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What’s New In Microsoft PowerPoint 2013 ?

Posted by Hemprasad Y. Badgujar on July 9, 2014


Revamped Landing Page

The landing page of PowerPoint 2013 has received the much needed facelift. The landing page of the previous version, Microsoft Office 2010, looked very bland and even confusing to some users. In the newer version, the landing page has been revamped to provide users with quick access to locally available templates, as well as the online database. The online templates are divided into several categories such as Business, Industry, Small Business, Presentation, Orientation, Design Sets, 4:3, Media, Nature, Marketing etc. While new presentations can be created from the main window, the left sidebar shows all the recently accessed presentations.

 

Color Themes For Templates

The templates can be used with different color themes. For instance, if the theme comes with a light color scheme, and you want to use darker colors, just click the template and all the available color schemes will be displayed. You can select the required one to use in your presentation. Just like the previous versions, you can also manually change the color and style of elements in a template.

 

Enhanced Presenter View

The Presenter View in PowerPoint 2013 displays the Active slide on the left side, the Next slide at the top right, while the Notes for the current slide are displayed in the bottom right corner. A timer appears above the preview of the current slide, and extra controls are available at the top and bottom of the Presenter View window.

Even though, Presenter View was also available in the previous versions of Microsoft PowerPoint, it was not activated by default. Users had to navigate to the Slide Show tab, and enable Presenter View in order to display it on secondary display screen. For this reason, a lot of people were not aware of its existence in the previous PowerPoint versions. Microsoft seemed to realize this in the latest release, and has enabled it by default. Now, whenever you run the slide show, the Presenter View will be displayed, if there are multiple display devices connected to the computer. Some changes have also been made to the console. Now you have an extra Laser Pointer Pen Tool, option to zoom parts of a slide, see all slides at a time, and ability to switch Slide show and Presenter Views between the connected display monitors.

 

Account Management

The Account Management window allows you to connect to your SkyDrive account, and add services to use with PowerPoint. Sign in to your Microsoft Account, and it will automatically connect to your SkyDrive account. You can use the same account to sign in to Microsoft Office 2013 on different devices. This way, all your saved documents will be synced to the cloud and will be available for viewing and editing from any device. This eliminates the need to carry your documents in removable storage drives. Using the SkyDrive account, you can easily share your presentations and invite others to collaborate on required presentation projects.

 

Share Documents To View & Edit In The Browser

The Share option offers a number of ways to share the document with others. You can Invite people by specifying their Email addresses, Send them a link to View and Edit the document, Post the document to Social networks, Email it to others as an attachment (PPTX), as a URL, as PDF, as XPS, or as internet Fax,Present it Online so that others can check out your presentation from their browsers, and Publish Slides to any Library or a SharePoint site. The person on the receiving end does not need to have Microsoft Office installed on his/her system in order to view or edit the document. If they have a Windows Live ID, everything can be performed from inside the browser.

 

 

Widescreen & Fullscreen Support

PowerPoint 2013 offers a slew of Widescreen templates and themes. The previous version also allowed you to switch to widescreen mode, however, you had to manually change the aspect ratio of the slide, which also changed the size of the slide elements. The new version of PowerPoint has built in support for Widescreen monitors. Moreover, there is also a new full screen mode available for editing. It allows you to view your slides, and edit them while consuming the available screen space. The Ribbon, containing all the editing options, can be activated and deactivated from a conveniently placed button at the top right corner.

 

UI Changes & Pane View

There are various UI related changes in PowerPoint 2013. First of all, everything feels smoother, from the movement of the cursor when you type, to the way animations appear in your presentation. Microsoft has also tried to improve the look and feel of the interface. There are now buttons available on the main interface to switch to the aforementioned Fullscreen View, and to access Notes and Comments.

Another welcome change to the UI is that a lot of options, which used to appear in separate dialog boxes, are now accessible through panes, appearing on the right side. For instance, in PowerPoint 2010, if you right-click a slide and select Format Background, a separate dialog box opens up. You can make changes to a slide, but the dialog box covers the slide, and you have to move it manually in order to view all the slide elements. Moreover, when you select Format Background option, instead of opening a separate dialog box, a pane is added to the right side. Anything that you change using from the pane is reflected on the slide in real time. It means that you don’t have to open and close the dialog box again and again to view the changes. Just like other Office 2013 suite applications, it includes an Online pictures option to let you quickly add background to the slide from your favorite online image resource; you can choose an image from the Office.com Clip Art Library, the Bing Image Search, or from your own SkyDrive and Flickr account.

