Interesting new features in PowerPoint to make presentations more attractive and effective

Lucas Jellema

PowerPoint is one of the applications I use the most. I create presentations with architecture solution designs, for training purposes, to use in conference sessions next to live demo and in many other cases where a visualization of ideas comes in handy. I am quite keen to learn about new features in cloud services and software development tools, in the latest version of Java or Node, the Oracle Database or other technology. But for some reason, I have not really felt that same eagerness to learn about new features in the tool I use almost every day. It is a strange thing. However, yesterday I decided to check the menus in PowerPoint for options I did not recognize and look up the latest new features in the online help. And I came across a few features that were new to me (even though some were released over one year ago). In this article, I will briefly describe these features – for my own benefit and hopefully for yours as well.

These features are:

  • Zoom – Create Summary of Slide Sections that allow Prezi-like zoom in to and out of segments of the presentation
  • Have PowerPoint convert your slide to much more attractive designs using Design Ideas. Note: the Design Ideas proposed even make use of the themes discussed in the slides to suggest pictures
  • Create an animated gif from the slides in the presentation (unfortunately not yet available in a version of PowerPoint that is available to me)
  • Create very showy transitions between slides using the morph transition (that is a cool one!)
  • Remove Background from an image (I always used Set Transparent Color on an image – but that is fairly limited in what it can do)
  • “hand write” mathematical equations text and turn them into real text
  • Use Ink[ing] to create sketches  – and convert them to shapes and text; use different pens and use ruler
  • 3D Models – a large collection of 3d images that you can insert into slides – and pan/rotate and even animate
  • Use Dictate to speak rather than type text segments; Use translation to create
  • Live captions (subtitles) – in the language you are presenting in or in a different language
  • Reuse Slides – open a catalog of recent presentations and select slides from these presentations to reuse
  • Presenter Coach – rehearse your presentation and get advise from the built in coach on cadence, word use, and other presentation aspects
  • Video Recording – create an MP4 or HD video recording of your automated slideshow or of you presenting the presentation
  • Support for SVG Images – highly editable and scalable (such as the icons included with PowerPoint); PowerPoint slides can boast the clarity and sharpness of scalable vector graphic (SVG) pictures
  • Sketched Shape Format – turn shapes into a semi-hand-sketched style (note: currently for me only available in the Web version of PowerPoint, not in my desktop version)

Most of these features are fairly new. A much older feature that I have completely overlooked until now:

  • Merge Shapes – union, combine, intersect, fragment, subtract – weld multiple shapes together and create shapes from the space between other shapes

It was my intention to describe all these features in detail and with elaborate screenshots. And then I found a 16 minute YouTube presentation that says it (almost) all. The most efficient way to get acquainted with the most spectacular new features in PowerPoint is probably  by watching this presentation.

Also use the resources listed below that link to articles describing fairly recent features.

Zoom

Under Insert | Zoom there are several options to create a “navigation” slide: a slide from which cool, animated drill down animation can be done to specific slides and presentation segments (in a style somewhat reminiscent of Prezi)

image

The resulting summary slide can look a bit like this:

image

Click on a slide to dive in, click on the triangle icon (or press Arrow Up) to return to the (most recent) summary slide. Zooms can be nested.

image

Design Ideas

Create a slide and add some text content.

image

Click on Design and Design Ideas. A selection of ideas is presented:

image

and select the idea you fancy (note: I did not look up any of these icons):

image

Depending on the content of the slide, the design ideas can include more elaborate artwork. My version of PowerPoint does not render quite the captivating results seen in this article – that is available only to insiders.

3D Models

Very simple to use: a large collection of 3D images that can be scaled and rotated anyway you like:

Insert | 3D Models:

image

Select Model(s) and manipulate the images on the slide. Note: some models are animated – they move in place. Do not overuse these!

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Remove Background from image

Starting with this selfie:

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Copy and Paste to PowerPoint. Click on Picture, click on Format Menu and click on Remove Background

image

PowerPoint takes a first stab at removing the background:

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Not bad, but not yet done. Click on Mark Areas to Remove and draw in the image lines to mark the boundary between the background and the object of interest:

image

The final result (a bit Van Gogh like as I seem to have lost my ear):

image

This example was done in 30 seconds. If you take a little bit more time, you can do it quite neatly. I am impressed with this feature.

Save Presentation as Animated GIF

This is what it supposedly looks like. I do not have this option (yet) in either my local desktop app or my web version of PowerPoint. The result would be a GIF that animates through all slides in the desk. Sounds interesting  – doesn’t it?!

PowerPoint export options to create an Animated GIF

Sketched Shape Format

(for me currently not available in my Desktop App but only in the Web version of PowerPoint)

Create a simple slide with a few shapes. Then select the shapes, click on Shape menu, click on Shape Outline and select on of the options from the Sketched submenu:

image PowerPoint redraw the shapes with “sketched” outlines. The effect is not very clear in my example – try it out for yourself:

image

Resources

YouTube: Top 10 New Powerpoint features: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=coFe-DwS_J4&vl=en

10 New Features of PowerPoint  : https://www.howtogalaxy.com/top-10-new-features-of-ms-powerpoint/

Create Animated GIF – https://blog-insider.office.com/2019/12/30/create-animated-gifs-using-powerpoint/

Remove Image Background – http://www.avantixlearning.ca/microsoft-powerpoint/how-to-remove-the-background-of-an-image-in-powerpoint/

Use Zoom for Prezi style navigation – https://support.office.com/en-us/article/use-zoom-for-powerpoint-to-bring-your-presentation-to-life-9d6c58cd-2125-4d29-86b1-0097c7dc47d7

Overview of Design Ideas feature – https://support.office.com/en-us/article/create-professional-slide-layouts-with-powerpoint-designer-53c77d7b-dc40-45c2-b684-81415eac0617

Change handwritten ink to shapes, text, or math in PowerPoint for Microsoft 365  – https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/change-handwritten-ink-to-shapes-text-or-math-in-powerpoint-for-microsoft-365-0740dec3-6291-4c1f-8baa-011d18449919

3D Models in PowerPoint – Get creative with 3D models – Office Support – Microsoft Office Support

Record presentations in PowerPoint – https://support.office.com/en-us/article/video-record-presentations-2570dff5-f81c-40bc-b404-e04e95ffab33

Working with Videos in PowerPoint – including many very cool tricks: https://www.brightcarbon.com/blog/how-to-embed-a-video-in-powerpoint/

Rehearse presentation with Presenter Coach – https://support.office.com/en-us/article/rehearse-your-slide-show-with-presenter-coach-cd7fc941-5c3b-498c-a225-83ef3f64f07b

Live Captions (Subtitles) – https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/present-with-real-time-automatic-captions-or-subtitles-in-powerpoint-68d20e49-aec3-456a-939d-34a79e8ddd5f

Merge Shapes – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5pUNZIhZlE

Sketchy Shapes – https://blog-insider.office.com/2019/07/03/sketchy-shapes-for-word-powerpoint-and-excel/ (not yet available on my version of PowerPoint)

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