PowerPoint 2002

PowerPoint 2002

Summary: PowerPoint remains a top-quality presentation tool, but the changes in the 2002 version are merely incremental.

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Pros

  • Supports multiple slide masters
  • anti-aliased screen fonts
  • enhanced animation tools
  • dual-screen presenter support.

Cons

  • Few brand-new features.

Along with Word 2002, PowerPoint 2002 benefits considerably from the new comment and review features of Office XP, and features some improvements that make it a more productive and flexible product.

As collaborative tools are covered elsewhere in this review, we'll focus on the more PowerPoint-specific changes, which include print preview, layout grid and multiple masters.

It's almost inconceivable that print preview hasn't been available in PowerPoint until now, so the ability to see how your presentation will look on hard copy is a welcome -- if belated -- addition. The same could be said of a visible layout grid, which helps to ensure that objects are placed and aligned correctly. Perhaps less obvious, but equally useful, is the inclusion of multiple master slides, so you needn't follow the same style throughout, but can create a variety of formats for the same presentation.

There are nearly fifty design templates available (with several colour schemes for each one), ranging from dull to downright gaudy. If you can't find something that you like, then you can always create your own designs and objects using the toolsets in the Task Pane. Anti-aliasing (font smoothing) makes your final presentation look smarter -- especially on a low-resolution display.

Thumbnails are now visible in Normal view and can be rearranged by dragging them into place, making the Slide Sorter view rather redundant. This gives you a much clearer idea of a presentation's overall layout, without the need to change modes. If you're using the Web as a presentation medium, both embedded sounds and the majority of animations will be preserved when you save to HTML (PowerPoint 2002 doesn't support XML export). You can also specify image resolution and compression to keep your presentation down to a more Web-friendly size.

If you have a dual-display setup, you can run your slides on one screen while keeping your notes or presentation layout open on the other, allowing you to jump slides or change the running order on the fly.

The rather limited organisation charts have also been updated to include additional diagram layouts such as Pyramid or Radial, and can be customised using the drawing tools or animation effects. For greater control of these effects, you can now specify entry and exit points, timelines and paths, and apply them to single objects, or the entire presentation.

If you want to protect sensitive data, PowerPoint 2002 features the same 128-bit password and content encryption feature as Word and Excel, making it a useful corporate tool.

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Topics: Apps, Reviews, Software

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