PowerPoint 2013 – The Übergeek Review – Part 2

Friday, August 3rd, 2012 by Matt

The Innovation continues….

Game Changing Animation Pane

I had hoped and dreamed for an animation pane with a scrub bar so that I could view animations from a chosen part of the sequence only.

Well, there isn’t a scrub bar but Microsoft have certainly upped their game in the department of animation preview. Now when you are creating a long sequence of animation you can either select a point in the pane to start from, or you can use CTRL to select any animations in the pane and preview only these! FANTASTIC!

Hours and hours of painful animation previewing will be consigned to history as this fantastic new tool makes PowerPoint designer’s lives across the world that bit easier!

And if that wasn’t impressive enough there is another great upgrade to animation, this time to motion paths. To make a shape arrive at exactly the position you want it has always been a highly skilled and fiddly task. PowerPoint 2013 now creates a temporary copy of the object you are adding a motion path to and projects a preview of exactly where the object will be when it has travelled along the motion path. This is the sort of functionality that encourages designers to dream up ambitious schemes so it’s all good!

Other Design Upgrades

The auto alignment tool that really improved in 2010 has been upgraded, the automatic guides now highlight the equal spacing between two objects, saving time on distributing later.

The yellow diamond when altering the edges of a rounded rectangle for example, has improved as the circles and lines around the shape disappear allowing you to see what you are doing!

The selection pane looks much better now, but works  in much the same way, now with the ability to drag objects into position.

In my PowerPoint dream, I hoped for the combine shapes tool to be a part of the ribbon and they are now indeed there along with a couple of new additions to this small family of commands which sits nestled in the Drawing Tools tab.

Copying objects across from an open PowerPoint 2010 deck is OK, the objects keep all of their attributes apart from animation.

Outside of Design

Microsoft’s big push for Office 2013 is the functionality linked to SkyDrive, pushing people to save documents here as opposed to locally on their machines. This is really useful as you can now start a document on one PC then continue on another PC or a mobile device without the need for emailing a different version back and forth.

Another new function is in presenting mode you can hit a button and zoom straight into a particular area of a slide. This is useful for highlighting content to your audience but I think caution will be needed; if you’re using this all the time it may be that your slides are too cluttered and too much of this could leave your audience dizzy a la Prezi.

Overall the thing that you really notice is that everything seems to happen much quicker than in previous versions.  This is apparent throughout PowerPoint2013 but to satisfy myself that I wasn’t imagining it, I did a quick test.

  • Inserting a piece of music into a slide PowerPoint 2010 = 9.5 seconds
  • PowerPoint 2013 = less than 1 second

The suspected improvement is real and significant (to the point that I am unembarrassed about using a stopwatch in the office)!

And finally some of with the things that haven’t come true from my PowerPoint 2013 hopes… there is still no ‘Insert Icons’ ‘Insert Silhouettes’ buttons and the animation ‘Random Bars’ is still there!

Still you can’t have everything!

In this PowerPoint übergeeks opinion PowerPoint 2013 is a worthy successor to 2010 and has taken some big steps forward in functionality. It’s not the huge leap we had from 2003 to 2007 but there is a lot to be said about not fixing what isn’t broken.

PowerPoint 2013 means that PowerPoint users across the land can save even more time and work with less stressful animations leaving them extra energy to let their imaginations (and their storytelling skills) run wild!

Thank you Microsoft! It finally feels like we are on the same page…

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