Integration of Excel, Word and PowerPoint in FrontFace Playlists with Office 365 and SharePoint

If you work a lot with Office documents (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) and eventually, even use SharePoint as your intranet platform, there is often an inevitable need to integrate such files also in digital signage playlists or on interactive kiosk terminals.

When working with FrontFace, there are different ways how such an integration can be done:

1.) Integration as PDF, Print2Screen or Video

In this case, the Office files are converted into another format or exported with the respective desktop applications so that they can be displayed directly in FrontFace. As an alternative to exporting PDF documents, the Print2Screen function by FrontFace can also be used. This often gives better results in regards to display quality. In the case of PowerPoint presentations, you can either create page-by-page exports as PDF or Print2Screen, or export as video. This has the advantage that all animations and cross-fading effects from PowerPoint are fully retained. You should make sure that you always create an MP4 file and not use the old WMV format, since WMV files are significantly larger and often of poorer quality.

Export of a PowerPoint file as video

2.) Integration Using the Native Desktop Apps

FrontFace also enables the direct integration of EXE files in playlists and touch menus via the media object “External Application”. This way, the Office applications can be directly integrated and the file to be opened can be set in command line. A list of the available command line parameters of the Office applications can be found at Microsoft. The command line parameters allow, e.g. a PowerPoint presentation to be started directly.

Settings dialog of the “Externeal Application” media object in FrontFace

However, this type of integration has some disadvantages: First of all, the Office applications must be installed on the player PC and an Office license must be available. Furthermore, security concerns can also play a role, since users with access to the system could change the files and at the same time gain access to the file system of the player PC, for example in the “Open File” dialog. Furthermore, you should also keep in mind that FrontFace starts and exits an external application here, over which there is otherwise no further control. Therefore, a direct integration of native desktop apps is only a sensible choice in a few cases.

3.) Integration via Office 365 / SharePoint as Web Page

If the Office files to be displayed are hosted on Office 365 (OneDrive or SharePoint), there is another, very elegant way for integration: As a web page in FrontFace. To do this, the file (Word, Excel or PowerPoint) must first be stored in a SharePoint document library or on OneDrive. A sharing link can then be created using the “Share” function. It is important that the “Allow editing” option is deactivated here (if desired) and otherwise the “Anyone” and “No password” sharing options are selected.

Sharing Dialog of OneDrive / SharePoint

If you now open the link created in this way in a browser, the file appears in the respective online version of the Office application:

How an Excel file is displayed in Excel Online in the browser

Often, however, only the display of the file contents itself is desired and therefore the display with the menu ribbon of the Office application is not what you want. Do adjust this, an additional parameter has to be appended to the URL which is:


This ensures that only the document is displayed and nothing else. There are a few other parameters that can be used for certain Office applications:

ParameterFunctionSupported Office Application
&action=embedviewEnabled the “full screen display” of the document without the GUI of the Office online applicationAll
&wdAllowInteractivity=FalsePrevent InteractionsExcel
&wdHideGridlines=TrueHide grid linesExcel
&wdHideHeaders=TrueHide column headingsExcel
&AllowTyping=TrueAllow entries in calculating cellsExcel
&ActiveCell=’Tabelle1′!F19Cell to be initially displayed / activeExcel
&wdDownloadButton=FalseHide download buttonPowerPoint
&wdPrint=0Prevent printingWord
&wdEmbedCode=0Prevent emedding codesWord
&wdStartOn=1Page to be shown initiallyWord

Excel file integrated in a FrontFace playlist together with other media objects

Which of the methods presented here for integrating Office documents in FrontFace playlists and touch menus you use ultimately depends on the particular use case and the basic conditions.

FrontFace 4.4.6 – Now With Multi-User-Support!

The latest version 4.4.6 of our digital signage & kiosk software FrontFace offers lots of improvements as well as a very special, new function that has repeatedly been requested by our customers: Multi-user support!
Although multiple users have previously been able to edit a FrontFace project from different PCs if the project was stored in a jointly accessible storage location (e.g. a network drive), in this scenario all users had the same, full access rights to the project.

With the new (optional) multi-user support, several user accounts can now be created in a FrontFace project, and users can then be granted different access rights to the various areas of a project (e.g. Players, Content, Scheduling, Publication, etc.). In this way, on the one hand, an authorization structure can be mapped and, on the other hand, the complexity of the user interface of the FrontFace Assistant can be radically reduced so that a user is only shown the allowed areas and functions.