 

Alignment Guides, Merge Shapes & Auto-Text Wrapping

A new feature, included in PowerPoint 2013, as well as Word 2013, is the Alignment Guides. It allows you to easily align objects and text in a slide, relative to each other. You can use the object alignment option to merge different shapes with each other. For instance, If you want to merge together two shapes, the alignment guides help you in quickly adjusting them together according to top, down, left and right margins. Another very useful, and much needed, feature added to PowerPoint 2013 is auto-text wrapping. When an image is added to a slide with text in it, the text automatically readjusts itself around the image so that there is no overlapping of any kind.

 

Insert Online Video, Image And Audio

PowerPoint 2013 now allows you to add videos, images and audio files directly from the internet, without first downloading them to your PC. Think of it as the object being embedded in your presentation. The previous version of PowerPoint also had the option to add videos from the web, however you had to copy the embed code of required video and paste it into PowerPoint. The latest version allows you to Insert an online video in your presentation using the integrated Bing Video Search, SkyDrive Account, YouTube, or From a Video Embed Code. For instance, to add a YouTube video, just search for it, select the required one from the search results and click OK to embed it into your presentation.

 

The image results are, by default, set to show the images that are licensed under Create Commons, so it eliminates the chance of copyright violation when you use an online image in your presentation. You can also choose to view all the web results for your search.

 

Export Presentation As WMV & MPEG-4 Video

PowerPoint 2010 also lets you save the presentation as a video, but only in WMV format. In PowerPoint 2013, another format, MPEG-4 is added to save converted presentation in video format. Due to the addition of MPEG-4 format, the presentation video can directly played on a lot of media players and devices. Now, users don’t require Windows Media CODEC installed on non-Windows devices to watch the presentation. Also, portable devices, as well as a lot of LCD/ LED TVs have built in support to play MPEG-4 format. Just go to Export, and select Create a Video. All the other options, including the Resolution, and whether to use recorded timings and narrations are available with the MPEG-4 format.

 

Start at the new Start screen

As with the other key Office 2013 applications, PowerPoint 2013 shares the new Modern-style interface and a revamped Start screen. Instead of the blank presentation you started with in PowerPoint 2010, this screen is packed with options including a range of templates. Also on the Start screen is a link to your current online SharePoint or SkyDrive account, a list of recently accessed PowerPoint files, and an Open Other Presentations link which you use to access files on disk or stored in the cloud.

You can also search online for templates and themes from the Start screen; a list of suggested searches helps here.

Now you can preview layouts before selecting a Theme to use.

Themes are sleeker, and Variants more varied

PowerPoint Themes are predesigned slide designs that spare you from doing the design work yourself. In PowerPoint 2010 there was a plethora of Themes, Color Schemes, Font Schemes and Effects to choose from. PowerPoint 2013 simplifies everything. The new Themes default to a 16:9 aspect ratio and each has a small subset of Variants, which provide variations in color and some design elements for that Theme.

You’ll find Themes from both the Start screen and the new Design tab. On the Start screen you can click a Theme, preview its variant,s and scroll through previews of the Theme Title, Title and Content, Smart Chart and Photo layouts before committing to one to use.

The old Merge Shape tools are now easier to find.

Shape tools get improvements

Although some of the Merge Shapes features that are touted as being new in PowerPoint 2013 were in PowerPoint 2010, they weren’t accessible from the Ribbon toolbar. In PowerPoint 2013, though, the Join, Combine, Fragment, Intersect and Subtract tools are accessible by selecting the Drawing ToolsFormat tab and clicking the Merge Shapesbutton. You’ll use these to create your own custom shapes by combining and merging simple shapes to make more complex ones. These tools have a handy live preview as well.

In addition, new alignment guides show when shapes are lined up to each other, to slide elements, and to borders and they make it easier to line up and space objects evenly on your slides.

Formatting options have become more visible.

Find new formatting tools

In PowerPoint 2013, you’ll find many formatting features from task docked to the right of the screen as you work. In earlier versions of PowerPoint, these options appeared in dialogs over the slide, which you had to move or close to continue working.

To access these new task panes, right-click a shape, for example, and choose Format Shape to see the available options for a shape in the task pane. Click a picture and the task pane changes to show picture formatting options. While most of the formatting options are not new, this makes them easier to find.

