Using a remote with Impress

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Presenters often desire to use some sort of remote-control device to advance slides or perform other functions while giving their talks. Beginning with NeoOffice 2.2.4 Patch 3, NeoOffice supports using the Apple Remote or the Keyspan Front Row Remote to start, stop, and move through a slideshow in NeoOffice Impress. (NeoOffice uses the Remote Control Wrapper open source framework from Martin Kahr to provide integration with these remotes.) If you do not have one of these remotes or a supported Macintosh, one of the older remote-control solutions may still enable you to control Impress remotely.


Using NeoOffice's Built-in Remote Control Support

If your Mac has support for Front Row or you have the Keyspan Front Row Remote, starting with NeoOffice 2.2.4 Patch 3 you can use the Apple Remote or the Keyspan Front Row remote controller to start, stop, and move through a slideshow in NeoOffice Impress.

When an Impress window is the active window in NeoOffice, pressing the Start/Pause (â–¶||) button on your Front Row remote controller will start a slideshow.

When a slideshow is already running, the following actions are available:

  • Pressing the Track Forward (▶▶|) button will move forward a slide
  • Pressing the Track Backward (|◀◀) button will move back a slide
  • Pressing the Start/Pause (â–¶||) button will end the slideshow

NeoOffice will respond to remote control commands when it is the frontmost application, and when NeoOffice is no longer the frontmost application, other applications (e.g. iTunes) will respond to the remote control as usual.

Disabling NeoOffice's Remote Control Support

If, however, you do not want to use the the remote control with NeoOffice and want other applications (e.g. iTunes) to respond to the remote control even when NeoOffice is the frontmost application, open the /Applications/Utilities/Terminal application, then copy and paste the following line into the Terminal window to disable the remote control support in NeoOffice completely:

defaults write -app NeoOffice remoteEnabled -bool NO

If NeoOffice is running when you make this change, you will need to quit NeoOffice and restart for the change to take effect.

If you have previously used the above Terminal command to disable NeoOffice's remote control support and then need to use the remote control with NeoOffice, you can re-enable the support by opening the /Applications/Utilities/Terminal application, then copying and pasting the following line into the Terminal window:

defaults write -app NeoOffice remoteEnabled -bool YES

If NeoOffice is running when you make this change, you will need to quit NeoOffice and restart for the change to take effect. (Note that if you have never disabled the remote control support in NeoOffice, you do not need to use this command.)

Third-party Solutions

If you do not have an Apple Remote or Keyspan Front Row Remote, or a supported Mac, you can use one of these other remote-control solutions that work with NeoOffice.

Compatible Devices

N.B. The Kensington Pocket Presenter Wireless Laser previously recommended on this page doesn't work in Mac OS X 10.5 and 10.5.1 Leopard (it causes a kernel panic). The problem was resolved starting with Mac OS X 10.5.2.

Compatible Software

Configuration Tips

Salling Clicker

As mentioned in the forums, this works using the Front Row control, but it is possible to modify the centre button so that you can blank the screen. Note that this will affect Front Row as well, so creating a new menu is probably the way to go, but that hasn't been done yet.

  1. On your Mac, open "Salling Clicker" from the "System Preferences".
  2. Under "Clicker Items", expand "System" and then select "Edit Original in Script Editor" from the option menu.
  3. Find the two entries for
    else if the_key is "s" then
    and change the keycode to 11 (11 maps to 'b', that is "blank").
  4. Exit the script editor and you should be set.

Telekinesis (iPhone Remote)

It is possible to use Blacktree Telekinesis (aka iPhone Remote) with Uniremote to allow your iPhone to function as a remote in Impress. Trinity user nqeron describes this process:

  1. Install Telekinesis (aka iPhone Remote), made by Blacktree (not the one from American Balloon).
    • For information on configuring Telekinesis (aka iPhone Remote) to work with your iPhone generally and how to install Telekinesis applications, see the Telekinesis website.
  2. Within Telekinesis, download Uniremote (or universalremote).
  3. In order to get it to work with NeoOffice, it is necessary to edit some of the code. Within the Uniremote.tapp folder there is a smart folder and an addons folder; items in both of these folders will need modifications. Note: to get to the Uniremote.tapp folder, you must access Iphone Remotes' Apps folder, provided by its preferences pane. Also note, Uniremote.tapp is a package, not a folder, so be careful when editing it, as it may affect how the program runs.
    1. Within the smart folder, open the Universal Remote folder and then the scripts folder. The included AppleScripts control the buttons; because of a quirk in the way "System Events" recognizes NeoOffice, each script will need to be modified.
      • Modify the beginning of each script (the tell application "System Events" block of code) to look like this:
        tell application "System Events" set frontApp to name of first application process where frontmost is true if frontApp = "soffice.bin" then set frontApp to "NeoOffice" end if end tell
    2. Within the addons folder, you will need to add support to map buttons for NeoOffice.
      1. Create a new folder called NeoRemote.
      2. Copy the button scripts from step 1 and put them in the new NeoRemote folder.
      3. You will now need to change each script to send the appropriate command by replacing the existing script code. In general, the scripts will look like this, but the key code 12 line will change in each script:
        tell application "System Events" key code 12 end tell
        1. Menu should use key code 12 using command down
        2. Prev should use key code 123
        3. Next should use key code 124
        4. Play-Pause should use key code 96
        5. Plus should use key code 1
        6. Minus should use key code 13
        7. Screen should use
        This will set the Prev button to go back, the Next button to go forward, the Play-Pause button to start the presentation, the Menu button to exit, the Plus button to blank the screen, and the Minus button to unblank the screen. Other configurations are possible.

Note: This principle can be used to harness iphone control over almost any other program w/ standard keyboard control. The initial part in editing the Universal Remote's Script, is due to the fact that Mac recognizes NeoOffice as the soffice.bin process (and you can't properly name a folder soffice.bin, due to the extension). So to use this with Hulu Desktop, for example, one would just add a Hulu Desktop folder, or the equivalent process name, with the right scripts.

You can now use your iPhone to control presentations in NeoOffice Impress!

Note: This works through an internet connection, and may not be secure. Please read all the details and notes provided with the Telekinesis program.


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