So here we go trying to keep this blog updated a lot more regularly! I plan to write on relevant topics related to presentation design, startup funding, and pitch decks. I might go off tangent and write something about food or travel, but I’ll try to minimize this. For an introductory post, let’s talk about PowerPoint!
PPT? More like WTF
Ah, PowerPoint. Sometimes people groan when you just mention the name. I know, there’s many sexier platforms out there these days: Keynote, Prezi, and some Java applications just to name a few. Still, a lot of the criticisms of PowerPoint are unwarranted. PowerPoint (or any presentation software for that matter), is just the vehicle you use to tell your story. A person who makes bad presentations in PowerPoint might make somewhat better presentations in Keynote or Prezi, not because those programs are any better, but that they just simplify a lot of the processes involved. Put another way, they are more “dummy proof” (I can hear the boos and hisses now). But you’re not a dummy! That’s why you are here.
From a graphic design perspective, I consider PowerPoint the equivalent of Adobe Illustrator, where Prezi is more like MS Paintbrush. Keynote is somewhere in between (GIMP?). Criticisms aside, PowerPoint was groundbreaking since it’s initial release, and has been around for nearly 25 YEARS. Also from a design perspective, and as a Mac user myself, did you know that PowerPoint was originally designed as a Mac application?
It's PowerPoint, Y'all! Indeed, the dream of the 1990's was alive in portland...
Why I Choose PowerPoint
So after all these years, why do I still prefer PowerPoint over the rest? I’ve thought about my top three reasons, and this is what I think sets PPT apart.
I know Mac OS is supposed to be more intuitive vs. Windows, and this extends to many aspects of Keynote as well. Keynote has made many improvements over the years, but creating slide templates in Keynote is still a rather cumbersome process. Keynote seems to overlook global template settings in favor of individual templates within the slide master. This is fine if you want more fine-tuned control over your slides, but you often have to spend more time trying to get everything to look just right.
Keynote used to be HORRIBLE about this. Its ultra-minimalist approach to menus and formatting options was noteworthy, but this just ended up leaving a lot of us more confused and spending more time on a presentation than was needed. Speaking as someone who considers himself fairly well-versed in design software and computer applications, Keynote had a steeper learning curve than I anticipated. The latest releases of Keynote have really helped to address this issue, but many of these confusing aspects still persist. For example, Keynote has two separate, independent menus for adding a drop shadow to text. Huh? PowerPoint’s UI, while perhaps offering too many options, at least doesn’t try to deliberately confuse its users.
This is this biggest reason why I prefer PowerPoint. It’s been on the market a lot longer, and is still the most widely-used presentation software. I couldn’t find more recent info than 2009, but this article seems to pin the stat at 95%. Perhaps it has declined more since then, but I doubt it has been very significant. More people use PowerPoint, and more people are aware of what it does well and what it doesn’t do well — giving developers more feedback to improve the program with each release. Ever tried to reorder 50 objects in Keynote? It’s NOT easy. More time on the market means more room for improvement. PowerPoint still has its problems, but I see less of them with each release.
I want to clarify that I don’t hate the other software platforms out there. There are some things I really love to do on Keynote and Prezi, and both have some amazing capabilities depending on the type of presentation being created. Stay tuned for future posts about what I love about these programs.