Remotely controlling PowerPoint

Reader Paul would like to expand the native capabilities of his Apple Remote Control. He writes:

I recently ordered a MacBook and, as you may know, this comes with Front Row and a remote control. Do you know if the Front Row remote can be used for PowerPoint presentations? I think it would be nice to scroll through the slides with the build in remote.

You have a couple of options. The first is that you can cheat your way through it by exporting your slides as separate graphics files—JPEGs, for example—adding them to your iPhoto library, creating an album that contains those images, and then use Front Row and the Apple Remote to click through those images as if they were regular old pictures in an iPhoto album.

Where this falls down is when you have elements such as music and video embedded in your slideshow. Once you export your PowerPoint slides as images, you lose those elements.

Another option is to find a way for the Apple Remote to control PowerPoint natively. I’ve found such a way in IOSpirit’s 9.99 € (around $12.50) Remote Buddy.

Remote Buddy works through a series of specialized plugins called behaviours (yes, this German company prefers the English spelling) that allow you to use your Apple Remote to control such applications as iTunes, Keynote 3, PowerPoint, Photo Booth, QuickTime Player, EyeTV 2, DVD Player, VLC Media Player, Real Player, Adobe Reader, Acrobat Pro, CoverFlow, Quinn, GarageBand, NetNewsWire, MPlayer OSX, and Exposé.

If you’re a do-it-yourselfer you can create your own behaviours with the included Behaviour Constuction Kit or build in XCode and Cocoa with the free SDK. Remote Buddy also works with Keyspan’s RF Remote for Front Row.

I’ve tried Remote Buddy on my Intel Mac mini and it works as advertised. A free 30-day demo is available for your testing pleasure.

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