address registered to your licences. Accounts can be created from this page. You must verify your Email-address to complete the process. After the user has been created, you can go to the Dashboard-page and manage your licences from there.
To access your licences, push the “Keys” button for your subscription.

2.6 Switching the licence to a new computer
From the image above you can see that the APS licence is “In Use”. This means that this licence is now activated on a computer. To use the same licence on a different computer, you first need to deactivate the licence from your current computer. You can do this by pushing the Release button. The licence will now be free to use on a different computer. The old computer with the licence does not need to be online for this process to work.
The second way to release the licence is directly from the user-interface in the application. From the top menu-bar, go to Activation, then push the Release button. This process requires Internet connection.

! Note that uninstalling the application itself does not de-activate the licence, since this process does not involve our web-server. It is possible to have a licence registered to the computer also when APS is not installed on the machine.

To activate the licence on a new machine, repeat the steps from 2.3

2.7 Computer tag

If you tag the computer, this name will be shown in the user-dashboard under “Computer Name”. This can be a useful feature if you need better control of which computer(s) has the licence(s) installed.

3. Control presentations with keyboard shortcuts

Our keyboard-shortcuts for controlling presentations will work globally across your computer, and they will react to the window and app that is in window-focus. With PowerPoint and pdf in Fullscreen, the file is in “window-focus” when spacebar or right arrow advances to the next slide in that presentation. This means that if you accidentally mouse click on another program while the presentation is shown, these commands probably wont work. (but neither will the presentation-clicker)

The main method to control presentations with keyboard-shortcuts is with the commands ctrl+rightarrow that will open the next presentation in the folder and put it in fullscreen. This way, you only need to sort your presentations alphabetically and numerically in the folder, and during the show, just push ctrl + rightarrow when you you need to advance to the next presentation.
In APS you can control PowerPoint and PDF-presentation using this method.

3.1 Prepare presentations
1. Put the presentations you want to display in one folder. Leave all other files outside this folder or put them in a sub-folder.
2. Rename the filenames of the presentations so that they are sorted alphabetically or numerically in the order they will be displayed.

Example:

Or you could use the time of the day:

You can verify that the order is correct by sorting the files alphabetically in File Explorer.

3.2 Switching between presentations


Using ctrl + right and left arrow
Open a presentation and put it in full screen. When in full screen, use shortcut CTRL + right-arrow shortcut to go to the next PowerPoint or pdf-file in folder, and ctrl + left-arrow will mirror this action and go to the previous. The new file will open in Fullscreen

Using ctlr + down-arrow
Open a PowerPoint-presentation. Use ctrl + down-arrow to open next PowerPoint or pdf-file without showing it in Fullscreen

Note: This shortcut also works if the current PowerPoint- file is not in Fullscreen.

3.3 Put files in Fullscreen with Ctrl + up-arrow
When a PowerPoint-file is the active program but not in Fullscreen, this shortcut will put the presentation in slideshow-mode. (in this case the shortcut does the same as pushing the f5 button.) Note that the screen which the powerpoint is displayed is chosen from the Powerpoint internal settings, not from APS
When a pdf-file is the active program but not in Fullscreen, this shortcut will put the PDF in Fullscreen according to the display chosen in the APS «pdf-screen» option in the menu.

3.4 Close files with Ctrl + up-arrow
If PowerPoint or pdf-files are in Fullscreen and has window-focus, the shortcut ctlr + up-arrow will change behavior: All currently opened documents that can be controlled from APS will close, except the one currently displayed.

With PDF, only documents in the currently chosen controlled program will close.

Please note this exception: When an Adobe Reader document is opened an in Fullscreen, ctrl + up-arrow will only close PowerPoint-files.

4. Still images

The still-images is a high-quality image-viewer that can display up to 10 different user-selected images and screenshots, along with internal “black” and “test” image. You can also take a screenshot and display it instantly, known as the “freeze” command.

4.1 Still-images menu

From here you can display images that are screenshots or files from the disk.

The images will always be captured and displayed in the Main Presenter Screen which can be set from the Settings menu. (see 4.3)

Buttons are explained below

 

Display color bars

Display black screen

 Take a screenshot of the Main Presenter Screen and display that as an image

Image 1-10

There are 10 user-configurable images that can be displayed. They can be set in 2 different ways:

 Load image from file. This button also works with drag and drop.

