• James Kieft

Powerpoint more than just a presentation creator

In this month's blog post I'm looking at PowerPoint that may seem a strange option but if you haven't used PowerPoint recently you'll be in for a surprise. As you would expect with all Microsoft Office apps it is ever evolving, but recent additions to Office 365 version are proving really useful.

While some of these features I am about to mention have been on Google slides in some form for a while and it's just to Microsoft playing catch up. There are others that move the game along.

In unlikely case some of you are unfamiliar with PowerPoint it is a presentation tool that has been one of Microsoft office app mainstays that's been part of the office suite since the year dot.

I am going to focus on some of the features that I think of really help to lift PowerPoint and its functionality in comparison with some of my usual go to presentation tools.

First there is the ‘Design ideas” function for those of you familiar with Google slides. It's very similar to the Explorer option where you enter the basic text content and then it will suggest lots of design layout ideas. This is really great especially for students as it means they can focus on the add the content and not get distracted by searching for images or deciding which font they want to use.

Next up there's the ‘Rehearse with coach’ feature this allows you to rehearse your presentation and it gives you feedback based on what you say, how quickly you say it and whether you're just reading from your slides. This feedback is really useful and great for anyone practicing their presentation skills. There's always a temptation either to go too quickly or just to read off what's on the slides, the provided feedback helps you to hone how your presentation skills discouraging you from going too quickly or just reading off what's written on the slides.

When it comes accessibility the live subtitles feature is a real bonus I tried it when it was initially launched and you can see in this video below that they weren't particularly accurate but over the past few months they have improved dramatically you've also got the option to change the language which they are displaying so you could be speaking in English and they could be translating the subtitles into German or Spanish or something else.

And finally the most recent addition is that of the live presenter function again something that's been on Google slides for a while allowing your audience to view the presentation on their own device. They can also go back and look at previously shown slides, have subtitles displayed on their device, give feedback on the design of the slides by giving a rating.They can also give feedback in the form of a general comment.

The abilty to gain feedback from your audience is a really useful addition especailly if you're delivering remotely. The feedback it is collected in a Microsoft form making it very easy to review you also get an email summary of the feedback received.

What pleases me the most is that these updates are available on the browser version of PowerPoint historically it was only the full paid version that got the features. That meant if you only had access to the browser-based version because of the type of device you were working on such as a Chromebook you could not access these features the fact that they are now available on the browser based version is a real bonus.

Looking for ideas on how else you could use PowerPoint check out my infographic

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