Software

Microsoft's PowerPoint 2016 for Mac is not to blame for poor presentations

The new PowerPoint 2016 for Mac packs some new punches that make creating compelling presentations even easier. Erik Eckel explains.

PowerPoint 2016 for Mac

Often maligned as an unnecessary and overused business evil, Microsoft PowerPoint is not to blame for poor presentations. No, bad presentations are the author's fault. Fortunately, PowerPoint presentation creators have even fewer reasons to blame the software, should a poor quality slide show result, using PowerPoint 2016 for Mac. The new application possesses several helpful enhancements.

New design features make it easy to switch quickly between color themes. Variants, located on the Design tab, let you view new color schemes within a drop-down window before applying the new scheme to an entire presentation. Thus, even graphically challenged users will find that Microsoft has removed some of the last remaining guesswork from designing at least visually-appealing presentations.

Collaboration improvements found in other Office 2016 for Mac applications are also present in PowerPoint. Threaded comments enable multiple authors and editors to conduct a conversation regarding proposed changes and edits, rather than requiring a long list of independent comments surround a specific point of debate. Other co-authoring features permit multiple users to collaborate and work together to build a single presentation simultaneously. Because multiple simultaneous change and edits can conflict, Microsoft's developers included the Conflict Resolution view, which allows users to compare conflicting changes onscreen, thereby assisting editors in determining which changes are best to keep.

PowerPoint's Animation Pane, accessed from the Animations tab's ribbon, simplifies designing and editing animations, while the Presenter View, accessed from the Slide Show ribbon, provides common tools that are frequently used to host a presentation. Using PowerPoint 2016 for Mac, presenters don't need to share their Mac's entire screen with participants. Only the PowerPoint slide show appears, although the presenter can continue viewing the current slide, next slide, speaker notes, and presentation timer.

When opening PowerPoint 2016 for Mac, the first screen that appears is the preliminary PowerPoint window. From the initial screen, users can open a preconfigured template to create a new presentation, open a recently viewed or edited presentation, or open a presentation stored on the Mac or within a connected service, such as Microsoft's OneDrive cloud service. As expected, numerous predesigned templates and styles are available that boast an array of colors and fonts.

Although PowerPoint 2016 packs a refreshed interface, menus appear largely the same as in other recent PowerPoint versions, meaning users won't struggle to navigate the new application when creating and editing presentations and delivering slide shows.

Design, Transitions, Animations, and Slide Show all receive their own interactive ribbons, so users who are familiar with PowerPoint should experience no trouble picking up right where they left off. That said, some of the new design and collaboration tools will make it easier for users, especially those working on larger teams where collaboration has become the norm vs. the exception.

What do you think of PowerPoint 2016 for Mac? Share your opinion in the discussion thread below.

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About Erik Eckel

Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president o...

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