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Transfer data from website to powerpoint template automatically

My boss gave me a requirement based on some program he saw on a visit to another company.
We have a website with some financial information and he wants to produce a PowerPoint presentation with the information on our website.
This is how he described it.  The page has buttons at the bottom and when you click on the buttons you use a PowerPoint API to transfer the data currently on the textbox/textareas of the web page to a specific PowerPoint template.
I'm an expert with JavaScript/AJAX, C#, ColdFusion etc.  But I don't recall seeing an API that allows you to transfer or embed information from Internet Explorer to PowerPoint.  I remember a product in the past called Microsoft Dashboard but that was replaced with Sharepoint and I'm not so sure that either one was capable of doing just that.

I'm thinking maybe I can connect to the same database as the website is connected to and maybe get the same results.

Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions?

Our server is Windows, IIS, ColdFusion.
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edsanz
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edsanz
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1 Solution
 
Scott BennettCommented:
In microsoft office 2007 there is a way to manipulate word, excel, and powerpoint files using xml.

http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/office/aa905549.aspx

I have not tried it yet because I don't have office 2007, but from what I have read it should be possible to do using coldfusion to write the xml files. Download the documention for the xml schema here:

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=15805380-f2c0-4b80-9ad1-2cb0c300aef9&displaylang=en

Since you have some expertise in c# you may be able to utilize that to help you in this project as well if coldfusion has some limitations. There are COM object interfaces that you can use to interact with powerpoint as well, but unless you are programming in VB there are sometimes limitations on how easy it is to use.
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GlennaShawCommented:
How you approach this depends on how the web page is constructed.  As you mentioned, if the web site is displaying data from a database you could pull the data from there.  Or you could programtically scan through the web page, extract the text you're looking for and populate your slide with the data.
At any rate here are 2 references to help you:
The Full MSDN Reference Library for developing Office Solutions:
http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms400535.aspx
PowerPoint VB:
http://pptfaq.com/index.html#name_PROGRAMMING_POWERPOINT
 
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GlennaShawCommented:
BTW, is there anyone you can call at the company where your boss saw it?  If you could talk to the developer of what your boss actually saw that might be the best approach.
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edsanzAuthor Commented:
I called them and they said it was developed a long time ago so the person that built it is not there anymore.  I think they just don't want to tell me.  I will look into the links you both sent me.
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edsanzAuthor Commented:
Sorry, I forgot to mention we're using Office 2003 and according to the IT director here we won't upgrade to Office 2007 in the near future.
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Scott BennettCommented:
I just found this DataPoint prodcuct online. If your website data is in a database then you could use a product like this to generate your powerpoint presentations and pull the data from your database dynamically.

http://www.presentationpoint.com/software/datapoint/index.htm

the standard edition is $349 so that's probably cheaper then trying to reinvent the wheel yourself.
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GlennaShawCommented:
I think I may know how it's being done.
I believe the button on the web page is code that downloads a csv or xls file with the formatted data onto the user's PC.  This file is linked to the PowerPoint presentation template and is dynamically updated from the downloaded file everytime the PowerPoint file is opened.  It's actually quite simple once you think about it.  With your aforementioned skills it seems writing the code for the web page to create the file wouldn't be hard for you.  You just need to make sure it's the same file name and file location every time.
Here's some info about linking excel data into a PowerPoint presentation:
http://pptfaq.com/FAQ00593.htm
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