How to Use Microsoft Office Mix
Powerpoint Mix Tab
Kenith Wilson, Educational Technologist, Educational Media Support Center, Boston University Medical Center
Wayne LaMorte, Office of Teaching and Digital Learning, Boston University School of Public Health
The Mix add-in has been discontinued. Most of the previous Mix features have been included in PowerPoint. If your version has gotten that update, you should be able to customize your tool bar to add a new Recording tab that’ll have the new features. Office Mix was designed to enable teachers (or anyone who presents) to take a PowerPoint document, and mix it into an interactive, playable document that can be viewed on almost any device, anywhere with an internet connection.
Microsoft Office Mix is a relatively new software product that allows you to easily turn you PowerPoint presentations into interactive lessons.
What Mix enables you to do:
- Create video lessons — similar to those published by Khan Academy Screen Capture — Audio & Video
- Post PowerPoint files with built-in quiz questions and feedback
- Create voiceover for your PowerPoint slides
- Save your Mix files to OneDrive (MS Cloud — Free Hosting
- Track student progress
The video below gives an overview of what Mix can do for you.
This link brings you to a series of tutorials illustrating the learning modules that you can create with Microsoft Office Mix .
- Computer: 2 gigahertz (GHz) or faster x86-bit or x64-bit processor with SSE2;
- Memory: 2 GB RAM;
- Hard disk: 1.0 GB available disk space;
- Display: 1024 x 768 screen resolution;
- Graphics: DirectX 10 or 11 graphics card;
- Operating system: Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 8.1;
- Microsoft Office: PowerPoint 2013, Office 2013 or Office 365; .
- Net version: 4.5;
- Other: Microphone or other sound input device for recording, web cam for video recording.
For updated requirements see the official Microsoft web page https://officemix.uservoice.com/knowledgebase/articles/349393-on-which-devices-can-i-watch-a-mix-can-i-watch-mi
- Firefox on Mac OS X cannot play Mix files due to lack of h.264 video support.
- Apple Macintosh requires Safari version 6 or higher
- Safari for Windows is version 5.17, which is not supported
- Mix files are supported on Apple & Android Devices
You can download Microsoft Mix for free if you have a Boston University account with a Kerberos password or if you have a Microsoft account. Go to https://mix.office.com/ , click on ‘Get Office Mix’, and select which way you want to sign in.
Office Mix should install Mix as an ‘Add-In’ to your PowerPoint.
Start PowerPoint and select the Mix tab from the menu bar at the top. Svg animation adobe.
You should then see the Mix menu options shown below.
You may also see links to ‘Quick Start Tutorials on the right side of your screen. If you don’t, click on the ‘Using Mix Tutorials’ option on the Mix menu at the top.
This is a very useful option. It allows you to record audio and/or video of your PowerPoint slides while you narrate them and annotate them using your mouse or other pointing device as a pen. The audio and video can then be reviewed and saved to the cloud or directly to your local computer as a .mp4 file. You can start with a blank slide and annotate it to create a Khan Academy type presentation, or you can retrieve a previously saved PowerPoint presentation and narrate it while making annotations. To start, click on ‘Slide Recording’ at the upper left corner.
This should open a screen like the one below (I already have chosen a PowerPoint slide in this illustration.)
Note the ‘Record’ and ‘Stop’ buttons at the upper left and web cam and audio controls on the far right. You can choose just audio or audio + video (meaning recording your voice and your web cam), and you can choose whether the web cam video will play as a thumbnail insert or full screen. The microphone icon shows the volume of your audio when you speak, and the slide bar beneath that allows you to adjust the volume.
Beneath that are pens of different thickness and options for pen color. Note that the pens and eraser will not become functional until you begin recording.
To begin recording, click on the red ‘Record’ button at the upper left. You will then see your drawing tools arrayed vertically on the right as shown below. The drawing tools and the eraser should now be functional.
The controls at the upper left, enable you to pause/resume or stop recording.
Note also that when you are recording a PowerPoint presentation with multiple slides and animations, the recording screen provides buttons to activate an animation if it is present on a given slide, and another button enables you to advance to the next slide. These controls are shown below.
When you are done, click the button at the upper right to close the recording screen.
