Top 10 Presentation Tools, Apps & Utilities
Often, while I am presenting material during one of my courses, I receive questions from my students about the specific presentation tools, utilities, and applications that I like to use, and many times, the students have never heard of them.
So, I thought I'd provide a brief list and explanation of my top 10 presentation tools, apps & utilities. Side note: I've discovered many of these tools by observing other instructors, so I'm certainly not taking credit for any of these, but rather paying the information forward!
You may find these utilities especially useful if you ever need to give an online presentation. And, be sure to practice and experiment with them first.
Allows for drawing and adding text to the screen, as well as zooming in on sections of a screen. I use this to highlight specific info in demonstrations. It can be used to create brief documents and sketches as well. You can select colors, text size and create specific shapes. Very useful. It's part of the sysinternals suite for Windows. Learn more about ZoomIt.
A quick and easy screenshotting tool that allows you set a default storage location for your screenshots, rather than steps in the more time-consuming Windows interface. Quick and easy! Learn more about Lightscreen.
This is my preferred PDF reader, and I use it to annotate my copies of the courseware. I can add notes of topics I want to be sure to discuss in class, or highlight particularly important areas of the text. In my Enterprise Linux courses, I use this tool to actually present (rather than PPTs) and at the end of the week, I offer whatever notes, highlights, sketches, etc. I've added to the PDF to my students for their own use. Learn more about Foxit.
Another great tool from the essential sysinternals suite, BackGround Info publishes system information to the desktop, allowing you to quickly identify which workstation you're on, IP address, memory and storage statistics, etc. Especially useful for servers when you're using Remote Desktop to bounce from server to server, this tool ensures you know which box you're looking at. Learn more about BGInfo.
I don't share my course files publicly through Dropbox, but I have committed to using Dropbox as my cloud storage or Storage-as-a-Service solution. This makes it easy to access all my content from my Windows computers, my Macs, and my Linux machine from anywhere: home, the coffee shop, or wherever I might be. Learn more about Dropbox.
I mainly use this as a demo tool rather than as a practical utility, but it can be very good for checking the quality of a connection. Try it with pathping 188.8.131.52 (be patient, this could take a minute or two to complete!). Learn more about PathPing.
7. ipconfig /all
This is a great utility to view your IP address settings, and I always include the /all switch with it so that I get the most detail (DHCP server, lease information, DNS servers, etc). Learn more about ipconfig /all.
The go-to CLI for Windows nowadays, I rarely use the old cmd.exe environment. PowerShell recognizes the older DOS-like commands in addition to its own robust cmdlet commands. Learn more about PowerShell.
9. Additional Clocks on Desktop
I live in Mountain time but deliver to students from coast-to-coast (and even outside the US). It's useful to quickly reference their local time, so I keep four clocks on my primary desktop, each pointed to a different time zone. You can do this by clicking the digital clock in the System Notification Area, then choosing Change Date and Time Settings. From there, open the tab that reads Additional Clocks and you can build and label clocks to show on the desktop. They can be dragged to where ever is convenient. Learn more about adding additional clocks to desktop.
Great for verifying what you downloaded is identical to what the web server was offering. Important to ensure the integrity and security of your downloads, especially larger ISO images, etc. Learn more about winmd5free.
So that's my list of the top 10 presentation tools that I use quite frequently. I hope this is useful to anyone giving presentations, and of course, I would like to hear of any other additional useful utilities that I did not mention. Leave a comment below, or talk to me in class!
Author: Damon Garn, Technical Instructor
MCT, MCSA, MCITP:SA, MCSE:S, CloudMASTER, RHCSA, ITIL, Linux+/LPIC-1, Security+, Network+, A+
Damon has nearly 16 years of experience as a classroom and online instructor, specializing in Windows Server and Linux courses. He is an experienced admin who enjoys empowering students with knowledge and ideas. He enjoys hiking, mountain biking, and playing guitar.
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