An Insight Courtesy of Eyeful’s Resident PowerPoint Boffin, Matt
Well, after many happy hours putting the sneaky peek Beta version through its paces I’m very happy to report that, in the humble option of this PowerPoint übergeek, PowerPoint 2013 has been worth the wait.
Look and Feel
When you first open PowerPoint 2013 you are instantly struck by the sleek new look and feel. This is not only visually appealing but also makes the whole program feel very solid and reliable. Also the default slide size is now 16×9 rather than the traditional 4×3 – an improvement which we’ve been looking forward to for a while now.
It may look a little different, but the ribbon is still there and the layout of this has barely changed. What has changed though is when you right click and select format shape, the window for this now appears to the right and as a solid part of PowerPoint, rather that floating ethereally. It takes a little getting used to but essentially it’s the same.
Not a lot’s changed on the template front, with PowerPoint 2013 sticking to the same format as its 2010 and 2007 predecessors. We’re great believers in hanging on to what works so there’s no disappointment on that front.
It’s the Insert Tab on the ribbon that’s changed most. Colours are the same as before but the gradient fill pre-sets have really improved to give a more modern look and feel.
The Insert tab also includes some new image options. The first of which is the ability to Insert Online Pictures, this allows you to load directly from SkyDrive or by searching the web for images using Bing Image Search – great for home users but not really applicable in the professional world.
This does pose the question – is Microsoft opening its users up to a whole world of pain in terms of using unlicensed images? Our recommendation is tread carefully out there when choosing images to add to your presentation!
Another upgrade to inserting images is the Insert Screen Shot tool, which those of you who use Windows Snipping Tool will be familiar with. You can either snip parts of you monitor view or this tool will show you a screen grab of any applications that you have open. Integrating this type of functionality has made a previously clunky task much smoother.
This screen shot functionality is also really useful when used in conjunction with the new Eyedropper tool which is part of the fill section when it comes to changing colour.
Now you can snip anything on screen and quickly and easily create a consistent colour palette by using the Eyedropper tool to replicate colours from one shape or image to another.
One of the big advances of PowerPoint 2010 was the ability to save a presentation as a WMV video. In 2013 Microsoft have added the functionality to save out as an MP4 video. No great advantage as you can easily convert a WMV video outside of PowerPoint, but nonetheless it will save time.
Sadly the only way to export to Flash/HTML5 is still an external plug in but maybe that’s something we’ll see in the next iteration.
Which is quite enough excitement for one blog, but there’s much more to come in part 2….