It has finally arrived. The Beta version of Office 365 is available to preview along with the tool that we are most excited about… PowerPoint 2013.
We have downloaded and installed the preview and are eager to start testing it out over the coming weeks but for now we would like to share our first impressions of the new (and improved?) PowerPoint 2013.
Shiny new interface
The most obvious change is the new Metro user interface which Microsoft has applied to the entire Office Suite. There were a lot of ‘oohs and aahs’ from our design team as we checked out the new interface!
Whilst the functionality of the interface has not changed significantly from 2010, the whole design is much cleaner and has clearly been developed for touch compatibility. Although there aren’t any major new additions to the tools on the ribbon the main improvement that we have noticed so far is that the existing tools have been streamlined which will help to speed up design time. Overall everything just feels a little bit, dare we say it… cooler.
Improved design tools
We are all about slide consistency here at Presentation Studio so we are happy to see that the smart guides for alignment have been improved and you can now add colours to them to make them stand out more. One feature we were hoping for was the ability to lock these guides in place, but alas.
There is however the addition of the eyedropper tool which is great for matching imagery colour to that of your shapes and text. (Top Tip: Although PowerPoint 2010 doesn’t have this feature we find that Pixie is a great solution!)
Now for the good stuff… PowerPoint 2013 now has a comments panel for editing (similar to Microsoft Word) and additional users can add replies to these comments. Your whole team can also sign into Microsoft SkyDrive and be sure that they are all viewing the latest version.
Finally… Presenter View
Our favourite and probably one of the most significant updates is to the Presenter View which is now looking pretty slick. It is available in earlier versions of PowerPoint but not many people actually are aware of it.
Presenter View for PowerPoint 2013 has clearly been created with touch functionality in mind. As a presenter, you can easily hook up your tablet up to a second screen and use the presenter view on the tablet to drive your entire presentation. Whilst the audience will be viewing your latest slide – using your tablet you now have access to a new an improved presenter dashboard.
The old presenter view tools are still there… annotation tools to highlight your slides has the addition of a laser pointer and you now have the option to save your notes when you end your slideshow.
A button has also been added to allow you to quickly ‘blackout’ your screen which is great for breakout sessions. (Top Tip: You can do this in PowerPoint 2010 and 2007 using the keyboard shortcut ‘B’ or ‘W’ when in slideshow mode)
Now the coolest new addition is the ability to ZOOM and scroll across specific areas on your slide. So if you have a diagram with a key point you want to focus on you can. We can’t wait to properly give this one a go!
So, on first impressions PowerPoint 2013 may not have too many exciting new design features but it definitely looks much cooler and appears to have really focussed on usability collaboration.
We will post a full review here once our designers have had a chance to really put it to the test but for now why not check out the Beta preview for yourself and let us know what you think!