When opening a project, the user has to log in with a user name and password and is then given the configured scope of access. In addition to normal users, one or more administrator accounts can be created, which have full access to the project and at the same time also allow the administration of the user accounts.

Administration of user accounts in the FrontFace Assistant

However, the new multi-user feature is not mandatory in a FrontFace project. As before, in the default case, the project is opened normally using the FrontFace Assistant and no user account is required for logging in. In the case of new projects, the multi-user support can be activated when creating the project, if necessary. For existing projects in which the multi-user support is not yet active, it can be activated at any time in the settings dialog. In addition to that, the function can also be disabled again.

Here is an overview of the most important new features and changes in version 4.4.6:

  • NEW: Optional multi-user mode for projects with dedicated rights assignment for individual users and password protection.
  • NEW: Paging function (e.g. page 1/x) for text elements (such as “title”) in toolbars when displaying multi-page content as well as support for placeholders.
  • NEW: Optional hiding of areas (left, center, right) in toolbars for even more design freedom.
  • NEW: Text editor and dialog for editing formatted text for text media objects has been improved and is now more intuitive in terms of line breaks and font sizes.
  • NEW: Improved copy & paste of formatted text in the text media object dialog.
  • NEW: Printing directly from web pages (via JavaScript) is now possible when the Sharing feature is enabled.
  • NEW: Installation file of the Android version can now be downloaded on demand and is no longer a fixed part of the regular installation package.
  • NEW: New section on “Automatic startup and shutdown of player PCs” in the user manual.
  • FIX: Improvements regarding displaying text media objects on Android devices.
  • FIX: Fixed a problem with the “Launch Explorer Shell” feature when exiting the Player App as a shell replacement.
  • FIX: Numerous minor improvements and fixes.

A free trial version is available for download for prospects. Customers who are entitled to obtain Updates & Support can download the latest version free of charge from the “Customer Account” area on the mirabyte website.

FrontFace 4.4.1 – With Click2Zoom Function!

The latest version again brings a lot of new features and improvements. Here in an overview of the recent changes:

  • NEW: Click2Zoom function now available for many media objects: Media objects can be displayed in a “full-screen mode” by interactively “clicking” on them. Perfectly suited for all types of digital notice boards!
  • NEW: Click actions are now available for many media objects.
  • NEW: Many media object dialogs have been revised and now also support the expert mode.
  • NEW: Audio Media Object – now WAV, MP3 or WMA files can be integrated as media objects, including optional, interactive control (play/pause, rewind and seek).
  • NEW: The audio playback action now enables the direct selection of audio files.
  • NEW: The integrated browser engine has been updated to Chromium 84 and brings many improvements, also in terms of rendering performance.
  • NEW: Optional “Download & Execute” function in the web browser is now available, e.g., to be able to view Office files on a SharePoint Web page.
  • NEW: Detailed description in the manual how to set up the publishing of content over the cloud (e.g., Dropbox) with the Android version of the FrontFace Player App.
  • NEW: Useful tips and tricks for working with FrontFace can now optionally be displayed on the FrontFace Assistant’s start page.
  • FIX: Scrolling web pages now also works with pages that previously did not scroll due to design limitations.
  • FIX: Improved security of the integrated web browser when the Safe Mode is activated (e.g., prevention of file uploads, etc.).
  • FIX: Improvement scaling of the Player App’s maintenance menu on systems with very high DPI values.
  • FIX: The ability to cancel long publishing processes and the loading process of the preview have been improved.
  • FIX: When starting sequential playlists by an event (e.g., using the Remote Control Plugin), a page index can now be specified from which the playlist should be started.
  • FIX: The integrated on-screen keyboard has been updated to the latest version.

Existing customers that are entitled to obtain free updates & support can download the latest version for free. Prospects may download a fully functional, free 14 days trial version.

FrontFace 4.4 – Now also on Android

The latest version 4.4 again brings many innovations and improvements for our digital signage & kiosk software FrontFace, but also the long-awaited support for the Android operating system:

With the new FrontFace Player App for Android, you can now use Android-based devices as players. In addition to tablets, these also include inexpensive media player boxes and devices with integrated Android TV. Devices with Android version 8 (“Oreo”) or higher are supported.

The FrontFace Player App for Android offers a reduced range of functions compared to the Windows version: Only non-interactive functions (classic digital signage playlists) are supported. Interactive touch menus are only supported on the Windows platform. In addition, some features such as “Hot Folder” are also not available on Android. A detailed overview of the differences between the Windows and Android versions of the FrontFace Player App can be found on the FrontFace Website.