This will bring you back to the Mix menu, where you can choose the Preview button to review your recording. When you are satisfied, you can upload it to OneDrive with this button. Once the file has been uploaded, you can choose with whom you would like to share it.
Alternatively, you can export it and save it as a .mp4 file on your local computer by clicking on this button . Note that processing and saving these files may take some time depending on the length of the presentation and the resolution that you choose for the video.
When you choose to export the recording, you will first get the screen on the left below. Note that the default is ‘Full HD with 1080’ pixels. If you click on the chevron to choose video size, you get the options shown on the right below.
The video below shows how to create short narrated screen recording and embed it into your PowerPoint presentation.
We recorded the next video to illustrate screen capture with Excel. We then previewed the recording and exported it as a .mp4 file at a resolution of 480 pixels.
If you post PowerPoint slides for your students to review, another potentially useful option is to insert interactive quiz questions into the PowerPoint file. Students can then look at the slides in slide show mode online or after they have downloaded them, and the quiz questions will provide an interactive feature.
From the Mix menu click on the Quizzes button.
If you are not brought to the ‘store’ automatically, click on the button to go to the online store. Note that you can choose several types of questions, and there are also options to insert videos.
The video below is a brief tutorial on how to insert quiz questions into a PowerPoint presentation.
The link below will open an 11 slide PowerPoint file in which slide #9 has a multiple choice question, slide #10 has embedded questions on ratios from the Khan Academy collection, and slide 11 as an embedded video on influenza vaccines from the Khan Academy (downloaded from the ‘Lab Apps Store.’)
Link to Demo Quiz in PowerPoint
PowerPoint is a great tool for presenting but it’s never really been a good application for developing e-learning content.
The oddly named Office Mix is Microsoft’s attempt at resolving that gap in PowerPoint’s capability. I say oddly named, because Office Mix is [currently] an application for PowerPoint alone so don’t go getting excited if you’re an Excel or Word lover.
What Does Office Mix Do?
Once you’ve installed the add-in within PowerPoint 2013, you’ll see a getting started deck the first time you run PowerPoint:
(if you want to open this again later, you’ll find it under C:Program Files (x86)Office MixOfficeMix.potx)
You will also see a new tab called MIX:
The features that are added are broadly split into three categories:
Live Media Recording
– recorded webcam video
Mix Powerpoint Download
– microphone audio
– screen captures (images)
– screen recordings (video)
– Live tutorials
– Video apps
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Live Media Recording
Clicking the small Record button in the MIX ribbon tab leads to a big surprise. The whole of the PowerPoint interface changes to a full screen black themed skin, synonymous with video recording apps from the likes of Camtasia Studio and others, with your slideshow centre stage.
This is a brand new view for PowerPoint and allows you to record your video and/or audio while running through your slideshow, and even allows you to draw on it as you present and speak.
To start recording, simply press the red Record button in the top left of the window and present your content, slide by slide, as if you were in front of your audience. When you’re done, press the Stop button and you’ll be asked if you want to insert the video into your slides. You can still use the video editing tools in PowerPoint but they are still in their infancy so for anything other than basic cropping, you’ll still want to use an external video editing application.
Once you’re done recording, you can preview it in the above window or exit back to your familiar PowerPoint view where you’ll see the video in your slide (as a thumbnail in this example as that’s what we chose to record):
Some good and bad things we noticed here:
– A really cool thing that happens is that as you switch from one slide to another during recording, the live video stream from your webcam is split into chunks corresponding to each of your slides. We like that a lot!
– What we found odd is that the default behaviour of the inserted video object is set to Start : On Click. What? That’s just plain silly as this the whole point of Office Mix is that it’s used to create free running e-learning courses. It would also be nice for the slide transition time to be set automatically based on the timings encountered during the recording.
– There’s probably a good reason for this one but video recording doesn’t appear to be possible for slides containing Interactive Apps (see below).
Screenshot & Screen Recording
The Screenshot button is just a repeat of the same button that already exists in PowerPoint 2013 under the Insert tab so we won’t go into that here.
However, the Screen Recording button is another bonus addition to PowerPoint. It allows you to record part or all of the screen as a video. This is really useful if you want to demonstrate the operation of a website, an app or anything else that’s essentially not static on your desktop.
