How To Add A Live Twitter Feed To Your PowerPoint Presentation

Last week I felt like I climbed Mount Everest, in a super nerdy way. While preparing for an upcoming conference presentation, I figured out how to embed a live Twitter feed into my PowerPoint (yes, PPT. Sorry Keynote users, I’m not at your level).

Instructions to do this used to be easy to find in a Google search, but they relied on the Twitter API. After some major changes this year, the tactic was no longer effective. After some brainstorming, I wondered if I could piggy back off of the tools I’ve regularly used to display a backchannel at events (Twitterfall, Visible Tweets, TweetWally, and TweetBeam are good options for that).

Including A Live Twitter Feed In Your Presentation

#1: Determine what type of Twitter feed you want to include

Twitter Search Operators

Use these terms to beef up your Twitter searches. Click to enlarge.

It might be as simple as a hashtag, or you might want to get a little more sophisticated. If you familiarize yourself with the Twitter search operators, you can display a much more sophisticated feed.

One very useful search operator that’s not found in the chart on the left is ‘+’. Using +, you can pull in tweets that only include a certain term. It’s pointless on its own, because that’s how a default search works, but when you combine it with other operators, it becomes powerful. For instance, if you wanted a stream of tweets from me that were about Facebook, you could search for from:lizgross144+facebook. Throw in the ‘AND’ operator and you could search for tweets about the same term from multiple users.

#2: Choose a website to display the Twitter feed

Yup, that’s right. Don’t even think about PowerPoint yet. Choose a website. Your choice will depend on what you want to display and how you want to display it. TweetBeam is visually appealing, but you’re limited at what you can search for (mostly a hashtag, although you can highlight individual users or a list). Note that TweetBeam is only provided free for non-commercial use. Twitterfall provides a lot of options, but you’ll only see each tweet once as it scrolls down and you must be logged in for it to work. Visible Tweets displays tweets one at a time and will accomodate any type of Twitter search. The background color will constantly change, though. TweetWally allows any type of Twitter search but also allows for simpler options. It also includes the option of explanatory text and prominent display of your Twitter account on the right side of the screen. For my purposes, I’d go with Visible Tweets.

Whatever service you choose, get it all set up to display how you’d like and then copy the URL in display mode.

#3: Install the LiveWeb PowerPoint add-in

This was my ah-hah moment. Follow the instructions here to download a simple add-in for PowerPoint. On your office computer that the evil IT staff have locked down? (I jest, my husband is one of those folks.) No fear – it shouldn’t even require administrative rights. Sorry Mac users – this only works on a PC.

#4: Open PowerPoint and choose the slide to display the Twitter feed

Click “Insert –> Web Page” and past the URL you copied from the website of your choice. Because you’ve likely chosen a website that automatically refreshes, you can uncheck the “refresh automatically” box. Then, determine how big you want the display to be on your screen. Think about where you’ll be presenting and how big the web display needs to be so that attendees can see the text of the tweets.

#5: Make sure the add-in is installed on any computer that will use the PowerPoint file

This one is important. If you go to all the work of creating this slide deck, throw it on a flash drive, and use an event-provided computer to give your presentation, it probably wont’ work. The add-in is required to both create and present the presentation. Don’t forget this crucial step.

So, that’s it! It’s really quite easy.

I’d love to hear how you put this technique to use—please share in the comments.

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11 Comments on “How To Add A Live Twitter Feed To Your PowerPoint Presentation

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  4. Liz, I used to use the SAP slide before changed their API. Is there a site that displays searches in that more space effective format (SAP did 3 columns).

    • I suppose you could try playing around with a logged in Tweetdeck account….but for my purposes, I’ve only wanted to display one feed or one tweet at a time, so I haven’t really looked into it.

  5. Hi Liz,

    Thanks for the great post! Love the mention of TweetBeam (I work there), although you’re selling us a bit short. TweetBeam actually also supports all the advanced operators you mentioned, like + or AND.

    You can get access to even more advanced stuff by logging in using your Twitter account on http://www.tweetbeam.com. This allows you to apply advanced filters for blocking words/users and the use of lists you already mentioned.

    Like you said, use of TweetBeam is free for private, non-commercial use. For use at other events, you can contact us for a license through our website.

    One other thing, I first replied to this article through a Facebook post by Powered Templates (https://www.facebook.com/141064456001919/posts/440629729378722). They didn’t mention your blog there, I’m glad I found it anyway.

    Again, thanks for mentioning us and for the good read!

  6. Hi Liz,

    This was an excellent, informative article. That’s obvious by it’s continued prominence in Google searches.

    Since your article was posted there’ve been some new developments. For example, we’ve built a PowerPoint add-in at https://www.liveslides.com/examples/twitter/ that makes it super easy to embed a Twitter feed (any web content really) directly in PowerPoint. Seriously, just a couple steps and you’re ready to roll.

  7. Great article! I wish there were a few other Twitter options out in the world (thank you for listing all the one’s you did!). We like TweetBeam, but as a non-profit can’t begin to afford it for a 5-day conference. Visible Tweets is nice and simple, but you can’t turn off the automation (which isn’t accessible, so I can’t use it for my client).

    Have you come across any others since you posted this article?

    • Thanks for the comment, Sarah! Surprisingly, no – I haven’t come across any new ways to display Tweets publicly. The most recent event I attended (a professional conference of 3,000 people) was using Visible Tweets. I must say, I haven’t done an exhaustive search in quite a while, though.

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