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PowerPoint eXPerience

Learn about PowerPoint eXPerience.


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The XP in PowerPoint XP stands for eXPerience, but what about user experiences with PowerPoint XP - learn more about the bouquets and brickbats here.

This is an evolving page, and eXPeriences will be added as I hear from you all.


By Austin Myers

PowerPoint XP. How good is the newest version of PowerPoint? It's such an improvement over previous versions that it may be the real justification to upgrade your Office Suite. From a new, intuitive interface, to a plethora of new features, it's almost hard to believe this is the same application we have used for so many years.

Users that have bemoaned the lack of control over animation will be overjoyed with all the new tools, especially the path and exit functions. Yes, you can finally move objects around on the slide or remove them completely without all the "tricks" used in previous versions. In fact these tools are so good many users will tend to forget that this is a presentations application, not an animation package.

Another feature I especially like is the ability to password protect the presentations it creates. If you have ever wanted to restrict changes to your presentations or keep others from "borrowing" your techniques, this feature is right on the money. It seems someone at Microsoft has been listening to users and the "wish list".

So what are the negatives? A couple that really stand out are the lack of a "viewer" for people that don't have PowerPoint installed on their machines. They will still be able to use the previous viewer but it won't support the new features of PowerPoint XP. Microsoft has said that with the ability to export the presentation to HTML that users will be able to view it in Internet Explorer. While this is true, the reality of it is that the export process needs a fair amount of refinement before this is an acceptable alternative.

The other real sore spot is that Microsoft decided to stay with the Windows MCI (Multimedia Control Interface) for playback of multimedia. (Video, music, etc.) It's a mystery to me why they did this when they already have such a superior vehicle in the form of Windows Media Player available. Regardless of the reasons, users are still bound by the limitations of the traditional media player that dates back to Windows 3.1.

All in all, the new features and capabilities will make PowerPoint XP a must have for professional presenters, and I expect it to be adopted very quickly by people that have reached the limits of previous versions. Simply stated, even with the blemishes, PowerPoint XP is the version we have all been waiting for.

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By Geetesh Bajaj

What can I say? All in all, I'm very happy with the new PowerPoint XP - although it seems to have embraced a virtual Microsoft world, rather than the real world.

There are great features which one never expected, such as the animation timeline. On the other hand, there are new features which should have been there all the time - like multiple masters and password protection.

On the surface, the last three versions of PowerPoint - 97, 2000 and XP have shared the same format. Deeper down, you'll find scores of incompatibilities - which makes sharing of presentations between versions an art to master - you'll have to stay away from all new features of the last two versions to stay out of troubled waters. This issue is more significant due to the glaring absence of runtime viewers for PowerPoint 2000 and XP - imagine Adobe asking you to view your version 5 PDF documents in a version 2 viewer, or else expecting you to buy the whole commercial Acrobat package to view a document with all its fidelity. It's just not done. Microsoft's excuse is its HTML export options - which seem fairly satisfactory until you reach a level of sophistication requiring sounds, video or synchronization. You'll discover you're on the road to nowhere, so where do we go today....? Nowhere?

The above paragraph of my user experiences does seem a little critical - but even you'll be critical if you find you cannot find a way to show off all the cool features in PowerPoint XP to somebody with older versions. User upgradations are based on the entire Office suite level and corporate decisions on upgrading are not based on PowerPoint XP's new features alone. Word and Excel exchange information with their ancestors so much better, so why not PowerPoint?

PowerPoint XP has tons of great features as well - in fact my thoughts here accompany a full overview of PowerPoint XP which extolls its numerous virtues, you can find the overview here:

PowerPoint XP

So, dear Microsoft - now that we have a PowerPoint version with all the dream features we've been clamouring for - why not add the distribution features that seem to have missed the bus altogether!

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