 Take a screenshot of the Main Presenter Screen and load this as the selected image

These two options above will override what was previously selected. To delete the selection press the X buttons.

Display the selected image. When displayed the button will lit red.

If an image is displayed, this button will eject the image.

4.2 Keyboard-shortcuts for still-images
These are global shortcuts that will work regardless of what is application is in window-focus.

Ctrl + Shift + 1: Display image 1
Ctrl + Shift + 3: Display image 2
Ctrl + Shift + 3: Display test-image
Ctrl + Shift + 4: Display black image
Ctrl + Shift 7: Take screenshot and load this as image 1
Ctrl + Shift + 8: Take screenshot and load this as image 2
Ctrl + shift + f: Freeze the screen (Take screenshot and display this on the main presenter screen)
Ctrl + shift + esc: Eject images

5. Media player

The new media-player allows you to play up to 40 different videos, images or audio-files. The media will be displayed on the screen chosen from “Main presenter screen” in the settings.

5.1 Getting started

First, choose a media for the slot by pushing the folder-icon, or drag and drop a media-file onto the button.
Before a media can be played, it must be loaded. Load a media by pushing the load-icon. Then the next time you push the play-button, the media will play.

Video 1 is loaded and ready to play

By default, the media will play until the end. If you quickly need to exit the video or image, push the “stop” button. If the user-interface is covered by the video, you can first push on the video-window with the mouse, then push the “escape” button,

5.2 Playback buttons

The play-button will start the loaded media from the beginning.

Toggle pause/play on the currently playing video

Restart the playing video

Stop the playing video, or, if a video is loaded but no video is playing, remove the load so that no media is selected for playback.

Loop the video

Turn on fade-mode. Now the video will start with a fade, and if you push the stop-button, the video will fade out. Note that you cant crossfade between videos, only fade in/out the vide-window.

Loads the previous media in the list. For example, if video 3 is loaded, this button will load video 2 if a media exists there.

Loads the next media in the list, mirroring the previous button

5.3 Timeline

For video and audio file, the timeline will show the progress of the video, total duration and name of the vide. You can drag the cursor to a new playback-position.

5.4 Select media

Remove the selected media

Select media. You can also drag and drop media-files to this button to select them.

Load the media

Shows the media-slot number, name of the media-file, and length.

These are options on the bottom of the menu. Auto-load will select which video will load next after a video/media has started. “None” will select no media. “Repeat” will load the same media again. “Next” will load the next media in the list.

The fade-time sets the duration of the fade when fade-mode is selected. This value is linked to the fade-time of the still-images, so if you change this value, it will also be changed for the still-images. Note that you can only change the fade-time here if fade-mode is activated.

5.5 Keyboard-shortcuts for the media-player
These are global keybard-shortcuts that will be activated while APS is running*

Ctrl + Alt + 1: Play
Ctrl + Alt + 2: Pause
Ctrl + Alt + 3: Restart
Ctlr + ALt + 4: Stop

5.6 Using the Still-Images and media-player together
The still-images will always display on a layer below the media-player. This means that the media-player will always hide the still-images when a media is playing. The still-images can then act as a bottom layer with the media player. For example, you can use this to make the background black when no video is playing, or display a background company-logo.

6. Slot presentations

The slot-presentations lets you choose 40 presentations that you can open and display from the APS menu or through the network. (Companion). This menu has 3 buttons which are explained below:

Push this button to select the presentation for the slot. You can also drag the files to this button to select them.  

Removes the selection

Displays the presentation in fullscreen. The button shows the filename of the presentation, and on the top you find the filepath.

7. Settings

The last tab in the menu is for the general user-settings. The options are explained below, starting from top

User Guide
Directs you to the online user-guide

Licence
Remove and install licences

Main Presenter Screen
This sets the screen when:
– displaying PDF-files using APS-methods
– displaying Still Images and screenshots
– capturing screenshots
– play videos and images through the Media player

The Auto setting automatically sets the extended screen as the main. In most cases people use the extended screen to display presentations, and then the auto-setting will work fine. If more than two screens are connected to your PC, it is better to choose this screen manually instead.