This is where things get even more interesting. Clicking the cumbersomely named Quizzes Videos Apps button takes you the Microsoft’s Apps for Office store:
There are two things to note here. Firstly that Microsoft is providing some of the apps in the form of quiz question types. And secondly, that 3rd party Apps for Office vendors are building apps for all kinds of interactive content such as scientific education apps to computer coding apps and even a Web Viewer. No doubt, the list will expand in the future so this will be a key area to keep an eye on.
If you decide to use one of the quizzing apps, you’ll need to agree to trust the app and then an Internet-linked editable quiz object will appear on your slide and you can set the question, answers, tips and various other parameters such as the number of retries the user is allowed. We inserted a Multiple Choice Quiz and set it up as follows:
Using this interactive element is the trigger to need to publish the so-called “Mix” on the Office Mix website and the reason you’ll need an Office 365 account to achieve this. That’s because the interactive elements need to communicate with the Microsoft servers in order to record data from the quiz and provide the reporting and analytics features (we haven’t reviewed that yet but will add it to this post when we do).
The Mix Group
When you’re happy with the content you’ve created in PowerPoint, you can use the three buttons in the Mix group on the Mix ribbon tab to Preview the content locally, Upload (publish) it to your Office 365 account (where you can share it privately or publicly) or Export to Video (excluding the interactive apps of course).
When exporting as a video, there’s yet another little gem of a surprise. You’d think that this would be the same as the Export to Video feature in the backstage (File / Export) and while we couldn’t see anything really different in the way it exports to video, there is 4th option for the output quality, Full HD (1080p)!
Whenever there is a critical mass of several 3rd party vendors providing similar functionality via add-ins or standalone apps that may encroach on PowerPoint, Microsoft usually takes notice and does something to address gaps in its market coverage. PowerPoint has long needed better integrated tools for presenter video and quizzing and Office Mix is a great start. Users may take a while to get their heads around the online model that Microsoft is driving us all towards and adapt to it and adopt it. But there’s still a major flaw in the way Microsoft handles time in PowerPoint. The animation “timeline” is a very poor and inadequate implementation for managing the synchronisation of elements on a slide and it doesn’t even manage audio and video bookmarks. TechSmith’s Camtasia Studio has got a good lead in this respect.
If Microsoft really want to get a slice of the e-learning pie, they need to completely rebuild the timeline management part of the PowerPoint user interface. They might also want to consider supporting industry standards for LMS-based e-learning content such as SCORM and/or AIC so that content can be hosted on the client’s preferred LMS hosting platform (but that’s probably not their strategy).
So will it replace the likes of iSpring, Adobe Presenter, Camtasia Studio, Articulate Storyline and others? Not just yet, but it’s definitely heading in the right direction.
Having said that, the first release of Office Mix will delight users who are just starting to create their own e-learning content. We just hope that the first official release addresses some of the issues we encountered.
Aside from all of the above, Microsoft is eating its own dog food by developing this app. It’s a really clever combination of a Visual Studio add-in, coupled with Apps for Office that add new Internet connected panes to the PowerPoint user interface and content apps (e.g. quizzes) to the slides. Perhaps that behind the scenes, Microsoft wanted to make sure that their new app model actually works and it seems it does, very well.
What Does It Cost?
While the claim may be that Office Mix is free, there’s never anything really free in life. You’ll need to have purchased Office 2013 in one of its incarnations but apart from that, yes, it’s free to use regarding the recording facility. You’ll also need an Office 365 subscription if you want to take advantage of the web-based quiz reporting and analytics features.
Where Can I Get It?
Office Mix is still in beta so who knows what it will finally look like but the public Customer Preview phase started back in May 2014 and you can download the current version from here:
Office Mix only works with the latest version of PowerPoint which is 2013. You’ll also need to install the first Service Pack (version 15.0.4569.1507) but don’t worry if you’re not sure if you have it as the installer will let you know:
One last thing to note is that Office Mix doesn’t add any links to the Start / All Programs menu in Windows so you’ll need to use the Control Panel to uninstall it and it’s not prefixed with the usual “Microsoft ” name and simply appears further down the list of programs as “Office Mix”.
If you need help with creating presentation, video and e-learning content in PowerPoint, Camtasia, Articulate Storyline, iSpring or need professionally develped macros and add-ins for Microsoft Office, you need to contact us!
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