Interview: Gil Segal

ToolsToo v8

Gil Segal
Gil Segal

Gil Segal is the creator of ToolsToo and a senior software consultant. Gil is always on the lookout for ways to automate manual tasks in any software he uses and has been a PowerPoint power-user since the mid-90s.

In this interview, Gil talks about the new ToolsToo v8 add-in for PowerPoint.

Geetesh: ToolsToo’s new version is 8, and that means your PowerPoint add-in has been around for a long time. What according to you is the reason for its success?

Gil: ToolsToo’s roots go way back to 2000 so you could say this year marks its 20th anniversary and 2019 was ToolsToo’s best year yet in terms of licenses sold!

I believe the main reason for ToolsToo’s success is that it provides tremendous value to its users. It does this by making it easier and faster to create high-quality PowerPoint slides. ToolsToo automates tasks that are either tedious or impossible to do precisely by hand. Some of the more notable examples of this include:

Make Same Table Format: (new in v8) Copies the formatting from a table to other tables

Make Same Rounded Corner: Copies the exact arc of the rounded corners from a shape to other shapes

Add to Group: Adds one or more shapes to an existing group while preserving the group’s animation and front-to-back sequencing

Replicate: Replicates the selected shapes in a grid pattern

Make Same Motion Path End: Applies the end-point from a shape’s motion path to the motion paths of other shapes

Copy to Motion Path End: Copies shapes to the end-points of their motion paths

Reset Motion Path Start: Resets motion path start points to shape centers

Copy Agenda Slide: Copies agenda slides to all other agenda slides and highlights topic progression

Reformat Slides: Corrects slide colors after pasting slides from a different deck

Consolidate Layouts: Consolidates layouts from multiple masters, by name

Each of the ToolsToo tools can save the user hours of editing time, and with more than 100 tools, ToolsToo is a bargain at under US $20!

Geetesh: Version 8 has many amazing features, and I see myself using the Select Same tools so often! Can you share your thoughts about this tool, and other new features?

Gil: ToolsToo v8 is a large incremental version. It features a reimagined Ribbon interface and 19 new tools, most of which originated in customer requests.

The new interface is designed to make the tools more visible and thus more consumable. As you can see in Figure 1, ToolsToo version 7’s cluttered Ribbon featured lots of small icons.

Figure 1: ToolsToo 7.2 Ribbon with UI mode set to Expert

This been replaced in version 8 with menus which are sub-divided into sections featuring both icons and text. This makes it easier to find tools and makes the interface more scalable to better accommodate even more tools in the future.

ToolsToo v8 New Ribbon
Figure 2: ToolsToo v8 Ribbon

The Select Same tools are new to ToolsToo v8. These tools came from a customer request. They enable you to select shapes on a slide that match the selected criteria. For example, imagine a slide with many shapes of various colors. Let’s say you are trying to select all the blue rectangles. Instead of manually hunting through the shapes on the slide to select just the blue rectangles, simply check that you have First Shape set as the Reference Shape option, select one of the blue rectangles, then click Select Same Fill to select all the blue shapes and lastly click Select Same Shape to select the rectangles among the blue shapes already selected. For complex slides with lots of shapes, this is far preferable and less error-prone than manually selecting the desired shapes. The Select Same tools have been the most popular of the new features, so far. Users love them!

An additional tool that was requested by customers is the Make Same Table Format tool. Matching table formats is quite tedious as there are many options to set. The Make Same Table Format tool gets it done with a single click.

Yet another customer request was to be able to set the title for multiple slides at one time. This was satisfied by adding the Set Title tool.

ToolsToo v8 also features new tools to hide selected shapes and to hide all but the selected shapes. The latter tool enables you to focus on a specific set of shapes by temporarily removing all the clutter around them. You can then revert to showing all the shapes by clicking on the Show All tool.

Guide tools are another welcome addition in ToolsToo v8. These enable you to save and restore your current set of guides: the presentation-level guides, the layout-level guides for the layout used by the current slide, and the master-level guides for the slide master used by the current slide. The Remove Guides tool gives you the ability to easily remove all the guides for one or more of the guide levels while leaving the rest. The Remove All Guides tool removes all guides throughout the presentation. This is particularly useful when you receive a template that has guides left in by the graphic designer and you want to set your own.

One final new tool worth saying a few words about is the Word Count tool. Like the Word Count feature available in Microsoft Word, the ToolsToo Word Count tool counts words, characters, and paragraphs in the selected objects or text.

With all these new capabilities and the redesigned interface, ToolsToo v8 is the most productive and user-friendly version to-date. As mentioned above, many of the tools in ToolsToo were inspired by customer requests, so keep sending in your ideas!