Control PowerPoint from MIDI, OSC or StreamDeck

One of the device additiations in Central Control 1.2 is Microsoft’s infamous PowerPoint. This allows us to use any supported device in Central Control to drive your presentation. Maybe you want to use TouchOSC as a wireless clicker or you just can’t quite remember the lyrics to your hits so you need to control PowerPoint using MIDI control from Ableton. Let’s find out how to do it.

Central Control main window adding a PowerPoint device to project

First, we’ll add a PowerPoint device to our Central Control project by click Add Device, and then navigating to PowerPoint. Once this is done, ensure PowerPoint is running on the Central Control system, and then we can use the toggle switch to turn the device on. The next step is to add the relevant device for our desired controller. For this example I will be using an Akai APC Mini. I’ll repeat the steps as before to add this to my project, and then once this is done, select the relevant MIDI ports for the controller. After that, turn this device on too.

We are now ready to start mapping controls. To do this we’ll select the APC Mini, and then click “Device Mapping”. This is where all control assignments are made. In the top left there is a list of controls. If we know the name of the control we want to map to, we can simply scroll through this list to find it. If not, turn on “Jump To Control”. With this on, pressing the desired control will automatically scroll and select it in this list. Once a control has been selected, we can now start assigning commands.

Central Control mapping window assigning PowerPoint commands to an APC Mini

We’ll start by assigning the Previous slide button to the first button. Click the “Previous Slide” in the avaliable list of commands, and then “Add Command”. Then, we will assign the “Next Slide” command to the second button. If you press these buttons, you will now be able to navigate through the presentation. If your controller has LED feedback you’ll also note that these buttons light up to show if it is possible to go to the Next/Previous slide. With this done, we’ll now map an entire row of buttons to select specific slides in the presentation. To do this, we will select the first button in the row we wish to assign, in this case it’s “Matrix 8,1”. Select the “Go To Slide” command and the commands parameters will appear on the right hand side. Before clicking Add Command we will turn on Quick Assign. With this done, click Add Command until you have assigned all of the desired buttons. Note that with Quick Assign on as you click Add Command, it will automatically select the next control and automatically assign the increment the values of relevant parameters. The Go To Slide command also provides feedback, with the relevant button lighting up based on the selected slide.

And that’s it! Although this uses a MIDI controller as an example, it is a near identical process to map to another support device in Central Control – OSC, StreamDeck, an Xbox Controller or even HTTP requests.