The Microsoft vision is one of continuous improvement, which means that on a regular basis you get updates on your favorite Microsoft products. Especially in the weeks after a big event, like the Microsoft Ignite conference that was held in October, we see large amounts of updates trickling into our Microsoft products and it is a perfect opportunity to do a review on the things we enjoy on a daily basis and see if we can spot any nice new abilities. We do this in our series “Nine Nice Things” in which we highlight nine aspects we like about a certain Microsoft products in their latest state.
Disclaimer: as a Microsoft Gold Partner we at Rapid Circle are usually spoiled with the latest and greatest from Microsoft and might get our hands on things before you do. So, if you do not have the same functionality available when you open PowerPoint, it can be that it is still on its way. If you want to find out when things are coming your way, we gladly offer our help to find that out for you.
#1 The Morph button
There is a wealth of discussion about the use of Transitions and Animations in PowerPoint. My stance on this topic is very simple: if it adds to tell your story better, use them. And one new Transition that Microsoft added recently helps me to tell my story better, flashier and create that presentation way faster. The MORPH button! The way it works is that you take a copy of a slide and start moving things around, reposition elements, change colors, add some new things and remove some unneeded things. Than in the transition from one slide to the next, PowerPoint will figures out how to move things around, change colors and resize things to morph from one slide to the next. It is fun to play with and when used properly can help you tell your story better and create your slides faster.
We all know that you can add all sorts of things to a slide, but have you already checked out the Icons library that is build in to PowerPoint? It features hundreds of icons in all sorts of different categories that you can easily use to make your presentation more visually appealing. I use them a lot to turn a wordy presentation into a visual presentation. These icons are all in the same style and true vector elements of which you can easily change the fill, outline and size. So no more looking through the internet for the icon you need or building something yourself with shapes, just pick one from the library and move on.
#3 Machine learning
This very morning, I opened up a presentation that is used at a customer yesterday afternoon to send them the slides as a follow up. I was amazed to see that PowerPoint asked me the following question:
Through machine learning it had figured out that I had this presentation open and in presentation mode during the same timeslot as a meeting in my Outlook calendar. And it nudged me towards sharing this file with the attendees. But wait, it gets better. This file was on my desktop and had not yet made it to the cloud. So when I hit the button “share with attendees” I was asked to upload the file so I could truly ‘share’ it instead of ‘sending’ it. Yes, PowerPoint not only reminded my of a good thing to do like an awesome personal assistant would, it also guided me do to in the right way. It is a brand new world people!
#4 Linked Notes
Are you a person who takes notes and likes to have them all in one place, then PowerPoint just made your life a bit easier. We always had, and still have, the notes section for every slide and yes we can add comments on them as well. But the notes tooling of choice is of course OneNote when looking at the Microsoft stack. And now you can link Notes in OneNote to individual slides in a PowerPoint presentation.
If you are like me and have also somehow managed to never take up a typing class in your life, then this feature might interest you. PowerPoint allows you to hit the button and dictate what should be on your slides. Somewhat efficient for making the actual slide, but awesome for recording the notes that should accompany every slide. Because while on the slide you want to be brief and crisp, the notes section is where you want to have the elaborate talking points. Especially if you are preparing your deck for others to presenters. Just think how great it is that when you are rehearsing your presentation that you can turn on the mic and it records the entire story you want to tell with that slide.
#6 Embedded Forms
PowerPoint allows you to embed a Microsoft Forms form into your presentation. To add some pop quiz questions in your training course deck or a contact form at the end of your sales presentation. So goods ways to make your presentation a bit more interactive or trigger follow up after a great story.
#7 Screen Recording
You could already mix in your video or audio files into your presentation, but now you get a third option of adding a screen recording. Which cuts your demo recording time short because you can start and finish that action right from PowerPoint without the need to first switch tools and create the screen recorded video to then embed it into your presentation. A simple case of cutting out the middle man.
A small button with a big impact: the autosave button in the upper left corner. This means that as long as your presentation is saved in the cloud all your updates are saved instantly. Not the autosave of the old days that took a copy every 10 minutes, but an autosave that captures every change.
Be Aware: this one takes a bit of getting used to. You will find yourself opening old presentations as a staring point and changing them for a different meeting. Only to realize after half an hour that you have messed up the original as well. Don’t worry, you can rely on versioning to revert your changes and will learn fast to take a copy first and then start adapting.
#9 Document properties
Something that might already be second nature in PowerPoint Online is now also available in the Desktop App for PowerPoint. In the middle of the top bar you will find the option to change the file name. inspect the save location and explore the version history. Just a making life a bit more easy when you see that you have made a spelling mistake in the file name.
As you might have noticed when examining the screenshots in this blog, PowerPoint got a bit of a makeover. Every now and then Microsoft updates the style of there software and while we can argue about taste all day long, I simply ask myself one thing when I am treated to a new look and feel in one of the Apps I use: is it better or worse? And my vote would go to “better” for this round. The design is more clear, straightforward and calm. As said, taste is in the eye of the beholder, but for me Microsoft did manage to make the look a bit more appealing.
If you have questions about the features mentioned in this list or have other elements in PowerPoint that you think deserve to be in this list more, than feel free to comment or get in touch with us by filling out the form below. We love to talk shop about PowerPoint and everything Office 365. We can also help you get access to all these great features if you are currently still working on a old version of PowerPoint and want to move over to the latest and greatest that Office has to offer.