Countdown timer displays are often used for counting down to a specific date, or a timer to count since there is a specific date.  Countdowns are often used to count down to New Year, Christmas, the end of the Ramadan, opening of a new shop, to show how long a speaker has the word, and so on. Timers on the other hand, are often used to show for example the number of days since the last accident in a factory, or the launch of a rocket.

PowerPoint in combination with our DataPoint add-on is a great tool to show this information in real-time on a computer or television screen.  PowerPoint presentations are great here because you have full control of the look and feel of the slides. And you can add other slides with more information that you can show on your screen.

DataPoint allows you to connect for example your presentation to a database or Excel file where you store the target date like New Year, or the date of the last accident.  And then DataPoint can show this information and update the counter or timer every second or minute.

We often see that people are setting up this database for countdown timer displays, so that is why we created this sample Microsoft Access database with the tables and queries for this purpose. Free for you to use.

Open our Microsoft Access database and you will find some tables and some queries for this countdown timer display purpose.

Open the TblCountdown table. The ID field is just an autonumber field that gets set automatically.  You can enter a name for a countdown event, and its target date, and optionally a time.  Tick the Enabled checkbox to activate it.  And optionally set a validity period.

Next open the QryCountdown query.  This query will return all countdown events that are enabled and within the validity period.  Once an event is passed the DisplayTo date, are removed from this query.

Basically you have the option to continuously update the existing countdown, or to add multiple and next events to the queue, depending on your needs.

The columns days, hours, minutes and seconds are calculated automatically. It represents the remaining time to the target date.

Next to the countdown info, we have timers or countups as we called it. Open the TblCountUp table. Here again, the ID column is the autonumber that needs to be there, and we don’t have to set it. It will get automatically a value on inserting. Enter a name or description for your registered event and the start date. Optionally, you can enter a time part too here.

Open the QryCountUp query and you will see a days, hours, minutes and seconds column here too. Calculated since the start date of this event.

So far for the database. Now, we are going to use this database in DataPoint.  With DataPoint, we use the Microsoft Access data provider, make a connection to the database, and then select the QryCountUp query from the available objects.

Set the refresh rate to 1 second if you need to display the running seconds too.  Otherwise you can choose to increment the refresh rate to e.g. 1 minute.

Draw a text box on your slide and link its content dynamically to the days column here of row number 1 (the first event). You will see a preview of the value.

Optionally you can prefix the dynamic value by some text. Finally it will show like this on your slide.

You can set the slide show type to kiosk (to run forever) and run the slide show.  DataPoint will keep those counters and timers up to date on your screen. Optionally, you can add more slides with more information to your presentation and alternates your slides.

Download our free Microsoft Access Counter database.

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Use DataPoint to link presentations to various data sources
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