New features in PowerPoint 2013
Like Word and Excel, PowerPoint has won out against the opposition and is the de facto standard for preparing computer-based presentations. Microsoft made quite a few claims for new features in PowerPoint 2013, but there's a little exaggeration in some of them. See all Office software reviews.
Microsoft implies that Presenter View, the way PowerPoint 2013 handles dual- and multi-screen views, so a presenter can see what s/he's doing, while the audience only sees the slides, is a new feature. In fact, it was there in PowerPoint 2010. See all: PC Advisor software downloads.
It's had a revamp, though, so in PowerPoint 2013 now uses a black background and the presenter's slide viewer shows both the next slide and any notes, alongside the one currently displayed. There are new tools, like the laser pointer and zoom to highlight particular areas of slides and you can use touch gestures for zooming, if you're working from a tablet.
You can also swap displays, though it's hard to see why you would want to show the audience screen on your laptop and the presenter's control screen projected large. PowerPoint automatically sets up Presenter View when it detects a second screen connected to the machine running the presentation.
Collaboration in PowerPoint 2013
Collaboration is another buzzword for PowerPoint 2013, with the ability to share a presentation and receive a reply to comments on individual elements within each slide. Again, though, this feature was available in PowerPoint 2010, where you could upload your presentation to SkyDrive and two or more people could access it for review, at once.
Now, SkyDrive is the default storage location for presentations, when you're online and logged into your Microsoft account. It's easier to set up sharing, too, by sending a link to colleagues you want to take part. There's also a new comment pane for each slide, where you can see the comment threads on any edits.
There are several new design features to help build slides. Alignment guides, as introduced in Word 2013 and Publisher 2010, are also available in PowerPoint 2013. As well as being able to align elements to the edges of others, it's possible to setup guides on a master slide which are then highlighted for alignment on the slides in a presentation. This is a genuine help and makes consistent layout between slides much quicker.
PowerPoint 2013: shape tools
The range of shape tools has been expanded by the introduction of the Merge Shapes function. This enables two or more shapes to be merged together in a variety of different ways, using union, combine, fragment, intersect and subtract mathematics. Given the wide range of shapes already available, the ability to create your own by merging two or more gives considerable extra graphic scope.
When you select any object, a new Format Object task pane opens to the right of the screen, showing all the formatting settings in one place. This is unusual for this version of Office, but harks back to the panes that Word 2007 used for paragraph styles and other formatting.
The eyedropper tool enables you to capture specific colours, to give to page elements or backgrounds. It's hard to believe this tool hasn't been available before. Other improvements include support for MP4 video as well as WMV and the ability to have a music soundtrack playing across multiple slides. Read our full Office 2013 review. For more business software reviews visit Business Advisor.