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PowerPoint and Presentation News - Issue 022

Issue 022 of PowerPoint and Presentation Stuff newsletter.

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Product/Version: PowerPoint


This is a special issue - we'll look at the impact PowerPoint has had on society as a whole - be it business, education, home and even religion. We begin with a question - can you ignore PowerPoint? We then look at what some PowerPoint bashers have to say. A listing of Quick News is followed by a link to download an article on PowerPoint repurposing - we thereafter look at using plain colour backgrounds in PowerPoint. A story on Presentation Storyboarding comes next. We finish with a look at TAJ Simmons' site and a list of upcoming PowerPoint related events.

Can You Ignore PowerPoint?

What's omnipresent today in the world of business and education? Which program provides a monopoly to Microsoft that surpasses its hold over even Word and Excel? That's an easy one - it's PowerPoint. Unlike Word or Excel, which have had their traditional counterparts in the typewriter or an account book, PowerPoint is purely an electronic invention. Its earlier equivalents could have been flip charts and 35 mm transparencies, yet nothing could have prepared one for the razzmatazz of today's multimedia presentations.

PowerPoint has succeeded where many others have failed - in the process, you'll find umpteen presentation programs disbanded over the years. Some casualties include Macromedia Action, Adobe Persuasion, Astound, Bravo, Compel, Charisma and more. Even Lotus Freelance and Corel Presentations cannot match the PowerPoint juggernaut. In some cases, these programs may have been better or have offered more features, yet PowerPoint has always been easier to use.

Not surprisingly, many people love to hate PowerPoint. I remember visiting a site called the PowerPoint Loathe Society or something similar. Scott McNealy's (of Sun Microsystems) ban of PowerPoint from his company is well known!

With over 300 million users and a market-share of 95%, PowerPoint is certainly the presentation standard - love it or hate it, you just cannot ignore PowerPoint anymore.

When you launch a new product or service, you create a PowerPoint presentation. When you want to send your corporate profile on CD, you use PowerPoint again. You use PowerPoint yet again when you want to create a kiosk-style presentation at an exhibition stall. And that's not all - you use PowerPoint at home to create a Christmas card, a photo album or a homework assignment. You also use PowerPoint as a teaching aid in the classroom - or to train and educate millions over the Internet. Not surprisingly, that's only the beginning!


PowerPoint's Role in Society

Critics love to tear PowerPoint to pieces. Ironically, there's probably nobody better than them to help understand PowerPoint's role in today's society! I personally don't believe in everything these articles speak about, although many of these thoughts do help us understand where improvements can be made.

Ian Parker's famous Absolute PowerPoint article first appeared in the New Yorker.

Is PowerPoint Too Dumb For Words? by Art Jahnke looks at PowerPoint with observations from critics and defenders.

Ian Shoales wonders if the global economy will fall apart without PowerPoint in Power! Point?

Stephen Shugart looks at ways to respond to the dominance of PowerPoint in Beyond PowerPoint.

The Textism site asks if an appearance at a meeting without PowerPoint would be unwelcome and vaguely pretentious, like wearing no shoes.

The Chicago Tribune has an article on PowerPoint's cultural effect on society - they call it 'Killing me Microsoftly with PowerPoint'.

John-Paul Flintoff asks if PowerPoint is too much of a good thing?

Coleman proclaims 'I Loathe PowerPoint'

Note: A search at Google will provide hundreds of anti-PowerPoint sites. Unfortunately, there aren't many sites defending PowerPoint - probably it's fashionable nowadays to blame PowerPoint! The fact remains that PowerPoint is just a tool and finally it is up to the person who uses the product to find ways to use it creatively.


Quick News

You can enter the Powerpoint Live Sweepstakes for a free pass to the three-day event being held from October 12 to 15 at Tucson, AZ, United States - a $795 value. Entries close July 1 and winners will be contacted one week later. Enter your name here.

Apple has announced an update to its Keynote presentation software for the Mac. The new 1.1 update offers improved PowerPoint import and export capabilities. More info.

