PowerPoint tables are really the most flexible shape that you can place on PowerPoint slides. A text box is great too because you can fully customize the text box individually, but a table is more flexible since it combines quickly a number of rows and columns that belong together. For example, the company’s sales volume, split up by product and country. In the need of an extra product? Just add an extra column. Next year you need an extra line for the next year? Just add a new row to the table. Very flexible to use and adjust.
You can use our DataPoint add-on for PowerPoint, which adds extra functionality to PowerPoint tables. DataPoint enables you to connect to any data source and display this information in real-time on your slides. Of course, next to the connection info, you need PowerPoint shapes like text boxes and tables, to host and display this information on your slides.
1. Insert normal PowerPoint tables
First of all, we will start with a normal table shape in PowerPoint. Start with a new presentation, select a slide and click the Insert option from the normal PowerPoint ribbon. Click to insert a Table. Choose e.g. a new table with 4 columns and 10 rows.
2. Setting up a data connection
For this article, we will use real-time information from a simple Microsoft Excel spreadsheet to insert in PowerPoint tables. With DataPoint, you can link to other data providers like databases and more, but Excel is easy to use and understandable for everyone.
Click to open the DataPoint ribbon and click the List button of the Connections group.
On that form that displays a lists of all possible data providers, select the Microsoft Excel node and click the Add connection button. Click the Browse button. Then navigate and select your file.
Click OK to close the connection to the Excel file. Rename the data connection by optionally clicking the Rename button or click on the text of the newly added connection. When done, click the Add query button.
Select the data sheet that you want to use. Adjust the data selection rage. Check the option if the first row contains the field names. Change the updating interval, according to your needs. Displaying critical or frequently updated information, might required a low update interval value, for faster updates.
Click OK to close and you will see a preview of the data. You can here again, rename the name of the query.
3. Use data in PowerPoint tables
Now, we have established a connection to the data source and we have this data available for usage on our slides. Select the table that you want, to show the dynamic information and click DataPoint to open the ribbon with DataPoint options. Secondly, click the Table button.
First, set the corresponding data source.
Note: Departures flight information is in the sample.
Set the Start filling data at row to 2, because we want to set our own header texts at the first row of the table.
Click OK to link the table to the data.
Now this table is dynamically linked to our data source. Set the texts for the header information in the first row.
We can reopen the presentation, and its linked data will be updated in the opening time. We can also run the slide show and DataPoint will continuously update the information on the slide, without stopping the running slide show. You can open the data source (Excel file here) at any other computer in your network, update the data and save the file. The new information will be visible on your slide show within seconds.
4. Run the slide show with real-time updates
This is how our self-updating table will look like in slide show mode. You can use a small computer and a computer screen or television screen to show it at large in your office or building.