How to make PowerPoint work with Chromecast and Mac-flavored equipment.

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Question: How do you make PowerPoint work with a Chromecast when you’re using a Mac computer/iPad?

Answer: You don’t.

Better answer: You can, but not the way you think.

Problem: I usually used my Apple TV puck to mirror the screen on my iPad to display a PowerPoint class/event schedule on repeat loop. (I also needed to use a PowerPoint presentation for teaching a class, which I manually advanced with a remote control clicker displayed from my laptop to the Apple TV puck.) There was a large TV on the wall at the facility, and an HDMI cable, so I would plug the Apple TV puck into that and go.

However, it required me to be on-site to do it, and drag my $100 Apple TV puck there. Instead of making them buy an Apple TV, it was easier for them to get a $35 Chromecast. (Plus, I’m the only one with Mac-flavored equipment.) Fortunately, the TV in question had a spare HDMI port, so I could leave the existing cable plugged in and accessible. (The TV is mounted about 8 feet up on the wall.)

Yes, there are some apps out there that supposedly work with PowerPoint and Chromecast.

Here’s a heads-up: they don’t. Not really, and not without you having to hand over a shit-ton of log-in info, etc. to like your Google accounts, which I’m not comfortable with some unknown third-party app having access to.

Also, I do have a Galaxy tablet, but still, the apps don’t really work that well to show PowerPoint presentations.

Solution: After (as the graphic shows) a lot of trial and a shitload of error, I finally found a solution. For the scrolling calendar/event schedule, I was able, in PowerPoint, to use File/Save As and save the file as a video file and upload that to YouTube (which works MAHVELOUSLY with Chromecast). And that’s even better, because the desktop computer on-site can then cast the video without me even being there. (You need to use the Chrome browser, AND install the Chromecast extension.)

There’s also a code you can use to loop a video continuously on YouTube so it doesn’t play something else, or stop after one play:

https://www.youtube.com/v/VIDEO_ID?version=3&loop=1&playlist=VIDEO_ID

Where it says VIDEO_ID in those two places, you insert the actual video code.

Here’s a video that explains it:

Yes, I know there are other sites that will auto-repeat a video from YouTube. The thing is, I don’t like going to outside sources/websites. I’m paranoid about malware and stuff. If I can just as easily do it directly, I do.

So, once I had the schedule’s PowerPoint saved as a video, and uploaded that to YouTube, I was able to use that code to play the video over and over in a Chrome browser tab. Then I could cast just that tab to the Chromecast, and it repeats as long as I need it to. You can even split the tab off from the main browser window if you have more than one tab open, minimize it, and it’ll still play.

Now, the second part of that problem was a little trickier–teaching with a PowerPoint presentation. Yes, I could have used the YouTube app on my iPad, uploaded the video, and then start/stopped it from my iPad Chromecast controller.

Or, I could drag my Apple Puck there. (Sort of defeats the purpose.)

Um, no.

Much easier and elegant solution: a $10 HDMI to Thunderbolt adapter cable from Amazon (versus about $40 from the Apple store). I can just hook that to the end of the HDMI cable and then plug that directly to my laptop, use the TV as a second screen, and run my presentation that way.

“But, why can’t you just do that in the first place for the schedule?” you ask.

Because a) sometimes I’m not there, and b) it would mean manually hooking my laptop up to the TV every time, and that’s not a feasible option for the calendar/schedule crawl.

Also, apparently you could save the PowerPoint presentation as a series of image slides and broadcast it that way, but I wanted to preserve the timing and transitions.

And that, my friends, is what’s called a workaround. My friends were laughing at me because for several hours (yes, I’m a stubborn Taurus, so what?) they were getting texts from me that looked like this: “It’s not working…dammit…oh, I think I got it…no…crap…shit…IT’S WORKING! MUWAHA–…DAMMIT it’s NOT repeating, hold on…dammit…IT’S WORKING…nope, wait…NOW it’s wor— dammit…”

But, yes, now it really IS working. And I wrote down the instructions, step-by-step, so if I’m not there, anyone who is there can set it up. (And I had other people try it to make sure the instructions made sense and it worked.)

There’s nothing so geeky as several of us standing in front of a damn TV, doing fist-pumps because a schedule is scrolling on repeat on the thing.

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