Adobe has acquired the technology assets of Syntrillium Software including the popular Cool Edit audio editor. More info.


PowerPoint Repurposing

In February, I wrote an article for Presentations magazine that discussed PowerPoint repurposing. This discussed ways to achieve more with your existing PowerPoint content through repurposing and distribution.

Excerpt: That presentation you worked so hard on doesn't have to die. It can be reused in any number of other ways - as an autorun CD, QuickTime movie, e-mail presentation and much more.

This article is now available on this site.


Changing the Background Color

If you are creating a presentation with many elements like charts, tables, pictures, text content, etc. - then maybe you should consider a plain colour background. Plain colour backgrounds are safe and elegant - and it's easy to choose any colour.

  1. Select Format | Background
  2. In the resultant dialog box, open the drop down list next to the down arrow - this will reveal 8 colour swatches - if you want to use any of these colours as the background, colour, just click on the respective colour swatch.
  3. In many instances, you may want to choose another color. Click on the More Colors option.
  4. This will open the Colors dialog box - with two tabs: Standard and Custom.
  5. The Standard tab contains a hexagonal colour picker where you can choose any predetermined color.
  6. If you require a different shade, then click the custom tab.
  7. The Custom tab shows a spectrum of colors. You can click anywhere in the spectrum to choose your color. You can also entire exact HSL or RGB values to use an exact shade. Maybe something which matches your corporate colors.
  8. Click OK.
  9. Click Apply to All to change the background color for the entire presentation, or just Apply to change only the current slide's background.

The instructions above are for PowerPoint 2000 - PowerPoint 2002 and 2003 work in a very similar way.

Mickey Stevens, Microsoft MVP for the Mac Office adds: The interface for choosing colors is different in PowerPoint 2001/X for Mac, because it now uses the system Color Picker, so there are several ways of choosing a color. Also, the option on the Mac is called Format -> Slide Background. Thank you, Mickey.


Presentation Storyboarding

A presentation without a storyboard is like a cart without a horse. You have no idea which direction whomsoever is going to pull the cart. And when you realize your mistake, it may be too late. And it is at this note that our storyboarding story unfolds.

Storyboarding is never the beginning of any creative project, because you cannot get to this stage unless your concept and vision are completely clear. If you are undertaking a project for yourself or for a client, there would be little to be gained in undertaking a storyboarding session without ideas - the storyboard is an element to capture and refine ideas, not to create them.

What exactly is a storyboard? Is it a piece of paper or a part of your computer screen? Is it that part of your mind where you store the sequence of your creativity? Actually, it's all of them. The 'storyboard' is both abstract and physical. In our thoughts and on papyrus. The abstract is its very existence, but it's the physical one which is a retrievable record of its brilliance.

The abstract storyboard has got more to do with our imagination and visualization - it is also the source, inspiration and the very existence that channels the physical storyboard. Read more.


TAJ Simmon's Site

TAJ Simmons runs the Awesome PowerPoint Backgrounds site - the site contains hundreds of readymade PowerPoint templates that can be bought online through the site.

TAJ also provides several detailed PowerPoint tutorials - some of these discuss linking PowerPoint presentations and optimization of graphic content. TAJ is a PowerPoint MVP (Most Valuable Professional). Visit the site.


Events & Seminars

Winning Presentations Seminar
August 5 and 6, 2003
September 24 and 25, 2003
Boston, USA
Claudyne Wilder, Wilder Presentations

PowerPoint Live
October 12 to 15, 2003
Tucson, Arizona, USA
Rick Altman, R Altman Digital Consulting
PPT Live



During the preparation of this issue of the PowerPoint Ezine, I received assistance and feedback from Claudyne Wilder, Echo Swinford, Glen Millar, Mickey Stevens, Sonia Coleman and TAJ Simmons (all in alphabetical order). I would like to use this platform to thank them for their help.


You May Also Like: Jerky Animations in PowerPoint 2010 and 2013 | Possibilities 02: Dashboards in PowerPoint

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