Pow­erPoint 2016

Can the pre­sen­ta­tion app fi­nally top­ple Key­note?

Mac Format - - RATED -

Pow­erPoint 2016 is all about bring­ing the Mac app into closer par­ity with its Win­dows cousin. On the sur­face, much has changed: the rib­bon has been stream­lined and re­designed, so Pow­erPoint 2011 stal­warts will need to ad­just to look­ing un­der the Insert tab for ta­ble, chart and SmartArt con­trols.

The float­ing tool­bar has gone, while the In­spec­tor has been in­cor­po­rated into the main in­ter­face in the form of a side­bar that dis­plays con­text-sen­si­tive tools ap­pro­pri­ate to what you’re do­ing. An­i­ma­tion, for­mat­ting and com­ments are three ex­am­ples – they’re housed in sep­a­rate tabs here, or you can click and drag them away to re­store the float­ing win­dow setup if that works bet­ter for you.

Sadly, this is as good as it gets as far as cus­tomis­ing the user in­ter­face goes. Win­dows users get to al­ter all as­pects of the rib­bon, but this kind of fine-tun­ing is sorely ab­sent here.

The story is echoed else­where – Pow­erPoint 2016 on the Mac is sup­posed to bring it into line with the Win­dows version, but fea­ture par­ity is still some way off: you can’t, for ex­am­ple, di­rectly im­port video from YouTube or pho­tos from on­line sources into your pre­sen­ta­tion in the Mac version, while some edit­ing con­trols are also miss­ing.

Worse, some fea­tures from the 2011 edi­tion are gone – you can no longer ex­port a pre­sen­ta­tion as a movie, for ex­am­ple, while im­port­ing a multi-page PDF doesn’t let you choose which page to em­bed.

It’s not all bad news. Pow­erPoint 2016 has done more than sim­ply re­vamp the in­ter­face. Tem­plates and themes have been re­freshed, with a wider range of vari­ants and colour schemes to choose from. Edit­ing im­ported im­ages is eas­ier with for­mat­ting con­trols in the side­bar and other pic­ture tools on the rib­bon. There’s even a Re­move Back­ground but­ton and an op­tion for making a sin­gle colour trans­par­ent – a good al­ter­na­tives to Key­note’s In­stant Al­pha fea­ture.

Pow­erPoint 2016 also in­tro­duces a 3D view for view­ing and man­ag­ing lay­ers. It might seem gim­micky, but it ac­tu­ally works well – you can eas­ily see what goes where. Mean­while, col­lab­o­ra­tion is made that bit eas­ier with sim­pli­fied tools for shar­ing pre­sen­ta­tions as well as threaded com­ments, which make it eas­ier to keep track of con­ver­sa­tions.

Ul­ti­mately there’s a lot to like about Pow­erPoint 2016, and Of­fice’s new mod­u­lar up­date func­tion should en­sure many miss­ing fea­tures ap­pear over time. How­ever, in the here and now, Mi­crosoft’s pre­sen­ta­tion tool is still some way short of pro­vid­ing a com­pelling al­ter­na­tive to Key­note. Nick Peers

Pow­erPoint 2016 is sup­posed to bring the Mac app in line with Win­dows, but fea­ture par­ity is still a way off This is cer­tainly a step for­ward, but Pow­erPoint 2016 still falls some way short of achiev­ing true great­ness.

The new side­bar pro­vides con­ve­nient ac­cess to key tools for man­ag­ing your slideshow’s el­e­ments.

Pow­erPoint’s new 3D lay­out view makes re­ar­rang­ing im­ages and other lay­ers easy.

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