New is the Eyedropper tool, available when you are making a color choice. Use this to match colors by sampling a color to use from a shape or photo.

Lok online for videos to include in presentations from within PowerPoint.

Video input and output improve

PowerPoint 2013 supports additional video formats so it’s more likely videos will play in your presentation without you needing to install additional codecs.  For example, PowerPoint 2013 supports the MP4 and MOV formats for playing video, and you can export a PowerPoint presentation to video in MP4 or WMV formats.

The new Video button on the Insert tab includes options that let you search for a video from an online source and drop it into your deck without first downloading it to your computer.

At long last, there’s a button to play audio tracks in the background and across slides.

Audio playback options expand

PowerPoint 2013 supports a wide range of audio formats without requiring you to download and install additional codecs. Supported formats now include AIFF, AU, MID, MIDI, MP3, M4A, MP4, WAV, and WMA.

You can click a button in PowerPoint 2013 to play audio tracks across the entire slideshow or across slides. While this has always been possible, it was ridiculously annoying to set up.  Now all you need do is to insert the audio file, select it, and chooseAudio Tools, Playback tab and click the Play In Backgroundoption.

Only have one monitor? You can finally take advantage of Presentation View.

Presentation View becomes rosier

While the PowerPoint Presenter View was available in earlier versions of PowerPoint most users didn’t know it existed. Plus, if your computer only had one monitor you couldn’t access it —even to rehearse your presentation!

Now you can access Presenter View even on a single monitor by pressing Alt + F5. In Presenter View you can swap monitors for Presenter View and Slide Show View if desired. You can also view a thumbnail view of your slides, and click to view a slide out of sequence.

The new Zoom option lets you look close-up into an area on a slide to draw attention to it. There’s a new laser pointer tool here, too.

The new Comments task pane makes it easier to converse when working with others.

Work better with your team

When you’re designing a presentation with others, the new Comments feature will make it easier to discuss your slideshow with collaborators. When you add a comment, it appears in a Comments task pane down the right of the screen and stays visible while you work.

There are also options to add a comment from the Insert tab or the Comments task pane. The Comments task pane lets you navigate through comments, and see if there are comments on other slides. You can view your presentation with or without comments by selecting the Show Comments from the Review tab, and deselecting Show Comments.

The new Office Presentation Service expands features for Presentation View and video in online presentations.

Bring your presentation online

Now you can present a deck stored in the cloud or on your PC to the Web in real time. To use the new Office Presentation Service, choose File, Share, Present Online. You can also allow attendees to download the presentation to their own PC.

You’ll also see Presenter View while making your presentation. Plus, you can play video at presentation time, and viewers get their own set of video controls. In addition, viewers can navigate back to previous slides if they need to check or follow up on something.

 

Switching accounts / SkyDrive integration

I’ll admit, I really wasn’t crazy about the idea of “logging in” to Office initially. I also admit that this isn’t the most exciting or even impressive feature, but it is one that I am thankful for. As someone with several Microsoft Accounts, a couple Office 365 accounts, and therefore many SkyDrive accounts, it was a bit inconvenient having to go to the web, sign in to a SkyDrive account, and then download whatever file I needed. I really love being able to quickly switch between profiles to quickly access files in the cloud right from PowerPoint.

Having two Microsoft Accounts gives me a nice little “fence” to separate my personal and work files. All I have to do is click on “Switch account” to access my other accounts.

If I didn’t want to separate files via multiple Microsoft Accounts, I can also just add two different SkyDrive accounts to one profile. In other words, I sign into PowerPoint with one Microsoft account, but add all my SkyDrive accounts by clicking on “Add a Place” from the backstage open screen.

The only thing I don’t like about this second method is that at first glance there is no way to distinguish between my two different SkyDrive folders. As you can see in the above picture, PowerPoint only displays the user name (which is the same) next to each account. On the Open screen, I would love to see the email address display below the name like in the Accounts screen. Other than that, this is a wonderful addition, one that makes me utilize my free cloud storage more than ever before, and limits my need to “remote desktop” into my work computer.

Threaded comments

When collaborating with others, it is now a lot less complicated to follow conversations. Comments are now “threaded” and a lot easier on the eye.

Play From and Motion Path End

Technically, these are two separate but similar features that tie for third place in my book. I work with a lot of animations, and these two new additions have saved me a ton of time when working with and creating them.

Play From

The old Play button in the Animation Pane is now a Play From button, allowing you to preview a portion of the animations on a PowerPoint slide. Simply select an animation in the animation pane before pressing the Play From button.

