PowerPoint 2010: Positives and Negatives

When Microsoft introduced PowerPoint 2007, we found a whole new look and feel.  The new menu bar was virtually unrecognizable. Though not as drastic a change from 2007, PowerPoint 2010 nevertheless has a new look. That combined with added functionality delivers both positive and negative results.

The positives:

  • PowerPoint files created in PowerPoint 2010 may easily be opened in 2007. Microsoft has a compatibility pack that allows you to open, edit and save PowerPoint 2010 in versions of PowerPoint earlier than 2007.
  • An enhanced ribbon toolbar gives you the ability to create custom tabs on your ribbon. Name the tab, add frequently used actions and it will become part of your PowerPoint interface.
  • You can now convert your PowerPoint presentation to video.
  • Many new and exciting transitions between slides are available, similar to transition effects in Apple Keynote.
  • You may now organize your presentations into sections (previously available only in Microsoft Word). The Sections button is located on the Ribbon toolbar.
  • You may now embed videos, including web videos if you have internet access, thus eliminating constant need for zipped files and instruction as to video placement.
  • PowerPoint 2010 now includes built-in video editing features. You can trim videos, and add various effects similar to those available for shapes and images. In addition to .wmv videos, PowerPoint 2010 supports QuickTime videos in .mov and .mp4 formats and flash videos (.swf files) if you have QuickTime and Adobe Flash players installed on your computer.
  • New in PowerPoint version 2010 are sound editing tools that allow you to trim the start and end position and add fade in and fade out to any sound.
  • With PowerPoint 2010, you can apply different artistic effects to your pictures to make them look more like a sketch, drawing, or painting so that they blend well with the theme of your presentation. Some of the new effects include Pencil Sketch, Line Drawing, Chalk Sketch, Watercolor Sponge, Glass, Cement, Plastic Wrap, Glow Edges, Photocopy, and Paint Strokes, as well as increased control of duotones and other effects.
  • The new co-authoring function allows users to simultaneously edit the same presentation from different locations or computers.
  • Microsoft has added many new Smart Art options giving you access to frequently used visual elements.
  • PowerPoint 2010 contains new security features. “Mark as Final” prevents further changes to the presentation. You may assign permissions that prevent other users from copying, printing, or editing the presentation by selecting the access level specific to their requirements.

As with any transition in Microsoft product versions there are compatibility issues between 2003, 2007 and 2010.  Perhaps even more problems are inherent in the newest version, issues that are virtually undetectable.

The negatives:

  • Since PowerPoint 2007 and 2010 both use the .pptx extension, it is virtually impossible to tell which of the two versions the presentation was created in. Microsoft has not incorporated the ability to find the application version anywhere in the program.
  • That being said, PowerPoint 2007 interprets transitions, animations and other 2010 specific actions and applies what it considers the closest match. Since it is impossible to tell which version of PowerPoint the presentation has been created in, the original creator’s effects may be lost.
  • A video embedded in PPT 2010 will show up as a stationary image rather than a video when the file is opened in PPT 2007, similar to the effect when one views a presentation from a Mac with a .mov file. If you have the native file in the folder (.wmv), the video will play but effects applied in PowerPoint 2010 (such as crop, 3-D effects, layer shapes, or duotones) though visible when the slide first appears will revert to the original format of the video.
  • PowerPoint 2010 does not support the 64-bit versions of QuickTime and Flash which are available on Windows 7. If using Windows 7 in conjunction with PowerPoint 2010, be sure to install 32 bit versions of the programs.
  • If you add effects to sound in PPT 2010, such as rim or fade, the sound won’t play AT ALL in any other PPT versions. No message, no warning — just no sound. Adding effects negates everything about the sound file.
  • If the presentation’s creator is using a downloaded trial version of PowerPoint 2010, many of the functions disappear when saved. This is especially true of any media used in the presentation. When another presenter using the full version of PowerPoint 2010 opens the presentation, any embedded media will become an image only and will not play.
  • In Office PowerPoint 2007, new security features had been introduced to help ensure that a presentation was safely managed after it left the user’s hands. In PowerPoint 2010, security features still exist and include added encryption. These enhanced security features can make it virtually impossible for another user to edit the presentation in all versions of PPT. Security features are important for obvious reasons, but can vastly interfere with the ability to revise when necessary.
  • As with 2007 the ribbon bar may take some getting used to. Though similar to that in 2007, functions have been juggled about, creating a slight learning curve.

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