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Must Have PowerPoint Add-In of the Century: The Hammer Tool

Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.”

Could it be? Have we unlocked the power of Thor in PowerPoint?

Although we may sometimes be prone to exaggeration and hyperbole…who says we can’t be Thors in PowerPoint, with our almighty Hammer Tool?!

Okay, in all seriousness, the Hammer Tool is a PowerPoint add-in created by Steve Rindsberg of PPTools.com, and it’s a MUST-HAVE tool we wish we’d found out about years ago!

In this article, you learn how to:

  • Download and install the StarterSet add-in (which includes the Hammer Tool)
  • Trouble-shoot any installation issues
  • Uninstall the StarterSet add-in

To see how to use the Hammer Tool, check out our other article here

Part 1: Downloading and Installing the Add-In

Step #1. Download the add-in

Navigate to the PPTools download page at either www.pptools.com/downloads.htm or www.pptools.com/index.html

Note: You need the‘.htm’  or the ‘.html’ at the end of the respective links to work

Once on Steve’s site you can see all of the different add-ins you can download. You want to scroll down the page until you see the StarterSet add-in, that’s the free pack that the Hammer Tool is a part of.

To download the hammer tool, select the StarterSet Free PowerTools for PowerPoint option

Step #2. Install the add-in

With the StarterSet file downloaded (it should be in the downloads folder on your computer), open the ‘StarterSet.Exe’ file to begin the installation.

Note: PowerPoint needs to be closed during this process for the installer to work. Simply click your way through the dialog boxes, as demonstrated below. You also need to have the 32-bit installation of Office. The 64-bit version is not supported with this add-in.

The installation dialog box showing you that the PPTools starterset is installing

Step #3. Open up PowerPoint

With the add-in installed, open up PowerPoint and look for the ADD-INS tab in your Ribbon. If you click on it, you should see all of the different tools, including the Hammer Tool, there in your Ribbon.

Click the Add-ins tab in PowerPoint to see all the custom toolbars and commands you get with the PPTools add-in

The two tools be aware of are the Memorize Position command:

Example of the command icon for memorizing an object's position in PowerPoint using the PPTools add-in

The two tools be aware of are the Memorize Position command:

Example of the hammer command icon that you will find on the PPTools add-in

To see the Hammer Tool in action, check out our other post on how to align objects between your slides.

If you followed along but DON’T see all of these commands, you will want to double-check your macro security settings, which is the next part of this article.

Part 2: Troubleshooting the installation

If you’ve installed the add-in but don’t see it on your Ribbon, you will want to quickly double-check your PowerPoint macro security settings.

I’ve created the picture tutorial below for doing so, based on FAQ instructions on Steve Rindsberg’s website.

Step #1: Navigate to your file menu options

For PowerPoint 2010 and 2013 users, navigate to the File tab (for PowerPoint 2007, click the office button). In the File menu select Options.
Click the File tab and select Options to open the PowerPoint options dialog box

Step #2: Open the Trust Center

Within the Options dialog box, select Trust Center on the left, and then Trust Center Settings on the right.

In the PowerPoint Options, select the trust center on the left and click Trust Center Settings on the right

Step #3: Adjust the Trust Center settings

Within the Trust Center settings dialog box, make the following adjustments:
  1. Add-ins – Uncheck all of the boxes
  2. Macro Settings  Select “Disable all macros except digitally signed macros”
  3. Message Bar  Select “Show the Message Bar in all applications…”
  4. File Block Settings (PPT 2010 users only) – Uncheck all boxes for the add-in file types.
Examples of the recommend settings for your add-ins, macros settings, and message bar settings
In PowerPoint 2010 you want to uncheck all of the boxes in the File Block settings options

Step #4: Double-check the settings in PowerPoint

With the macro settings adjusted, the commands should be back in place. If the commands are still not there, try the following steps:

  • Option #1: First try closing and re-opening PowerPoint, this might solve the problem
  • Option #2: Try re-installing the add-in, see Part 1 above
  • Option #3: Uninstall the add-in (see below steps) and then re-install the add-in
  • Option #4: Check out the other troubleshooting steps on Steve’s website

Part 3. Uninstalling the add-in

  • You shouldn’t ever need this step, but I thought I would include it anyway.