Motion Path End

When drawing motion paths, PowerPoint now “ghosts” your object so you can see exactly where that object will appear when the animation completes, so no more guessing!

Color Picker

PowerPoint now includes a color picker! Better late than never, right?

The Eyedropper tool is found in the Shape Fill drop menu located from both the Home tab and the Drawing Tools Format tab. To select a color on the slide, simply click on the Eyedropper button, and then click on the desired color. To select a color from outside of the PowerPoint application window, click and drag.

Presenter View

The presenter view received quite the overhaul. It now is much darker, so presenting from behind a computer screen will not create a creepy glow.

It also includes three resizable panes: a slide preview, a next slide preview, and a notes area. To resize any of these areas, simply hover your mouse over any of the divider bars, then just click and drag.

Personally, I don’t need to see my current slide or the next slide. So my view usually looks like this:

In the above picture, I’ve completely collapsed the current slide view, resized the next slide view to a teeny-tiny thumbnail, and maximized my notes area to act as a kind of teleprompter.

There are also a lot of tools at your disposal that were once buried in hard-to-reach menus. All buttons are touch-friendly sized, making it easier to navigate a presentation from a touch-enabled monitor or tablet. The only problem is that these buttons appear in the Current Slide pane, so if you are like me and minimize that area, they are no longer easily accessible; however, you can still get to those options by right-clicking.

Also very useful, you can now jump to any slide or section in your presentation by clicking the Slide Sorter button (the one next to the pen tool) or by right-clicking and selecting “See All Slides.

Your view will change, but your audience will still see your previously selected slide. As you select a different slide, your audience will just see a flawless transition to a new slide and will never know you are presenting out of order.

But perhaps the best addition to the presenter view is the ability to zoom into a portion of a slide.

Simply select the Zoom In button (Magnifying Glass icon), hover your mouse over the area you’d like to zoom into, and click.

Well, now that PowerPoint 2013 has released to manufacturing, it’s time to publish my big list of new features. This is my list of new stuff in PowerPoint 2013, definitely not the same list Microsoft marketing publishes. So here we go…

Start UI. PowerPoint 2013 gives you a whole new experience from the get-go. Choose from a bunch of new templates and variants and see previews of a few slide layouts before you begin your presentation.

16×9. This is the new default slide aspect ratio. (The old one was 4×3.) Don’t worry, you can still set your default template to 4×3 if you want.

13.33″ x 7.5″. This is the new default slide size. (The old 4×3 was 10″ x 7.5″, and the old 16×9 was 10″ x 5.76″.) Personally, I think this is a very good thing.

Before I forget, Scale to Fit Paper is now ON by default in the File | Print dialog. I’m sure this is directly related to the 13.33×7.5 slide size feature above. (So the whole 16×9 slide will print on the page.)

Slide Size tool. There’s a new tool on the Design tab to help you switch your slides from 4×3 to 16×9 and back without completely wrecking all your content. Yay!

Variants and SuperThemes. We now have variations of a theme that are built-in. Most variants are very similar to the “base” theme, with changes to the color or font set. Themes that include variants are called SuperThemes.

Format panes. Instead of having a Format dialog, we now have a Format pane that is docked to the right side of the work space.

Insert Online Pictures. The Office programs now distinguish between inserting pictures from your hard drive and inserting them from online. Similar settings exist for Video and Audio.

Logging in. Log into your Microsoft.com account, and you’ll see more content and have more options. For example, if I’ve logged onto my MSFT account, my SkyDrive will show up (along with office.com, Flickr and Bing image search) when I click Insert Online Pictures.

Saving. When you save, online locations such as SharePoint team sites and Skydrive are in the forefront. Don’t forget to click Computer before browsing to a location if you’re saving to your hard drive!

Present Online. This is really the equivalent of Broadcast Slide Show, but the presenter has the option of letting people download the presentation as well (or not). Be aware — if you allow the audience to download, then they’ll also have the ability to navigate through the broadcast presentation at their own pace while you’re presenting.

Save as Video. By default this now creates an MPEG-4 Video. WMV (Windows Media Video) is still an option.

New Slide button. They finally added this to the Insert tab! (Only took three versions, sheesh. Unfortunately it’s still in the wrong place — it should be on the other side of the Images group, but nobody listens to me!) Don’t worry, it’s still on the Home tab also.

