Import Existing Presentations

August 20th, 2008 by Ross

Last week we launched another brand new feature: Import. Now you don’t need to start from scratch to use 280 Slides. Just import one of your existing presentations and get back to work! To get started, you can click the Import button in our Welcome screen, or in the top left of the title bar.

We support PowerPoint 2003 (PPT), PowerPoint 2007 (PPTX), and Open Document Format (ODP) files, up to a maximum size of 25MB. 

You should also know, we’ve worked hard to make the transition as seamless as possible by not only importing your slides, but your masters and layouts as well, so that you can continue editing your presentation as if you’d never switched programs at all.

This has been our number one user requested feature since the day we launched, and we’re incredibly pleased to be able to provide it for you all. We’ve tested hundreds of existing presentations from around the net to offer the best experience we possibly can when working with your existing documents, but if you happen to come across one that isn’t up to your standards, send it to us at and we’ll get right on it.

New Website

August 16th, 2008 by Ross

After working on it (and not) for weeks, we’re finally launching our new web site at The site will be our company home, and will host up to date information on all the projects we’re working on, including 280 Slides and Cappuccino.

The 280 North Blog has been redesigned to fit in with the new site, including an overhaul of the comment system, which is now powered by Disqus (a fellow YC company).

The site itself is brand new, so we’ll be continuing to update and improve it. If you find any bugs, don’t hesitate to send them to us.

We owe plenty of thanks to our friends at MetaLab Design. They helped us with and, and are really top notch designers. I strongly recommend them.

I’d also like to give a belated thank you to Miles Ponson, who made many of the graphics for 280 Slides, including the main icon.

Now With Notes

August 2nd, 2008 by Ross


Yesterday we launched another set of updates to 280 Slides. This time, the big new feature is presenter notes! Now you can make annotations along with your slides, and then refer back to them when you give your presentation.  

Just tap the new notes icon in the toolbar, and your notes will appear on the right hand side. When you go into Present mode, you’ll get a separate pop-up window with your notes that you can position wherever you like, or just close if you’re not interested. Notes are exported with PowerPoint, too, so you can use 280 Slides and still take advantage of the great speaker mode features in PowerPoint.

Also included in the release are centering guides (the pretty blue lines in the picture above) and autosave. Now, if you’re browser crashes, or you lose your internet connection in the middle of a save, or if anything at all goes wrong, you’ll be able to restore from a recent version and keep on working.  

Autosaved documents show up with a warning badge in the Open Panel.  When you open one, you’ll have the opportunity to restore either the autosave or the original. Just remember, autosave is a recovery tool, not a replacement for regular saving. You should still manually save, just like you do in your desktop programs. 

280 Slides Gets Smarter About Links (With Help From oEmbed)

June 25th, 2008 by Ross

You’ve probably heard about Firefox 3’s new Awesome Bar feature.  280 Slides has an “awesome bar” of its own.  One of the ways to get your media into 280 Slides is to enter the URL.  Before today, this only worked on images. Now, if you enter the URL of your favorite YouTube movie, we’ll add the actual movie right to your slide. Like this one:

Enter a URL to add media to 280 Slides

It’s not just for YouTube though, we’ve implemented a new protocol called oEmbed. Any link that comes from a site that supports oEmbed will behave the same way in 280 Slides. Here’s just a few of the examples of things that you can paste directly into 280 Slides:

And there’s quite a few more.  The list of oEmbed supporters is still relatively small, but as it continues to grow, we’ll get smarter and smarter!  Of course, we still support direct image links, as well as direct flash links (as best we can), meaning, if you want, you can even embed your favorite flash game right into your slide.  

So, go ahead and try it out.  Just enter a URL and see what happens.  If you wind up trying one we don’t support yet, send us a note, or leave a comment here.  If you’re a web developer, consider adding oEmbed support to your site (and send us a note when you do).  It’s easy to implement, and the benefits are obvious.

Update: I should have also mentioned that Deepak over at is providing a great proxy service by implementing oEmbed support for several sites that don’t have offer it on their own.  We’re using it in 280 Slides, and I hope they keep adding new sites!

Go Fullscreen with Plainview

June 19th, 2008 by Ross

One of the great ways to give your presentation is by downloading it as a PowerPoint file and using Microsoft’s free PowerPoint viewer. But you can actually use our built-in present mode and still go fullscreen! All you have to do is use a cool little application called Plainview. With Plainview, you can present in fullscreen and even use a remote control. Plainview has a bunch of other useful features, so the next time you want to give your presentation on a Mac, try out it out, it’s free!

View presentations in fullscreen with Plainview.

On Ramp: Launching 280 Slides

June 15th, 2008 by 280north

Last week, after about five months of hard work, we launched the public beta of our first application, 280 Slides, which lets you create presentations quickly and easily right in the browser.

280 Slides is designed to really look and feel like the desktop based applications people are used to. We paid attention to the little things, like cmd-z to undo (or ctrl-z for Windows users), copy and paste that works on everything from pictures to shapes and slides (instead of just text), and snappy performance for complex tasks like rotating and resizing (and everything else).

It’s not just about recreating the desktop in the browser though. Being on the web allows us to build in great features that are difficult to do in desktop applications. For example, your presentations are stored “in the cloud” so you can access them from any computer connected to the Internet. We’re also able to take advantage of great services like Flickr and YouTube, putting the media of the web right at your fingertips, just a quick search away. Best of all, when you’re done creating, you can share your presentation using SlideShare, e-mail, or directly through our viewer.

Of course, sometimes you may not have the Internet with you, and you shouldn’t have to take any chances. That’s why we made it really easy to download a copy of your presentation as a PowerPoint file that works with the most popular desktop presentation software there is. We took extra care in making sure that your presentations looked as good when exported as they do in 280 Slides.

Launch day wasn’t without its surprises (like, losing our Internet connection 30 minutes after TechCrunch posted our launch announcement), but perhaps the biggest surprise for us was how quickly people picked up on a key piece of our technology, Objective-J. We talked a little bit about Objective-J in an interview with Ajaxian, but you can expect a lot more to come in the future.

In the last week since launch, we’ve fixed dozens of bugs, and responded to thousands of e-mails and feature requests. Rest assured, we’re working hard on improving 280 Slides. We’ve got a lot of things in the works (yes, importing is one of them), but we’re always interested in hearing what our users want most, so let us know!

280 Slides (beta) is live!

June 5th, 2008 by Tom

We’re proud to announce the public beta of our first product, 280 Slides:

Check back soon for more details. We’re busy making sure everything works!