In our new FAQ section we discuss a frequently asked question that we get in at our helpdesk. This time we were asked how to use linked pictures for events on slides and we want to share this question and its possible solutions with you.
I am working with a small concert venue that wants to display upcoming performances along with an artist image associated with that performance. The schedule is stored in an Access database and I understand how to make that work with DataPoint. I plan to let the user store the location of the image in an Access table – but not the image itself.  However, I am unclear how to best present the images that are associated with each performance into PowerPoint using DataPoint.

So this user is using a Microsoft Access database to store its information. That is great already, because a Microsoft Access database is a good way to store your information, better than a simple unstructured Microsoft Excel datasheet.

Typically with a database, you should have an ID or unique identifier. For an auto-number column, this typically needed. This references a unique data row in your table, and this is added and incremented automatically.

First, let’s have a closer look at how the database should look like.  Here you can see the table with all events.  The minimum columns that we will expect are  ID, name, begin and end date(time).

And then we probably will find a query where we get all the data from the table where the end date of the events is in the future.  So by this, we are eliminating events that are over.
Then with Data Point you will create a connection to this Microsoft Access database and set up a link to this query.  After that, you can see a preview of this event data in your data preview pane.  This data is now available in memory of your presentation, and you can now start linking text boxes and tables to this data.
That is how the Microsoft Access database potentially can look like. We have 2 possible implementations in mind. Let’s explore both.

Use the ID or Autonumber column

This user wants to display a featured image per event. So, here we can have a 1.jpg for the first event, 2.jpg for the second event and so on. You just need to set up one folder where you drop in all the corresponding images.  So that when you add a new event to your database, with the ID value 7, then you can create or copy a file name 7.jpg in that folder.

On your slide, first insert a normal picture as a kind of placeholder.  Click the Insert tab and click the Pictures button.  Then, browse to your dummy or placeholder image and place it on your slide.  With DataPoint you already have a connection to your Microsoft Access database and a query set up to your event table or event query.

Select the picture and click DataPoint and then Picture button.  It will ask you to convert this normal static PowerPoint picture into a dynamic DataPoint picture. Then, click Yes.

Then go to picture properties, set it to use your connection and the ID or autonumber column.
Look at the options group.  We suggest to choose the option Filename only.  Click the Browse button in the folder text box and navigate to the folder where you have your concert images.  Click OK to select the folder. Or leave it folder text box open for the current or same folder as where the presentation is located.  Type in the .jpg as extension.

When everything is set correct, you can see a preview.

Hit OK on the picture property form and the previously static PowerPoint picture. It is now dynamically linked to the first image of the events database.

Use a picture column

The second option is when you add a new column to your table where you store the filename in, like so.

In the picture properties, we don’t choose the ID column, but we pick the picture column here.
Note that we did set the option to Filename and extension.  Therefore,  we can only set the folder where these images are read from.

This is how you set up dynamic pictures, linked to your database values. Now, start adding text boxes to show the name of the show, date, pricing and ticketing info, and so on.

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