by Geetesh Bajaj, February 15th 2008
Giveaways and More
This time, Neuxpower is giving away 10 copies of NXPowerLite 3.5, an add-in that optimizes Microsoft Office files including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. To win, all you need to do is fill in this form. This giveaway ends on February 19th.
The Ric Bretschneider Interview
Richard Bretschneider is a fifteen year Microsoft veteran, having joined the company in 1993 to work on PowerPoint for Windows and the Macintosh. Over the years, he's contributed to the design and direction of the application, and been awarded three PowerPoint related patents. Specific feature area highlights include the first Microsoft Clip Art Gallery, AutoContent Wizard, PowerPoint HTML export, PowerPoint Kiosk and Browse Modes, Document Hyperlinks, Presentation Collaboration and Commenting, and Password Protection.
Here's an excerpt from the interview:
Geetesh: You celebrated your 15th year working on the PowerPoint team --- tell us more about this awesome journey.
Richard: It’s cliché, but the time really flew by. But, paradoxically, I’m simultaneously struck by all the immense changes in the field, in the application, and in how PowerPoint has been used over the years.
When you develop a product, a good design takes the user into account first. When I joined the team, a heavy user of PowerPoint would open the product once or twice a month. We were terribly concerned that they wouldn’t ever become really familiar with the application, would continually have to relearn it. So we worked very hard to keep things simple. Not just commands and UI, but the document metaphors, the terminology, reuse of content, everything that could get in the way of a successful session. We’ve kept that attitude for a long time, and it served us well – as complicated an application as PowerPoint is today, it’s easy to see how it could be a real mess at this point if the people designing it hadn’t been dedicated to keeping things simple.
I also like to reflect on the way PowerPoint has moved with technology. PowerPoint 1.0 was a Macintosh product and arguably all about the Apple Laser Printer. That device promised the user could create really professional documents, and documents included printed foils or overlays for overhead projectors. It really was cutting edge, doing this on your desktop. Bleeding edge was the ability of PowerPoint to be used to create 35mm slides, and lots of presentations were projected in color using slide carousels. For the first few years I was on the team, we targeted large television style monitors, because projectors were very expensive and not very reliable. Projectors that plugged into your computer didn’t become ubiquitous until the last eight years or so, and only in the past few years were they equipment that small departments could actually budget without raising an eyebrow in the finance department.
We also moved from basic audience presentations, to features that helped with the distribution of documents and their message. We added features to make them easier to send via mail, or transformed them into HTML documents for display from web sites. I’m terribly proud of the HTML work we did, really amazing conversion of our graphics, text and even animation for display in the browser. It’s interesting to think that in the mid-90’s Microsoft was considered behind, that we didn’t “get” the internet, but within a couple of years we delivered technology like that that was actually ahead of most of our user’s ability to post to web sites and exploit. Timing is tricky.
Learn PowerPoint: Office 2007 Themes
Office 2007 (and Office 2008 for Mac) allow you to create a coordinated, unified look in Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, and PowerPoint slides. Beyond that, the themes also influence objects such as tables and charts in these applications.
It is generally believed that themes will work in other Office applications apart from Word, Excel, and PowerPoint in future versions of Microsoft Office. They already do work in the same way in Office 2008 for Mac.
Figures 1, 2, and 3 show the Flow theme that comes as part of Office 2007and 2008 applied to a sample Word document, Excel sheet, and a PowerPoint slide.
Click any of the figures above to see a larger representation.
You'll observe that there's so much coordination and unity of look in each of three samples you saw.
That's not because the creators painstakingly made sure they used the same colors, effects, fonts, etc. but because all three were based on (or applied) the same Office Theme. It takes less than a minute to apply a new theme, and change the look of a set of documents -- and as you will learn soon, it's so easy -- almost as easy as batting your eyelid four times in succession!
The above excerpt is from my series on Office Themes...
St. Patrick's Day Stuff
We have put up tons of stuff for you that uses the St. Patrick's Day theme -- from templates to embellishments, get them all! The thumbnails are linked to the actual pages.
Templates on Indezine
Embellishments from Scrapbookpresentations
Repeating elements, such as slide title and references, that donít jump around as you move from slide to slide indicate a professionally developed presentation.
This tip is from my new book, PowerPoint 2007 Complete Makeover Kit which I co-authored with Echo Swinford -- check the book now!
And here are some excerpts...
If you want to send any comments, ideas, etc. regarding this ezine or