The creation and management of content, as well as the scheduling is carried out as usual with the convenient FrontFace Assistant on Windows. Here you can manage your Android players, create, and edit playlists and then publish them on the Android players.

The new FrontFace Player App for Android is perfectly suited for simpler and cost-sensitive use cases and applications: Digital shop window advertising, menu boards for restaurants, snack bars and canteens or simple information screens, etc. – Thanks to the combination of extremely inexpensive Android hardware and the also lower-priced FrontFace Player license for Android, you can now implement appealing digital signage installations, even with very low budgets!

You can download the fully-functional, free demo version to try out both the Windows and the Android version of FrontFace 4.4!

Below you will find an overview of the most important new features and changes in version 4.4:

  • NEW: FrontFace Player App for Android (8.0 “Oreo” or higher) available.
  • NEW: Preview settings (resolution, etc.) can now optionally also be persisted per playlist.
  • NEW: New “Plain” theme for touch menus (completely without button artwork) for even more individual design options.
  • NEW: Support for certificate-based client authentication when accessing websites.
  • NEW: Expert mode available in almost all dialogs (increases clarity); If an expert setting has been changed, the expert mode is automatically activated in the relevant dialog.
  • NEW: Automatic check of the minimum version when opening projects (prevents projects from being opened with an outdated assistant!).
  • NEW: Log files now have the file extension * .log.txt instead of .log as before
  • FIX: Improved behavior when processing faulty / incompatible PDF files.
  • FIX: Warning if two web browser instances (Chromium) are using the same cache at the same time.
  • FIX: Last used text colors in the editor of the text media object are now saved project-wide and can therefore be reused more easily.
  • FIX: Paging buttons in touch menus are displayed correctly, even if there are hidden pages under the pages to be displayed.
  • FIX: Tooltips in the timer preview (scheduling) were sometimes displayed incorrectly.

FrontFace 4.3.7 – Updated Browser Engine, Improved Weather Module and More…

We continuously improve FrontFace by releasing new features, fixing bugs, and delivering updated documentation. 

Please note that there has been a change in the system requirements for this version as well as a change regarding to license activation (highlighted in red below)!

Here are the most important changes of version 4.3.7:

  • NEW: Weather media object now shows the probability of rain for the forecasts.
  • NEW: Weather media objects comes with a brand new icon set called “Comic”:
  • FIX: Weather media object has a new icon for changing weather that is “more positive“ regarding sunshine.
  • FIX: Update to an entirely new, Chromium-based browser engine (using Chromium 79) with a fully isolated/sandboxed architecture for more stability and security.
  • NEW: Optional progress bar for countdown and egg timer mode of the date/time clock media object for visualizing the remining time.
  • NEW: PDF documents (local and Web) linked in Web pages can now be viewed using the Web page media object.
  • FIX: Starting with this version, FrontFace requires .NET Framework 4.8 (on most Windows 10 computers, this version of the .NET Framework is already preinstalled!).
  • NEW: Videos can now optionally be started automatically or not when being used in a touch menu button playlist.
  • FIX: Dedicated actions for showing and hiding the onscreen keyboard have been added as an extension to the previously existing toggle keyboard action.
  • FIX: Settings dialog of Player App (Maintenance Menu) is designed more clearly.
  • FIX: Fixed a problem with assigning non-existing playlists to event sources.
  • FIX: Idle timer to return to home page of a touch menu now also works correctly, when the user is interacting with a Web page that uses the “Chromium (for Touch)” browser engine.
  • FIX: Editing players within a player group now works correctly in all cases.
  • FIX: Fixed an issue with publishing player groups.
  • FIX: Fixed a problem with adding background audio files to playlist pages.
  • FIX: Fixed a problem with overlay playlists triggered by an event source that did not show up.
  • FIX: All actions that are only available in certain contexts are now context-sensitive.
  • FIX: To label the language selection buttons in multi-lingual touch menus, the language names are now used in their native representation (German, English, Français, etc.).
  • FIX: Whitelist filter of the Web page media object now also behaves correctly in case there are invalid entries in the whitelist.
  • FIX: Due to a change in the license activation system, it can happen under certain circumstances that your FrontFace license must be reactivated after the update. However, due to the change, the activation code is now much more robust to Windows feature updates, which in the past partially made a reactivation necessary when being installed!
  • FIX: Minor bug fixes.

