1. Technology

PowerPoint - The Bad

Not So User Friendly Features of PowerPoint


Poor choice of PowerPoint design template

Poor choice of PowerPoint design template - too busy, too many bright colors, font color choice doesn't really go with the template

© Wendy Russell

Overall, I think PowerPoint is the best tool out there for making a quick and easy visual presentation to accompany your talk. However, there are a few features that annoy me, and I am sure I am not alone.

In no particular order, how about ...?

  1. Fast saves

  2. It seems like a good idea. PowerPoint saves only the most recent changes, so it is a few seconds faster. However, it causes your file size to just keep growing and growing, sometimes to an unmanageable size, and for no good reason. This causes a real problem when you want to email your presentation. It is also the biggest reason for corrupt PowerPoint presentations.

  • Automatic capitalization

  • One feature that I find extremely annoying in PowerPoint, and all the Microsoft Office products actually, is the default setting in the program to capitalize the first word in a line of text. This is one of the AutoCorrect features. I can see the point perhaps in Microsoft Word, but not in PowerPoint. One of the main features of PowerPoint is creating slides containing bulleted text, which should not be sentences, but simply jot notes. These points do not need to begin with a capital letter.

  • Start a new line without a bullet

  • At times you may want to type a second line of text pertaining to the same bulleted point. When you hit the Enter key, PowerPoint gives you a new bullet. This is not always what you want.

    Note - Keep in mind that your PowerPoint presentation is not the place to add lengthy text passages. That should be done on the speaker notes, for your eyes only. Keep your bullet points short and to the point. However, there are those few times when it is nice to be able to expand your text, and without a bullet.

  • Get rid of the Getting Started task pane

  • I don't know about you, but it irks me to have the Getting Started task pane appear each time I open PowerPoint. Most of the contents are redundant, because they are easily found elsewhere. The good news is that there is a quick fix for that.

  • Design themes/templates can be bad too

  • Design templates (PowerPoint 2003 and earlier) or design themes(PowerPoint 2007) are a wonderful helper in PowerPoint. They keep your presentation all coordinated and looking like a complete package. But, oh brother -- some of the choices leave a lot to be desired. Don't be fooled into thinking that just because the template/theme is part of the program, that it is a good choice for your material. Be selective and choose wisely for your topic.

  • Short menus

  • Short menus were designed to put the most often used features in that menu near the top. After you make a choice from the menu, it is reshuffled for the next time you access it. The result is that the menu is rarely the same, so you are always searching for the command you want. And -- you have extra clicks to get there.

  • Spell checker

  • This is really just a "pet peeve" -- and maybe it is just my pet peeve. I know -- Microsoft is an American company -- but not all users of PowerPoint are American. It is great that the spell checker finds all the misspelled words. I do take offense though, to the fact that most of the rest of the world spells these words as colour, favour, honour, neighbour and the program decides that they are spelling errors. These are not misspellings.

    Since the majority of people using PowerPoint are in the business world, we don't all have the access or network permissions to edit the program dictionary. Couldn't Microsoft find a way to include these correct spellings in the standard dictionary? OK, 'nuff said.

    Next - PowerPoint - The Ugly

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