PowerPoint 2010 Review

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010 , 12 comments

There has been a lot of hype surrounding the release of the beta version of PowerPoint 2010. We’ve heard users raving about its new design-based features, and the removal of certain bugs. Yet is this all justified? We asked our designers to conduct lengthy testing, basing the results on what we’ve found in practice and our years of experience.

The results we produced were so extensive that we’ve split this review into two parts. This, part one, outlines the improvements and new features PowerPoint 2010 professes over the earlier versions.

What’s New?

Video – In older versions of PowerPoint, videos would have to be linked from PowerPoint to the internet, or to the correct file on your computer. This would cause problems if the internet connection was lost; the file was moved; or when trying to use the PowerPoint file on another computer. It also meant that video could not be edited when in PowerPoint, and when embedded, was in a simple rectangular frame.

2010 has changed the way videos are used in PowerPoint. You can now insert a video file directly into PowerPoint, which, aside from making life a lot easier for the presenter, actually enables the video to be edited within PowerPoint itself. You can adjust the length, brightness, colour, frame… In short, PowerPoint now covers all the basics in video editing, reducing the need for additional software to prepare video for use in presentations.

Animation – I would wager that there are few, if any, presenters who have not at some point experienced a lag in certain animations (unless, that is, the most complicated animations you’ve ever used are ‘Appear’ and ‘Fade Out’). Motion paths have perhaps been the biggest culprit, but there were quite a few animations that had a tendency to jump, and not flow as smoothly as they should with PowerPoint 2003 and PowerPoint 2007.

PowerPoint 2010 has changed all that. Animations now run as they were designed to. Gone is the jumping, gone is the delay, and you are left with animation as it should be.

It’s a Lot Prettier – Those who have customised PowerPoint 2003 will vouch for the fact that if you’ve chosen to make a lot of tools available on the main screen, the view can look a tad messy. 2007, when customised, can also do so. Practical? Perhaps. Pleasing on the eye? No.

PowerPoint 2010 in general just looks better. It’s cleaner than 2007, and much cleaner than 2003. It looks, in fact, like a design tool. Slides themselves are crisper, and were in fact compared by one of our designers to the graphics on an HD advert. In general, the whole program is just nicer to look at.

Share – It’s not that we haven’t had the option to share a PowerPoint file before, it’s just that it had to be done outside of PowerPoint. Send it as an email; upload it to a slide sharing website; convert it to video. All possible, just a little time-consuming.

Now, sharing your presentations has never been easier. You are given the option to ‘share’ right from the ‘backstage’ area. By email, by website… Arguably the best function in this section is the ability to convert a file straight to video with recorded narration. Before, this would have to be done using another piece of software. Now, it can be done with minimal clicks, and minimal fuss.

Stability and Power – PowerPoint 2007, while offering new and improved features on 2003, wasn’t perhaps the most  stable programme. There were bugs, lags, and compatibility issues, that caused many PowerPoint users to revert back to the older PowerPoint 2003.

PowerPoint 2010 has all the features of 2007 (plus extras), with none of the problems (thus far). 2010 has resolved the known bugs, and combined an increased range of options with great constancy in performance. Hyperlinks are more stable, lags have been removed, and the whole experience is a lot less stressful.

Any problems?

With the more obvious, accessible, animations and transitions it might be tempting for amateur designers to go crazy and use every option available. The trouble with this is that most of the new animations in PowerPoint 2010 would serve to distract the audience rather than to direct their attention towards the right things, even to the extent of becoming annoying. Users should think carefully about how they use each function, and why. Probably a challenge for user-education, rather than a problem with the software.

So… How much better is it?

The general opinion of our designers is that PowerPoint 2010 is what 2007 should have been, with the tidy layout, extra features and smooth animations. For functionality, 2010 is the way forward. In the right hands, this software will produce truly beautiful, effective presentations.

In the second half of this review, we will look at usability. How easy is PowerPoint 2010 to use, both for the new user and those experienced in older versions? Our designers judge the ease of use, based on how straightforward a function is to use, and how time-consuming to execute.

Whatever your version of PowerPoint, our Advanced PowerPoint Training could help you get to grips with it.

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12 Comments to PowerPoint 2010 Review

  1. #1

    Richard Ackermann

    2:31 pm, January 22nd, 2010

    You ought to put up notice of what programs are not going to work with 2010 such as salesforce.

  2. #2

    Jessica Pyne

    10:26 pm, January 22nd, 2010

    Hi Richard – Do you mean Office 2010 or PowerPoint in particular? The issue you mentioned might be the case with Outlook, but it wouldn’t affect PowerPoint.

  3. #3

    R.Hilbers

    11:08 am, May 26th, 2010

    Where can I find part II of this review?

  4. #4

    Jessica Pyne

    11:27 am, May 26th, 2010

    The second part of the review can be found here – hope that you find it useful!

  5. #5

    Karen D.

    3:38 pm, September 20th, 2010

    Any suggestions for resolving the drop shadow issues with opening a presentation created in a previous version of Powerpoint. When you animate the text such as bullets, the drop shadow is on the frame before the text animates onto the frame. Also, if you export a Keynote presentation as a Powerpoint and then open it and try to edit and animate the text/images, the program crashes. Any ideas/suggestions would be helpful!

    Thank you.

  6. #6

    Jessica Pyne

    12:26 pm, September 22nd, 2010

    Hi Karen, I’m afraid I do not have a solution to the Keynote problem as yet – there are many compatability issues between it and PowerPoint. I’ll get back to you when I receive a definite answer. However, one of our design team has solved the drop shadow issues for you. The explanation is too long for a comment, so I’ll email you the answer now. But as a general rule, it is best to avoid using earlier versions of a PowerPoint file in later versions of PowerPoint, as it produces no end of issues!

  7. #7

    Ray Kay

    12:16 am, September 29th, 2010

    Could you also e-mail me the solution to the drop shadow issue that occurs when files originate in PowerPoint 2003 and are played back in 2010? I would love to not use 2003, but I am handed files done by others.

    Thanks for your help.

  8. #8

    Jessica Pyne

    6:05 pm, September 29th, 2010

    Hi Ray, I’ll email you the solution now. It seems that these issues are quite common in PowerPoint – please do not hesitate to get in touch if you discover any more! We’re working on producing some content to help users resolve these difficulties.

  9. #9

    Keith

    5:33 am, October 26th, 2010

    Hi Ray, could you send me the solution to the drop shadow problem as well? I have dozens of PowerPoint 2007 presentation that I would like to use in PPT 2010 but it would take days to remove all the drop shadows. Thanks so much.

  10. #10

    Jessica Pyne

    11:27 am, October 27th, 2010

    Hi Keith, I’ve sent the solution over to you – although I’m afraid that there’s no quick fix! I hope this solves the issue for you, but if you are still experiencing problems, please do not hesitate to get back in touch.

  11. #11

    Joby Blume

    9:07 am, October 28th, 2010

    For those interested, the solution to the drop shadow compatibility problem is now up as a separate post.

  12. #12

    Joy Williams

    4:14 pm, February 2nd, 2012

    Hi
    Could you also email me the solution as its driving me nuts!!

    I can’t find anything on the web a way to even ‘take off dropshadow’ on previous powerpoint versions.