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Accommodating (ex-) PowerPoint users

edited 9:17AM in Development

It seems to me that there are three groups of users who begin using OpenLP:

  • Those who have no experience with presentation software (migrating from transparencies/song books)
  • Those who are migrating from another worship-specific presentation program (whether open source, freeware, or commercial)
  • Those who are migrating from using PowerPoint/OpenOffice Impress
I would suggest that the third group is by far the largest. They may have been using PowerPoint in church for quite a while but have grown tired of its inadequacies and so began looking for an alternative. They found commercial software was too expensive (especially since they may need more than one license), and then they discovered OpenLP! Smile

If this is indeed the case, I think it is particuarly important that OpenLP makes an effort to accommodate non-technical PowerPoint users. OpenLP should thus be an all-round improvement over PowerPoint, and the learning curve must be as easy as possible.

With this in mind, I want to suggest several features which are missing from OpenLP, but are routine in PowerPoint, and relied on by its users.

I do so at the risk of incurring the wrath of the forum moderators, since they are already listed in the wiki's Feature Requests [1]. Is there any facility for users to vote on future feature requests?

Live control feature [2]:

  • "Ability to page/cursor-down [or spacebar] throughout the entire service, with blank slides in between each item"

Comment: This is the normal method of operation in PowerPoint, and it is a very low barrier of entry for someone new to operate the slideshow. It is a more difficult process to alternate bewteen down and right arrow keys as required in OpenLP.

Slide formatting features [3]:

  • "Separate title slide for showing copyright/author information instead of on songs"
  • "Option to hide title/copyright/etc info after fixed amount of live time"
  • "Option to specify which slide(s) the footer information appears on i.e. First|Last|All"
  • "Ability to split out Title from other Footer info, and position this separately to author/copyright info. Also option to only show it on first, last or all pages."

Comment: All these features surround the issue of the user's level of control over the appearance of the presented slides. In PowerPoint, the user is accustomed to having complete control in this area. They can choose exactly where and how to display the song title/author/copyright info. In OpenLP, the user is much more limited in having to display this info on every slide, and all in one 'footer' block (though the block can be positioned anywhere).

CCLI does not (in my understanding) require copyright info to be displayed on every slide, but only once per song.

Ref: From CCLI Australia's Church Copyright License (CCL) Terms of Agreement [4]:

5.2 The Church shall ensure that every reproduced version of a Song shall contain the full and correct song title, writer credit(s) and copyright notice in substantially the following form:

"Hallelujah", words and music by John Smith and Mary Doe
© 1975 John Smith Music Co. ICS. ARR.
Used By Permission. CCLI Licence #__________

Ref: The same requirement exists with CCLI in the US [5] (see sction 4.2).







"If I take one more step, it'll be the farthest away from home I've ever been." -- Samwise Gamgee


  • edited July 2011

    We don't have a voting system for features, we currently do them as and when we have time (which isn't much!).

    At this stage we're focusing now on finishing v2 and getting a stable polished release. Once released, we can then look through the feature list and see which ones we want in v2.2.

  • edited July 2011

    This is in my opinion a very important issue.

    In our church there are many older people who have little experience with computers (incl. Powerpoint).

    We work with a Beamerteam: a group of people prepare the service and later they will project the songs, texts and images during the service.

    We plan to split this group into people who prepare and those who project. Preparing a service involves some complicated computertasks like image-editing, selecting bibleverses and songs and putting everything in the right order. The projecting-part means "showing the right slide at the right time".

    If the projecting part of OpenLP could be as simple as possible, anyone (young kids, older people, non-tech-people, etc.) could assist and be a full member of the community.

    If we succeed in creating a solid, simple and "idiot-proof" way to control the projection-part in OpenLP, many people would benefit.

  • edited July 2011

    I think it's pretty simple as it is, and haven't had any trouble training a number of people how to handle the shift from slide to slide and item to item I've trained peopeld from a Sophomore in High School to a retiree to handle it and they all grasped it and could follow it.

  • I totally agree with this post. I just registered so I could say that lack of these features is what holds us back from switching from PowerPoint. I wish I knew code so I could help develop it! At the very least, I could help test it.

    Hoping you'll prioritize these features, along with fixing the Windows 8 crash.
  • As we've mentioned in other posts in the forums, so far we have been unable to reproduce any of the issues some of our users have experienced with Windows 8. And if we can't reproduce them we cannot fix them.
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