Why do people use PowerPoint like an extension of Word or Excel and end up creating slides that are akin to PowerPoint disasters!
Author: Geetesh Bajaj
Many bad presentations are a result of not using PowerPoint as a slide creation tool at all. Does that sound like a cryptic statement? Then let me encrypt it for you: many PowerPoint users just think of PowerPoint as an extension to Word and Excel, the other program that Microsoft included free of cost in the Office box.
It gets worse -- not only do they think PowerPoint is like Word or Excel, they even use it that way -- think of PowerPoint with a Word or Excel approach. Since Microsoft has kept the interface in all these three programs so similar, Word and Excel users are comfortable with PowerPoint from the minute they start using it -- in fact some of them don't even notice that they are not using Word or Excel!
Think about it -- the similarities are too many:
On another front, I always mention in my training sessions that:
So why do we get surprised when Word users create slides that have tons of text -- look at the sample in Figure 1.
Figure 1: Sample
This slide is part of a presentation created by Boeing for NASA that was critiqued by Professor Edward Tufte.
And let's move on to Excel now -- Figure 2 shows a PowerPoint slide created by the Pentagon to assess some activities in Afghanistan -- if you thought that was bad, look at Figure 3 that shows what Wired magazine calls Pentagon’s craziest PowerPoint slide! It doesn't require a certification in space science to realize that these slides have been created by Excel users!
You can click both Figures 2 and 3 to see a larger view of these slides.
Maybe it's time to make things simpler for Word and Excel users trying to use PowerPoint:
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