Updates for FrontFace Plugins:

In addition to the new version 4.3.7 of FrontFace, there are also some updates for the optional plugins available:

Remote Control Plugin:

Calendar Plugin:

  • NEW: New view type “Agenda” for displaying appointments or room bookings per day in a chronological order.
  • FIX: Minor bug fixes.

The new version as full version or as fully-functional trial version is available for download on the FrontFace product website.

Free Sticky Note Plug-In for FrontFace

Everyone knows those handy sticky notes! And now, there is also a digital counterpart of it for the FrontFace Digital Signage & Kiosk software.

With the Sticky Note plug-in, classic sticky notes can be easily integrated as media objects in playlist pages and touch menus.

There are many possible uses for this: On non-interactive systems, digital black boards can be made even more realistic and text messages can be presented in an appealing way.

On the other hand, the full functionality of the new plug-in can be used on touch screen systems. You can use the on-screen keyboard to write or edit texts on the sticky note. In pen/ink mode, you can also draw on the sheet freehand with your fingers or a pen. An integrated context menu allows the content to be deleted with a single click or to toggle the “highlight” mode.

Thus, the plug-in is not only suitable for the visually appealing design of digital bulletin boards but can also be used in interactive mode as a “mini-collaboration tool”, where e.g. employees can leave messages or notes for colleagues.

The new plug-in is free of charge and is included in the FrontFace installation package. Existing customers who update to version 4.3.6 will find the plugin directly if they click on “Add New Content Plugin” in the plug-in dialog.

How to Integrate a Scrolling News Ticker into your Touch Menu!

How about making the home page of your touch menu livelier and more interesting? By displaying a scrolling news ticker tape with news headlines (RSS feed) or with your own news (custom text), you can do this easily with FrontFace. Just open the settings dialog of your touch menu:

Then click on the selection arrow below “Menu Layout” on the right…

…and select the “Main Menu with Ticker” layout. This layout already contains an additional container above the lower toolbar, which is pre-assigned with a news ticker.

After you have selected that layout, you can open the ticker settings dialog by clicking on the container with the ticker.

Many options for individually adjusting the ticker are available here. In addition to the displayed content (RSS feed or free text), you can also customize the visual design, such as colors, font and the scrolling speed.

You can either enter the messages line by line as custom text or enter the path/URL of an RSS feed or a plain text file either on a web server (via HTTP) or on a file server (UNC file path). If you provide an RSS or plain text file as a source, you can also set the “feed update interval” in minutes. After the specified time, the feed is retrieved again. In the meantime, a cached version is being used.

The appearance of the ticker can be tailored to your needs in terms of scrolling speed, colors, fonts, etc. You can also specify a title (prefix) that remains static in front of the scrolling text. For languages like Hebrew or Arabic, you can also change the scrolling direction of the ticker.

Finally, use the preview button of the FrontFace Assistant to check the results:

Touch Menus: Back to Home Page & Digital Signage Screen Saver

In this tutorial we will show you two very helpful features for your interactive touch menus with FrontFace: The “Back to Home Page” function automatically returns the menu to the start page if a user leaves the terminal without clicking “Home” button on leaving. With the screen saver feature, you can supply your kiosk terminal with additional, moving content when there is no interaction and usage.

Back to Home Page

When a user leaves the terminal without returning to the start page of the touch menu, a certain period of minutes can be defined after which the system automatically returns to the top level menu of the touch menu when there is no more interaction.

To configure this setting, open the settings dialog of the touch menu:

Here is the “Interaction Timeout” setting. Set the desired duration (e.g. 15 minutes). This ensures that the menu returns to the start page after 15 minutes without interaction.

As a result, a subsequent user can start the navigation directly from the main menu level (“Home Screen”) and does not have to manually click the “Home” button first.

Digital Signage Screensaver

Especially for interactive systems such as kiosk terminals, it is desirable to display appealing, moving content on the screen (e.g. advertising or specific calls for action) when the system is not being used interactively. You can easily create an individual screen saver with FrontFace:

First create a playlist (in addition to your touch menu), which will serve as screen saver.

Here you can insert any media objects, for example pictures, videos, slideshows, web pages or texts. In addition, with the help of a suitable screen layout, you can also add static overlay text or even scrolling text with a call for action (CFA) such as “Tap here for more information …” or “Please touch the screen!”.

