Desktop Presentations and Presentation Websites - If you work for a large company or corporation, you can make yourself a hero. That’s right, a hero! Just point out to your boss that for about the price of a copy of PowerPoint 2011, they get a program that does really excellent websites and Intranet sites, they get a high-end photo editor, a first rate vector drawing and editing application, a robust desktop publishing application, and now a pro-quality presentation software package as well. You qualify for hero status for saving them a ton of cash and you get to work with the best graphics program on the face of the earth! Xara Web Designer 7 Pro and Xara Designer 7 Pro both have what I like to call Xara-Point presentation capabilities. This feature was introduced in Xara Web Designer 7 Premium and I covered Presentations in depth in Workbook 88. So for now I will explain just the basics of how it works. See Workbook 88 for the in-depth details. By default, the presentation page is 955 pixels wide by 1000 pixels deep. This seems an odd size to me. It’s larger than an 8.5 x 11” US letter size page and as near as I can tell does not match any European size pages either. For my taste, it is way too deep for an on screen presentation. If you agree with me, you can change the page size in Page Options > Page Size > Custom to a size that feels right to you. I like something more like 955 x 750. There is a new folder in the Designs Gallery, Presentations. Inside this folder there are several pre-designed presentation “theme” templates that you can use off the peg, or customize to suit your needs. But if you are more creative, it is fun to create your own presentation from scratch. Or almost from scratch. In the Presentation Components folder, you will find all sorts of useful ready-to-use objects to help you build your presentation: Arrows, pre-programmed Photo Transitions, bulleted List Items, Headers, Transition Controls, Chart Components and more. Just drag these onto your page and customize as desired. The new Steps toolbar is the control central for your presentation. You basically create new steps and each step displays in sequence. Press the transition arrow and the next step loads. Each step goes on a Step layer in the Page and Layer Gallery and you can assign transitions to each step. So, for example, your bullet points can slide in from the left, or fade in, or instantly appear. When you reach the last step in your presentation page, the next click of the transition arrow proceeds to the next page. As you would expect, with Xara Designer Pro 7, you can design your own components, which in my humble opinion, is the only way to go and which is what makes Xara-Point presentations superior, and all the other presentations, pointless. Presentations can be presented from your desktop or laptop computer, or they can be published to your website where your visitors can review your material at their leisure. You can create hosted, by invitation only Webinars using the free MAGIX hosting set up. Publish your presentation to the MAGIX servers, send your guests an invitation with a time and date for the Webinar. Your guests use the log on information you supply and you manage the presentation from your computer. I whipped up a demo presentation to give you an idea of the power of a Xara-Point presentation. Click here to have a look. There’s a link back button at the end of the presentation to transport you back to this page. And remember to visit Workbook 88 for an in-depth tutorial on creating your own presentation, website presentation, or Webinar. HTML5 Video - One final web-related item. MP4 movies added to your website will now play without the need of a Flash player if viewed on a browser that supports HTML 5 video. So your videos can now play on the iPhone and iPad and other iOS devices that do not support Flash. To sum up. There are a ton of things to like about Xara Designer 7 and Xara Designer 7 Pro. As with all Xara products, you get a lot of powerful, easy to use features for a modest investment compared to other graphics packages. If you are serious about web site design, but want all the world class drawing and photo editing tools, then Xara Designer 7 Pro is the way to go. The improved streamlined user interface with the cleaner clearer type is a joy. The Eyecatcher Widgets and Designs Gallery contents put a lot of design power at your fingertips. I love the new transitions. And the improved publishing options and presentations mode make this an even better overall package. And best of all, the speed and ease of use is unequaled. Gary W. Priester First Published in Xara Xone © Gary Priester Presentations, like Animations have it’s own workspace. You create a new presentation by selecting File > New > 955 pix Presentation. One important last minute addition to Xara Designer 7 Pro. You can now export AVI animations with a transparent background. This means you can create and add animated titles and graphics for your videos that will appear over the action and not just against a solid background. Create your animation, then select Export Animation from the File  menu. Click AVI (*.avi animation)  from the file type drop down, select Options, and check Make Background Transparent.