Free Guide To Microsoft PowerPoint 2007 Best New Features

Released as part of the Microsoft Office 2007 suite of applications, PowerPoint 2007 is the latest upgrade in what has become the de facto standard in presentation software.

While much of the functionality remains essentially the same, there are some intriguing new features available for both slideshow presenters and those who create them.

Here are some of the best new features:

1. The PowerPoint Ribbon

Like all Office 2007 products, the most noticeable new feature in PowerPoint 2007 is the ribbon interface.

Microsoft’s updated replacement for the familiar menu with toolbar combo, puts more features than ever just one or two clicks away instead of checkboxes accessed from deep within the menu structure. So, users who need a special effect or other tool can access it much more easily and more quickly.


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One difficulty with the previous menu bar was the necessity of trying to shoehorn commands into certain menus in order to maintain consistency, while at the same time avoiding so many menus that it became confusion. Gone are the days of trying to remember if what you were trying to do fit under Edit, Insert, Format, or Tools.

Thanks to the new ribbon interface, familiar cross-product commands like New, Open, Save, and basic formatting are all under the Home tab, while the rest of the tabs can be more specific to PowerPoint. You’ll never have trouble finding the menu to add animation again!

Plus, managing the color scheme of your presentation has never been easier.

2. Slide Masters

Have you ever put together a beautiful hour-long presentation complete with appropriate company logo and disclaimer on every slide only to get feedback from your boss that it’s great, but it should use the new logo with the company slogan on it?

Thanks to slide masters, one single change can replace that logo on ever single slide, and make sure it gets added or updated to every slide that comes in along the way from the local offices.

Slide Masters allow for certain elements to be made part of the “template” while making other areas editable for each slide. So, common elements can propagate throughout the presentation without restricting the dynamic nature of individual slides.

3. Powerful New Formatting

WordArt is great, but too much can be overwhelming. But if you stick with the basic 5 fonts and a little bold and italics and you have a snooze-fest waiting to happen. Fortunately, PowerPoint 2007 comes with more formatting features. Small Caps, Strikethrough, and even Underline with Color are all available without any hoops to jump through.

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Also making a welcome appearance in PowerPoint 2007 is paragraph formatting. Nothing makes a slide look just a little “off” like the inability to format paragraphs. In older versions, you had two choices, make a phony break by adding another bullet, or let the disclaimer have the same line spacing as your clever multi-line quote.

In PowerPoint 2007, there is not only real line spacing but also columns, vertical text alignment, and even text direction so you can have that information about things moving up, actually reading up.

4. Improved WordArt

WordArt has been around for several versions of MS Office, but it has always been most robust inside of Word. Previous versions of PowerPoint allowed for some WordArt, but without its full power. Unfortunately, with the number of PowerPoint presentations the average person sees, even the most creative uses of WordArt start to look repetitive.

Not anymore! PowerPoint 2007 comes with a pretty much fully loaded implementation of WordArt. Now, not only are there more WordArt choices, but you can customize them to your liking with gradient fills, shadows, and more.

5. Better Graphic Tweaks

Microsoft calls it SmartArt. You’ll call it not having to do all of your arrows and direction affects in PowerPoint. SmartArt exists primarily to help visualize flow and ordered lists. In PowerPoint of old, your only hope was clunky arrows, varying font sizes, or a background that suggested the proper movement.

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In PowerPoint 2007 there are all manner of flowing graphics from circular arrows for "cycles", to pyramids, to actual hierarchies. No more importing that scanned image of the company org chart onto your slides.

Another nifty new feature involves picture-based effects like shadows, reflections, and even rotation.

6. Presenter View

Those who actually have to give presentations in front of a live audience will love the new presenter view.

The presenter view allows for one screen to have just the slides that the audience is supposed to see, while the other screen has all of the talking points, notes, and even a preview of what the next slide is for the person giving the presentation.

No more standing in front of 200 of your colleagues while you say, “And, I think on the next slide we’ll see some …”

7. SharePoint Integration

For companies using Microsoft’s SharePoint collaboration software, PowerPoint provides tighter integration with that platform. Slide Libraries allow for PowerPoint presentations to be shared among multiple users. While people have been sharing PowerPoint files for years, Slide Libraries add a new level of functionality.

When a user downloads a presentation from a slide library, it maintains a link to the original. If that presentation is updated, then the user is notified of the new version automatically when they open PowerPoint. There is no need to check and see if you have the latest version, because PowerPoint (via SharePoint) checks this for you.

Even better, if you use just one slide in another presentation, that one slide also maintains the link to the SharePoint Library ensuring that the slide remains continuously up to date. This type of functionality is perfect for sales professionals, trainers, and anyone else who needs to ensure that updated facts and figures are always included in their presentations.

For example, a salesperson giving a series of presentations over the course of a month could automatically update the pricing slide to reflect mid-month price cuts without having to manually check and edit the figures. Pretty neat huh?

Summary

Microsoft PowerPoint was already pretty much the only way people create and present electronic presentations any more. But, Microsoft has included some great new features to an already robust set that make creating and delivering interesting and useful presentations even easier.

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