I'm here at CES, and even though I'm suffering from a severe case of sensory overload I have managed to stuff a few facts into my brain.
Yesterday I was lucky enough to catch a presentation by Jared Anderson, Microsoft's PowerPoint Project Manager, who gave us a run down on the new stuff in PowerPoint 2007.
I'm not going to focus on the changes in the user interface as that has been discussed in other forums, but rather on the new functionality that PowerPoint 2007 offers. I am not a graphic designer, and PowerPoint has always helped people like me with pretty templates you can use to enhance your presentations. Over time these templates become a little...stale.
In the new version of PowerPoint they have greatly extended and enhanced the ability to make your presentation slick and professional. One of the stand-out features that I saw was the ability to make dynamic 3D text boxes that can be manipulated in a variety of ways so that even non-designers such as myself can add a great deal of visual interest. Not only can these text boxes be made into a variety of shapes and angled in any way you like, but they offer a range of new fill colors and styles (including a cool new gloss that's very much 'in fashion' now).
Other features include:
New default theme Layouts - very dynamic, new and updated.
Over a dozen different effects (fill styles change based on effect)
Six new fonts optimized for on-screen reading
Text and text box effects - new abilities. I no longer have to go to our graphics team for elements. I can do it myself!
MUCH easier to import Excel or Word tables because they have the same controls now.
Sadly, all of this leaves room for a whole new style of horrendous PowerPoint presentations. As with all things less is more. Don't go hog wild with every new feature!
For More information be sure to visit the Microsoft website: http://www.microsoft.com/uk/office/preview/programs/powerpoint/highlights.mspx