I’ll wager that a large number of you – nay even all – have used PowerPoint at some time in your life, either for a school or business presentation, worship service or to create a choose-your-own-adventure game. Maybe for you, PowerPoint meets all your presentation needs.
But it doesn’t meet mine. And here’s why:
- The freakin’ grid. Have you ever tried to line up two pictures manually in PowerPoint? It’s practically impossible. Everything is on this invisible grid, which seems to be built of five-pixel squares. What’s odd is the grid isn’t in a fixed position. Two pictures can be on two completely different grids. So when you’ve got a series of pictures that you want on a straight line, you have to use the auto-align function, which can take a number of extra clicks if you’ve got the “relative to slide” button clicked under the auto-align menu.
- Fonts aren’t embedded. I work on a Mac. The rest of the business world works on a PC. A large number of fonts (read: most) don’t play well across platforms. For example, those of you who read my blog on a PC aren’t seeing the true beauty of my blog. I use a font called “Gill Sans” – a Mac-standard font that must be added manually (or purchased) for use on most PCs – for my body copy. This is a bad practice in blog-building, as I’m creating a style around a small number of readers, but the font makes me happy. Anyway, when I create a presentation I have to use standard fonts, just to make sure the slide will be readable no matter the platform.
- Junky animations. PowerPoint has a large animation library, which sounds good in theory. Unfortunately, a large number of those animations should never – I repeat NEVER – be used in any type of professional or academic presentation. This complaint has less to do with my using PowerPoint and more to do with my having to view PowerPoint presentations. Don’t even give people the option to drop their words in letter-by-letter Microsoft!
- Doesn’t play well with movies. Why do I still have to manually link movies? At least give me the option to embed them in my presentation. That way if the movie gets thrown away or filed elsewhere, it doesn’t break my show.
- The option to insert clipart is higher than the option to insert a picture from file. Clip art must, must, must die, but Microsoft has refused to remove the bitmaps’ life supports. Beyond that, MS seems to be promoting the silly cartoony-things by including their clip art gallery with Office. There are two surefire ways to make your presentation look amateurish: silly animations (see point 3) and clipart. PowerPoint should take their industry-standard responsibility seriously and help lead people to create professional presentations.
So what am I to do? I can’t really use Keynote because it doesn’t allow me to create cross-platform presentations (let me know if I’m wrong). MediaShout doesn’t really seem to be an appropriate tool for my needs (let me know if I’m wrong). SongShow Plus is designed specifically for worship and has features that I would never use (let me know if I’m wrong).
Ah Microsoft. Your products create such joy for your users.