Then switch to the “Scheduling” section in the Assistant and activate the “Advanced Scheduling”. Then click on the + icon in the “Event Sources” list to create a new event source.

Click on “Install a new event source plugin” and select the plugin file for the screensaver. This is named “Screensaver.ffapx” and is located in the “C:\Program Files\mirabyte\FrontFace\Plugins\” folder.

After installing the plugin, select it and click OK.

Finally, you specify the number of minutes and the previously created playlist as a screen saver:

„Welcome, Mr. John Doe!“ – Digital Welcome Screens and Reception Boards

Personalized welcome boards and reception screens for greeting visitors or customers in companies are a great idea, but there are a few things to consider when implementing them!

A flat-screen TV is screwed to the wall behind the reception desk, a mini-PC is attached, and the digital reception screen is ready to welcome visitors! – Sounds easy, but it is not quite that simple, because there is an important additional consideration. If the answer to the question of how the content management is accomplished is “PowerPoint,” it will instantly become clear how difficult and inflexible such a setup is. Automatic start? Edit content? Scheduling? Calendar integration? A scrolling news ticker would also be nice – but unfortunately none of that is possible!

This is where the “FrontFace” software by mirabyte comes into play: With FrontFace, professional reception and welcome screens can be easily set up and display any kind of content without much effort. In addition to general information about the company, e.g. image videos or brochures in PDF format, time-controlled or ad hoc, personalized greeting messages for visitors or customers can be displayed. (“Welcome to our company, Mr. Doe!”). Through these specialized displays, a friendly and open atmosphere is created right at the first contact with the company!

To trigger the welcome messages, FrontFace can also integrate external systems, such as a calendar from an Exchange server or a Lotus Domino server. SharePoint, iCalendar/ICS and Excel are also supported as external data sources. This allows for maintaining the entire system conveniently using applications such as Outlook.

FrontFace supports the integration of many different content types, e.g. scrolling news ticker tapes, clocks, websites, the current weather conditions, daily news and QR codes that can be displayed on the screen in combination with other media.

The arrangement of the contents, the management of the hardware and the content scheduling is done using the convenient FrontFace Assistant, a Windows application that can be installed on any conventional PC.

For a quick start, mirabyte offers a free, fully functional trial version, as well as tutorial videos and a step-by-step quick start guide for setting up a reception screen – available at the product website:

The FrontFace software is offered as a permanent license and is licensed per player PC (welcome screen). The price of a license is $599.95 USD. To connect external systems, e.g. Exchange Server, special plugins are also available.

NEW: FrontFace 4.0 – Digital Signage & Kiosk Software

The new version 4.0 of our Digital Signage & Kiosk software FrontFace is an entirely new development from ground up and brings countless improvements and innovations over our previous products “FrontFace for Public Displays” (digital signage software) and “FrontFace for Touch Kiosks” (kiosk software).

However, the most significant change is that both the primarily non-interactive features of FrontFace for Public Displays and, soon, the interactive touch-menu capabilities of FrontFace for Touch Kiosks will be available in one single product: FrontFace 4.

Thus, both classic digital signage applications, and interactive kiosk systems, as well as mixed types of both, can be implemented with a single, powerful system!

In the first step, we implemented the functionality of FrontFace for Public Displays in the new FrontFace 4. In addition to that, we have significantly expanded and improved the entire product. In a second step (around late summer 2019), the touch functionality will be available in FrontFace 4 as well as part of an update.

By the way: FrontFace for Public Displays and FrontFace for Touch Kiosks will not be discontinued but will continue to be available to our existing customers. So you have the choice of whether you want to continue to work with the product you are used to, or whether you want to switch over to the new FrontFace 4. The upgrade is free of charge for all customers that are eligible for updates & support! For existing customers, we have also created a FAQ with all the questions and answers dealing with the new version!

Download the free trial version of FrontFace 4 and find out how easy and simple it is to get professional digital signage applications up and running. Create your own playlist with just a few clicks! But despite the simple and intuitive usage, also more demanding users get their money’s worth: With the new layout editor you can visually create without any programming knowledge, your own screen layouts very easily. In addition, the powerful scheduling provides everything you need to have your content displayed automatically.

Thanks to the integrated plugin interface, you can even extend FrontFace with your own, custom functionality if required!

And as always with FrontFace: No SaaS (software-as-a-service), no running costs or subscriptions and the installation of the complete software is done locally in your environment! You have full control!

Free trial version and quick start video tutorials