Since Macromedia Flash v.3 (Now Adobe Flash v.9) there have been questions about when to use Flash and when to use Microsoft PowerPoint. A short time after that someone figured out how to integrate Flash Shockwave objects into PowerPoint. Now you could have the benefit of beautiful Flash animations combined with the extreme edit ability of PowerPoint.
This marriage has always been doomed with bugs and problems: Flash movie clips not rewinding when complete, the first Flash frame appearing upside down, PowerPoint’s embedded feature not always holding true, and if a presenter click on the flash animation instead of the actual PowerPoint screen the slide will not advance to name a few.
Rarely are these bugs addressed and therefore more often than not I do not recommend integrating Flash in PowerPoint. With a little creativity, PowerPoint can simulate a lot of Flash animation shown in PowerPoint.
However, there is a case that I nearly always recommend it. If you are trying to show a half screen animation or larger that loops continuously. For example, a cover slide that has a large rotating logo would be a great use.
Traditional Options Are:
Importing a large animated gif, typically results in poor quality. PowerPoint cannot extrude and rotate a logo on its own. Video file sizes are large and on PC based PowerPoint supported video files cannot be looped (not sure if this is now true with Vista). When importing Flash, the inability to rewind is irrelevant given the animation loops. The upside-down first frame has been fixed by Microsoft, and the embedded feature has gotten much more stable. However, training may need to be provided to the speaker on where to click for slide advancement or an easy solution is to use a remote advancer (Pickle).
With the newest version of PowerPoint Vista who knows what new bugs may appear. As I mentioned up front I don’t usually recommend integrating Flash into PowerPoint, but there is at least one good use.
Do you integrate Flash into PowerPoint? Have you run into problems? Where has it worked best for you?