The next version of Microsoft Office is set to be made generally available in the first quarter of 2013. That means new Word, new Excel, and of course, new PowerPoint.
Details on what users can expect in the latest version have been hitting the Web ever since Microsoft first released a technical preview of Office back in January 2012. But in case you haven’t spent the past year following all the big (and not so big) news out of Redmond, here are three things you might not have heard about PowerPoint 2013.
#1.PowerPoint slides are going widescreen. While it’s already possible to convert PowerPoint slides to the 16:9 ratio of today’s modern TVs and monitors, most slide decks are still created in the typical 4:3 ratio format. PowerPoint 2013 reverses this, as slides are automatically set to a ratio of 16:9 by default, meaning users will need to make manual adjustments to maintain the old 4:3 style. You also have the choice of various templates designed specifically for widescreen viewing.
For more details on aspect ratios for slides in PowerPoint 2013, check out this great post from BrightCarbon’s Vincent Thompson. (And in case you were wondering, 16:9 widescreen formats are also supported on SlideShark when presenting PowerPoints via your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch.)
#2. The main landing page looks different – a lot different. When you first open PowerPoint 2013, you will be greeted with a new page design that features links to all recent slide decks on the far left and available slide templates on the right. The sample templates are organized by category (Business, Nature, etc.), and you can search the entire online database for more options.
Of course, you can also create your own PowerPoint templates for more customized presentations, but the new landing page should make access to these and other recently used presentations much simpler. It’s also worth noting that all of the other Office 2013 apps open with a similar design, color-coded to match their specific logos (deep orange, in the case of PowerPoint.)
#3. Color-matching is super simple. One cool little design feature is a new Eyedropper tool that lets you grab colors directly from your screen, and then use them in your fonts and templates. For example, if you’ve embedded a photograph in one of your slides, you can grab a color from any part of the image, and PowerPoint will match it for you to be used throughout your presentation. It’s a minor feature for sure, but certainly a cool one for adding a level of consistency to your slide designs.
Of course, there’s a LOT more than this on the way with PowerPoint 2013, but these are just a few interesting updates that might have flown under the radar. For more details on what to expect from the latest version of PowerPoint, check out some of these reviews from around the Web:
- First Look: PowerPoint 2013 (Ars Technica)
- What’s New in Micrsoft PowerPoint 2013? (AddictiveTips)
- Microsoft PowerPoint 2013: Hands On (PCWorld)