Updated Mac version of Microsoft's presentation software focuses on rich media and sharing.
PowerPoint started out in the late 1980s as a tool for the Macintosh, recent revisions
for the Mac have always felt slightly dumbed-down in comparison with the
Windows release. Some of that perception is my own fault, for sticking with
Office 2004 well into this year. But Microsoft is also partly to blame; the
company's policy of basing the Mac version of Office on "last year's" release
of Office for Windows, with a slightly reduced feature set, guaranteed that the
only people who were wowed by PowerPoint for Mac in recent years were die-hard
Mac users. That is no longer the case.
presentations are like whiskey; the craft that goes into the creation is lost
through excess. Simply organizing a presentation with dozens of slides is a
chore in itself, but this release of PowerPoint for Mac allows one to group
slides into sections, making navigation and presentation less of a struggle.
Sections can be named as desired, and, in the Slides pane, collapsed or
expanded for more efficient browsing.
of the hard things about creating truly fresh presentations in previous versions
of PowerPoint was the amount of digging one had to do in order to pull the
variety of media at one's fingertips into the slide deck. The Media Browser
feature of PowerPoint 2011 is meant to offer a single-pane view of audio, clip
art, movies, photos, shapes and symbols, by giving one-click access to the
user's iPhoto library, iTunes playlists or Movies folder. Users who have gone
to the trouble of tagging media with meaningful keywords can use those tags to
filter searches, and preview found audio and video with the press of a button.
now possible to reduce the size of embedded images by rightsizing them for the
way they'll be used; one can remove cropped regions from images in a
presentation or reduce the pixel count to settings optimized for print (220
ppi), on-screen viewing (150 ppi) or e-mail delivery (96 ppi). One can make the
change on an image-by-image basis or globally, as desired; this feature is
especially useful when presentations are being circulated for review.
slides can contain a number of layered objects-especially when one is fond of
animating slide builds-it's no longer enough to be able to send something to
the back of the object stack, or bring it to the front. PowerPoint 2011's
Dynamic Reordering feature provides a 3-D view of the object layers in a slide
and allows the user to reorganize them as desired.
nifty feature is the addition of controls for embedded movies; one can pause,
rewind, and fast forward a movie without leaving the presentation, or adjust
the volume of an embedded movie without modifying the source media.
Point for Mac 2011 shares a number of new features with Word 2011 and Excel
2011, including sharing and co-authoring through SharePoint and Microsoft's
SkyDrive service, and enhanced information rights-management tools. The
PowerPoint Web App is available for online access to a stored document or to
run a presentation.
nice to see PowerPoint getting back to its roots on the Macintosh platform. The
enhanced toolset and the new sharing features finally set PowerPoint for Mac at
rough parity with the Windows version, a state of affairs that is long overdue.
P. J. Connolly began writing for IT publications in 1997 and has a lengthy track record in both news and reviews. Since then, he's built two test labs from scratch and earned a reputation as the nicest skeptic you'll ever meet. Before taking up journalism, P. J. was an IT manager and consultant in San Francisco with a knack for networking the Apple Macintosh, and his love for technology is exceeded only by his contempt for the flavor of the month. Speaking of which, you can follow P. J. on Twitter at pjc415, or drop him an email at email@example.com.