Popup menu in Slide Show View. The buttons that show in the lower left corner during slide show view have been tweaked for a better touch experience. They’re not as subtle as they could be, but they’re not as bad as they could be, either.

See All Slides. When in a slide show, we now have a view that looks kind of like Slide Sorter View. (There’s no longer a Go to Slide menu with an option to navigate by slide title, though.)

Presenter View. This is all kinds of new and all kinds of cool. And if you only have one monitor, use Alt+F5 to see and practice with Presenter View!

Page Curl transition. Yes, you heard (read) me right — we finally have a page turn transition! It’s actually called Peel Off, but what’s in a name? Actually, we have quite a few new transitions, including Page Curl, Curtains, and Fracture (among others). Also, while we’re on the subject of transitions, the bounce has been removed from the end of the Pan transition.

Play From. The animation pane now lets you play from the selected animation.

Motion Path End. A ghosted object now shows up to show you the end position of a motion path. Very, very helpful!

Animation Zombies. Some of the old animations (Stretch and Collapse, for example) are baaaaack!

Threaded Comments. Comments have been enhanced with a Comments Pane that shows the comments thread and avatars for those commenting.

Enhanced Smart Guides. Those whisker things that showed up in PowerPoint 2010 to help you align and position objects on a slide? Well, they got even better in 2013 because now they also help with distribution.

Enhanced Guides. We now have the equivalent of lockable, colorable guidelines, people! Wahooo! Put one set of guides on your slide master (to indicate margins, for example). Add others to any layouts that might require different guides. And add even more to the regular slides as you’ve always done. When you’re in Normal (editing) View, only the guides on the slides will be selectable — otherwise you’ll need to go to Master View to move them. Oh, and did I mention that you can recolor all of these? Just right-click a guide…

Color Picker. We now have eyedroppers to pick up and apply fill, outline and font colors. All together now: Thank you, PowerPoint Team!

Merge Shapes. These tools, which are similar to the Pathfinder tools in Illustrator, are now on the Ribbon (on the Drawing Tools Format tab). The group is called Merge Shapes instead of Combine Shapes. There is also a new tool, Fragment, to complement the other four.

Semantic Zoom. We can zoom and pan in Slide Show View now.

Charts. Charting is a lot better in many ways and a lot worse in others. Now a small Excel datasheet opens above the chart instead of Excel opening and taking up half your screeen. The interface is vastly improved. They added a combo chart to the types of charts (yay!). They added new chart styles (good) but removed the 2007/2010 chart styles (bad). They made the default chart font size 12 points (good or bad, depending if you like it or not) and the default chart font color a tint/shade of Dark 1/Light 1 (horrible if Dark 1/Light 1 is anything besides black or white).

PowerPoint Web App. This has lots of new features. We can now add, edit and format shapes, apply a new theme, and use animations and transitions. We also have audio and video playback in both Reading and Slide Show views. It still supports co-authoring, but now it supports co-authoring with regular ol’ PowerPoint, too. And if you embed your presentation into a web page or blog, it’s no longer just static pictures — it’s actually like a regular presentation with animations, transitions, audio and video. (Old embedded presentations will automatically update to behave this way, too.)

Default Office Theme is a bit different. The colors are different and the default effects set is way more subtle.

SmartArt graphics. We got some new SmartArt diagrams.

Backstage. Along with the overall interface overhaul to a newer, flatter look, Backstage has been reorganized once again.

WHAT’S MISSING (WELL, KIND OF…)

Save as HTML. Gone. Done. Kaput. It’s not in the interface, and it’s not accessible with VBA either.

Insert ClipArt. This has been replaced with Insert Online Pictures. No clipart or picture collections are installed with Office 2013.

Not missing, just moved. Theme Colors, Fonts and Effects dialog are no longer on the Design tab, but they are available in Slide Master View. Background Styles are available in Slide Master View.

Broadcast Slide Show. This isn’t really gone — it’s just morphed into Present Online.

Outline pane. Again, this isn’t actually gone, it just doesn’t show up any more next to the Slides pane in Normal (editing) View. Go to the View tab to turn the Outline pane on and off.

Combine Shapes. For those of you who used these, they’re not gone. They’ve been promoted to the Drawing Tools Format tab of the Ribbon and are now called Merge Shapes.

In Slide Show View, there’s no longer a Go to Slide menu with an option to navigate by slide title. Instead, we have the new See All Slides view, which looks similar to Slide Sorter view.

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