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Microsoft has unveiled a preview for Office Mix, a new application that brings interactivity and analytics to PowerPoint presentations.

The add-on allows users to record audio, video and handwriting, or create interactive elements such as quizzes, and insert them into presentations.

It also features a screen-capture tool, so users can record actions on their PC and add them into a presentation.

Office Mix saves the presentation to the cloud, and it can be shared via a link. The analytic feedback element provides information such as who watched the presentation or how they performed in the quizzes.

The service is particularly targeted towards teachers, with Microsoft saying ‘mixed’ presentations work “great in blended or flipped learning situations”.
“We’ve seen teachers use Office Mix to help get absent students up to date,” Microsoft said. “If a student misses a lesson you can just have them watch it at home, or wherever in the world they are. It’s also a great way to have students review material or get extra material that doesn’t apply to everyone in the class.

According to Microsoft, the add-on works best with touchscreen PCs and webcams, and users without touchscreens will not be able to use the handwriting capture function.
All the services included in Office Mix are free, however Office 2013 Service Pack 1 is required. An Office 365 subscription lets users view “mixes” on their Macs and other devices as well.

Currently only those who have been given an access code by Microsoft can sign in to see the preview. Those without a code are redirected to the Microsoft Connect website to register for the extended preview when it’s available.