1. Perry, William MA, RN

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The Internet has brought the spirit of global communication and collaboration to nurses and other healthcare professionals in ways never before thought possible. These resources are offered to expand your opportunities for discussion, reference, education, and research.


Presentations with images hold a viewer's interest far longer than the dreaded plain bullet-point variety does. With a large number of images, the resulting presentation file size can become so large that it either cannot be e-mailed easily or takes a long time to download and display. A presentation created with the latest version of a software application can pose a problem for someone with an older version unless he/she has the appropriate player. On a happier note, an increasing number of Web-based applications for managing images and delivering presentations may prove useful to clinicians, educators, and administrators.


Although Microsoft PowerPoint (Microsoft, Redmond, WA) has an internal image compression utility to reduce the overall size of the presentation, these Web applications also give you the ability to edit and adjust your pictures. Because they are Web based, they should work with any computer connected to the Internet with a Web browser. It is important to reduce the actual file size of the pictures because shrinking the display area changes only what you see; the file size remains the same. Many commercial image editing software applications have far more features than their Web counterparts do, but I believe that most administrators, clinicians, and educators are looking for a simple and effective way to resize, crop, and add text to pictures.


Picnik ( is available in both a free and fee-based version. You can upload and edit images stored on your computer or on one of the popular file storage applications such as Picasa ( or Flickr ( You can rotate, crop, resize, sharpen, change colors, and create special effects. Once your editing is done, just save the resulting image to your computer. Unless you opt for the fee-based storage area, Picnik does not store your images for later use.


Fotoflexer ( also works with Picasa, Flickr, and other applications and offers a similar set of features for image manipulation and adding text. Fotoflexer also has a paid option that includes a greater variety of special effects that you can apply to your pictures.


Photoshop is an expensive, high-end image creation and editing tool that has long been a gold standard for many graphic artists. Although I have used Photoshop for several years, I have barely scratched the surface of its potential. Photoshop Express ( is one way to use a limited set of features from a well-known application in an online format.


Although not a Web-based application, GIMP, or GNU Image Manipulation Program, belongs in the toolbox of everyone who works with images of any type. It is totally free and is available for PC, Mac, and Linux computers. There is even a version you can install on a flash drive ( You can open Photoshop formatted pictures (.psd files) and the more common picture types found in image libraries and on the Web (.jpg, .gif, and .png).


How do you share your presentations? Do you e-mail them, place them on your institutions' network, or upload to the Internet? There are several options for storing and delivering presentations online.


SlideShare ( is a free service that serves as a repository for PowerPoint presentations. You can add audio to your presentations online. Presentations may be viewed on the SlideShare site, downloaded to your personal computer, or embedded in your Web site or blog. Viewers can comment on your presentation, and there are communities of individuals with common interests.


Google Docs ( and Zoho ( both offer personal storage pace for your presentations and give you the ability to share them with others to either view or collaborate on content. When creating a collaborative presentation, you can review a historical revision list and restore previous versions if necessary. Presentations can be public, private, shared with a group for viewing only, or shared for collaboration.


These tools can help make your presentations easier to manage to send, store, and view by decreasing file size. They can also promote communication and collaboration by providing a common area where colleagues can work on a joint venture unhampered by schedules or time zone.


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William Perry, MA, RN