How many of us have the time to learn how to use our favorite software upgrades? It is with the best intention that we all try. But I needed to learn all about PowerPoint 2016 and Microsoft PowerPoint MVP, Echo Swinford gave me the perfect primer to get started. Her new book, My PowerPoint 2016, a new “Content Update Program Update” book highlights all the new software updates added to the latest version of PowerPoint, and if you are new to PowerPoint, she gives you the basics on how-to-get-started.
After reading the book, which has easy-to-understand step-by-step instructions, I knew that I had not tapped the full power of PowerPoint 2016, and I couldn’t wait to get started. The presentation community had been buzzing about the updated features and tools: new office themes, Morph, Design, Charts, Smart Guide, video resolution, and more. One of my favorites is “Tell Me More” and “Insights.” Both help me find information and tools within the product or via the web. Having easy and quick access to information instead of trying to remember where to find it has saved me time and fewer gray hairs!
Echo and I spoke while she was on the road for a client. She shared with me that one of her favorite new features is the Office Theme, especially the black interface option. “Imagine being backstage supporting a client during a live event and the stark white interface is staring up at you, causing eye strain and headaches,” said Echo. “The black interface option is wonderful. Now, you have the option to do online editing in a better environment. It is easier on the eyes.” She shared an example:
New Fan Favorite, Morph enables to you to make smoother animations, transitions and object movements across your slide deck. You can create the appearance of movement in wide array of objects such as SmartArt, WordArt, charts, text, shapes, and pictures. Check out the quick intro video from Microsoft showing Morph and Design in action.
What intrigued me the most about the addition of Morph and the other new tools were how they were selected to be included. Echo explained to me that Microsoft listens to the presentation community and what features or tools they want to be added to the next version of PowerPoint or any of their products. They have even set up a “digital” suggestion box with User Voice so they could get feedback for product development.
Morph was the number one request from the community voting and got more than the 20 votes it needed. “This feature was added as a direct result of user requests, and it is just one of many. Another was Smart Guides, which is now more responsive and more visually intuitive and new options for Charts across Excel, Word and PowerPoint,” said Echo. “One of my favorites is the new ‘Design’ tool which offers you five ideas on how to layout your slides. This tool has bailed me out on many projects. No matter what your design capability is, this tool gives you great ideas and place to start if you need to remake slides or create a presentation,” she continued.
With changing financial reporting needs, Charts now include five new charts to visualize common financial, statistical and hierarchical data including Treemaps, Sunbursts, Histograms, Box and Whisper, and Waterfall.
“With these new charts, it is so much easier to visualize data. Formatting, including color changes, are simpler now,” said Echo.
With new features comes a learning curve for remembering how to use or getting a reminder again about the steps or where you can find this tool. The new “Tell me what you want me to do” option on your ribbon is a timesaver. You can enter a word or a phrase about what you want to do next.
I really enjoyed Echo’s book, My PowerPoint 2016. I have been lucky to get to know Echo over the last few years, and it is clear in the content and the style of writing that this is “Echo’s Voice.” It was easy to read, a great reference even when you have a question, and it is succinct and to the point. Whether or not, you are new to PowerPoint or just getting to know PowerPoint 2016, this book is a must read and a great reference tool anytime you have questions.
If you register the book on Que Publishing website, you get free access to bonus chapters and workshop files. It is available via Amazon, Que Publishing, Microsoft Store, and other channels. The retail price is $24.99. So add this to your summer reading list…it will be well worth it.