Always launch at startup
When this setting is on, the program will always start when the computer starts.

Minimize menu to taskbar
By default the menu will minimize and hide among the icons on the bottom right on your screen. If you want the menu to remain accessible on the main toolbar, choose this option.

Seamless switching
When seamless switching is on, this changes the transitions between presentations in Fullscreen: when shortcut is pushed, the current frame of the presentation-window will freeze until the next presentation can be displayed. Note that this method works with PowerPoint presentations and PDF presentations with Okular.

Program-settings for PDF – Controlled program
There are 3 applications that this program can use to control PDF-files: Adobe Reader, Adobe Acrobat. And Okular (Reader is the free version, whereas Acrobat is the paid version with extended features.) If all applications are installed on your PC, you must choose one of them.

If “Installed” is written with green color, this means that this is the default application for opening pdfs on your PC. We highly recommend that you set the default application to be the same as the controlled program.

Default program
The “change” button below will open the menu where you can change the default pdf-application on your PC.

PPT – Always open files in read only mode
By default the Powerpoint files open in edit-mode. This option changes so that the presentations opens in read only mode. This can be useful if you dont have a Powerpoint licences, as you can open powerpoints in read only mode without a licence.

Still images – Toggle images on/off with one button
When activated the same button and command can be used to turn on and off the image.

Still Images – Fade refresh rate
This sets the refresh-rate when the still-images fade in and out. The option is more for troubleshooting, we advice leaving this option at 60 for most situations.

Media Player – File cache
Sets how much of the video is stored in memory. Recommended setting is 300ms. In general, larger setting can give less micro-stuttering, but also take more resources and delay when pausing and seeking new playback-positions.

Media Player – Video Window pre-roll
After the command to start the video, this setting sets the delay before the video-window is shown. The default value is 100ms which should work fine in most situations. If set to less than this, you will probably see the first frame frozen before the video starts. If set to a higher value, the video will start before being displayed. Note that this setting only affects the video-window, and that the audio will remain unchanged.

Network
Here you can set the port-number for where APS listens for TCP/IP commands. This can be used to remote-control APS with Companion.

8. Control with Companion


Companion is an open-source software that lets you control multiple devices through the local network. It is possible to connect a Stream Deck box with buttons for better hands-on operation, or you can use a web-browser. For more info and download-links, please go here: www.bitfocus.io

8.1 Companion compatibility
Companion v.3.3 has all the latest commands for APS 3.0, including commands for the new media-player. Earlier versions also work, but some of the features are missing.

8.2 Connect Companion and APS


Make sure that APS and the Companion software are on the same LAN-network.
1. Open Companion and APS. (Which order doesn’t matter)
2. Go to Companion settings and add the APS module.  The easiest is to use the search-field. If the module can’t be found it means that you need a newer version of Companion. Search for PresentationTools Auto Presentation Switcher.

3. IP-settings for APS
If APS is on the same computer as Companion, then you can use the Localhost address 127.0.0.1. If they are on separate machines you will need to find the IP-address of the Mac running CueTimer and plot this into the Target IP.

By default, APS uses port 4777 for communicating with Companion. Sometimes you might need to change this port number, in case 4777 is already used by another application. You can do this by changing the port both in Companion and APS. In Companion, change the target-port

In the APS preferences menu, you can change the port-number to the same as the target-port in Companion

4. Check connection
If APS is open and connection between the apps then the status will be OK.

Troubleshooting: If status is not OK, or commands cannot be sent, you can check:
– LAN connection between CueTimer and Companion
– Firewall settings. The port used for communication must not be blocked, and both applications APS and Companion must be allowed to send and receive network messages.

8.3 Add buttons
There are two ways to add commands in Companion. The easiest is to use the presets, then drag and drop the actions you need. Most of our commands can be found there.

You can also import the commands and customize through the regular button-menu

8.4 Use the commands

When everything is set up you can view the counter and execute all of the commands from the button-bar in CueTimer using the Companion web-emulator or a Stream Deck device.

8.5 Youtube tutorials
We are creating videos on Youtube where we go more in depth on our Companion module. Watch it from here:

9. More info

APS main page

We also put some instructional-videos on our Youtube-channel

Contact:

info@presentationtools.com