    If for whatever reason you want to uninstall the free add-in, it comes with its own uninstaller, which is located on your computer at this address: C:\Users\Public\Documents\PPTools

Step #1: Navigate to the proper file location

Note: In the picture below, the ‘Documents’ file on my computer is actually called ‘Public Documents’

To navigate to the PPTools options on your computer, select Users, Public, Public Documents and then PPTools
To launch the uninstaller to remove the PPTools starterset, click the uninstall command icon

Once the add-in is uninstalled, you can re-install it again at any time following the instructions in Part 1.

Post Update

The Hammer Tool only works with the 32-bit installation of Office. If you have the 64-bit version, the add-in will not work.

P.S. Microsoft warns against installing 64-bit Office 2010 unless you really need it. It’s an older article, but you will catch the drift. Unless you know you specifically need it, you shouldn’t install it, period.

See more of Microsoft’s thoughts on that here.

What’s Next?

This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. Stacey White

    This is such a magical tool and exactly serves the purpose of “hammering” in an effective way.

    1. Camille Holden

      Thanks Stacey! We LOVE this tool and were excited to be able to share it with everyone. Cheers, Camille

  2. Keith Bortoluzzi

    I also like Power-user for PowerPoint (powerusersoftwares.com).
    It has a great number of features, giving access to icons, maps, Gantt Charts, Waterfalls, slides templates, in addition to formatting tools that saves hours to frequent PowerPoint users.
    How do you feel about it ?

    1. Camille Holden

      Hey Keith, thanks so much for the tip. Looks like they sell a lot of useful plugins. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Peter Müller

    Wow very nice! I will try and check it out. In the meantime I have found something very promissing. But there is nothing to download yet. You can only sign-up for a free beta copy or a discount on the final product. Check it out: http://www.pp-speed.com

    1. Camille Holden

      Thanks for the comment, Peter. And happy you enjoyed the add-in & tutorial. Thanks for sharing this add-in, looks interesting. Cheers!

  4. Alexey Maslov

    I think INPRES service is really best one for powerpoint polling and making other interactive things in your presentation
    I use it constantly. Here you can read more about it – inpres.com

  5. Dave

    You do realize you got through nearly the entire post before you explained what the tool you were going on about actually did ?

  6. Sandra Shill

    When I tried to run the installation, it said “The publisher of STARTERSET.EXE couldn’t be verified” and, when I told it to run the installation anyway, I got a message that it was blocked by group policy. (The latter may be because I don’t have administrator access to my work computer, but, I’m concerned that it will be difficult to make the case to the powers that be that this is safe to install, etc., because of the lack of publisher verification.) Is this something you can fix? I’d LOVE to be able to use your tools – they sound GREAT and like they’d save me tons of time in my work!

    1. Camille Holden

      Hi Sandra! Sadly, I don’t have a fix for you for this issue. You’ll have to resolve it with your IT department.
      As Steve mentions in the troubleshooting page for his add-in, “If your user account has restricted privileges, you may not be able to install StarterSet. The StarterSet installer makes several registry entries to tell PowerPoint to load it at startup. If StarterSet doesn’t appear anywhere in PowerPoint after it’s installed, this is likely the problem.
      To get around this problem, right-click the StarterSet installer program, choose Run As Administrator and if necessary, supply the necessary administrator password. OR Have an administrator temporarily grant you super-user or administrator privileges, install StarterSet, then change your privileges back to normal.”
      Read more about it here: http://www.pptools.com/starterset/FAQ00019.htm
      Hope you can convince your admin to grant you access to this, Sandra!

      1. Sandra Shill

        Thanks, Camille, for your response. HOWEVER, as I mentioned in my original comment, while I might be able to get admin access to my machine, it will be difficult to convince the powers that be to let me install it, because of the lack of publisher verification. That’s really the part that I was trying to draw to your attention and, hopefully, have someone fix.
        Thanks, again, for taking the time to respond and for doing it so quickly! 🙂

        1. Camille Holden

          Yes, I understand Sandra. Sadly there’s nothing I can do about that…or that Steve can do about that, although you can always ask him. But hopefully you can still try to convince them that this plugin is necessary to your work. Good luck 🙂

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