Mobile presentations

Do you use LibreOffice Impress and own an Android smartphone? Want to use your smartphone as a remote control for your presentations? Look no further. Download LibreOffice Impress Remote from Google’s Play Store.

Running the remote control software on the smartphone asks for permission to turn on Bluetooth (although it is also possible to use a Wi-Fi connection). The next screen shows a list of available computers running Bluetooth. Tabs allows selection between Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, and selecting a machine will attempt to connect to a running Impress presentation.

Bluetooth support is not provided by default for Linux Mint 17 and so I found it necessary to install the “blueman” package through the Software Manager. This places the Bluetooth Manager icon on the panel which can be used to establish a connection between the computer and the smartphone.

Obviously, one needs to turn Bluetooth on, as noted above, or by using the smartphone’s settings’ menu. Next, toggle the smartphone so as to be visible to other Bluetooth devices. Now, click on the computer’s Bluetooth Manager icon. Firstly, select “Make Discoverable”. Next, select “Devices, and Search”. An icon and some associated text should indicate the presence of your smartphone. Similarly, on the smartphone, press “Search for devices”. An icon and text on the smartphone’s display should show the computer in the list of available devices.

Now we need to “pair” the two devices. On the computer, select the smartphone’s icon and click on the “Setup” menu item. Choose a pairing method – a random passkey is the default. Pressing “Forward” will display a numerical passkey to be entered on the smartphone. On the smartphone, select the computer’s icon, enter the passkey, and press OK. The smartphone will now display the computer in a list of paired devices.

Now, we can turn our attention to Impress and the remote control software. Firstly, with the remote control software running on the smartphone, open a presentation in Impress. Make sure that, in the Tools – Options – LibreOffice Impress – General menu, the “Enable remote control” box is checked. (You may also find it useful to have “Enable Presenter Console” checked.)  Now, navigate to Slide Show – Impress Remote – Connect.

If everything has gone to plan, your computer’s screen should be displaying the Presenter Console, the display unit (e.g. a second monitor or a projector) will be showing the first slide, and your smartphone’s screen will indicate “Slide 1 from 18” (or similar), with an image of the first slide and the associated speaker’s notes below.

Swiping to the left brings up the next slide, while swiping to the right goes back a slide. Bingo – remote control!

The remote control software has a number of settings; however, some of the features provided don’t seem very useful. For example, one can bring up an on-screen pointer (a medium-sized red dot) but then the slides can’t be changed until the pointer is “stopped”. Also, a session timer can be established – but there is no alarm – just a discrete on-phone message indicating that time is up.

It is possible to call up a slide sorter and select any slide (i.e. out-of-order) with which to start/recommence the slide show. And, there is an option to stop the show – which can be useful at the end!

Other available settings are to keep the screen switched on and set the ringer to vibrate during the presentation, as well as the ability to use the volume control switch (up/down) to change the slides (although swiping is much easier!)

So, there you have it. If you are a mobile presenter, with mobile presentations, LibreOffice Impress Remote will allow you freedom from being tied to your laptop on a speaker’s podium.

References:

Control your LibreOffice presentations from your Android smartphone
http://www.techrepublic.com/article/control-your-libreoffice-presentations-from-your-android-smartphone/

Presenter Console
https://linuxnorth.wordpress.com/2012/02/01/presenter-console/

Release Notes for Linux Mint 17 MATE
http://linuxmint.com/rel_qiana_mate.php

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