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What are the Main Features of Microsoft PowerPoint?

There are a lot of presentation programs out there. With all the options available, it can become rather tough to choose which is best for you. That is why the features of any software are so important. It can determine whether or not you use the software. With that being said, what are the features of Microsoft PowerPoint?

The most popular features of Microsoft PowerPoint are as follows: Animations, designs, being able to add images and videos, and also editing those images and videos. With PowerPoint, you can use all the features available to make presentations that really stand out and could help you boost your career or sign a client.

In this article, we are going to not only mention the main features of PowerPoint, but we are also going to share with you some of the most useful features of PowerPoint. Plus, we are going to talk a little bit about each of them.

So, if you have ever wondered what features PowerPoint has or what certain features are meant for and what they do, you have come to the right place. For everything that you need to know, keep reading.

1. PowerPoint Design Ideas

First on this list and one of my favorite features of PowerPoint is Design ideas. It can be found in the “Design” tab in PowerPoint. Once you are there you will see two separate sections. One section will be a theme and the other will be a different variant of that theme. These themes are for each slide.

PowerPoint’s Design Ideas automatically and instantly provides you will several design options for a particular slide based on the content that is present on the slide.

Design Ideas can help you save a good amount of time and make your slides look good. It is a great feature for those who perhaps want to improve the design of the slides but are not really great at creating designs.

It doesn’t always give the perfect design option, and sometimes you do need to play around with it a little bit to get a good design. But, most of the time, it doesn’t get the job done.

Design Ideas is a great feature that is unique to Microsoft PowerPoint and something that most other presentation programs do not have.

2. Animations

Microsoft PowerPoint animations allow you to emphasize certain points of your current slide. There are primarily 3 categories of animations in PowerPoint. You can select any object in your slide an animate it with these animations:

  • Entrance Animation
  • Emphasis Animation
  • Exit Animations

Each animation category provides you with a huge list of additional options to choose from.

As the name suggests, entrance animation is a type of animation that will make a shape, text or any other element appear on a slide. Likewise, an exit animation can be applied when you want a certain element to disappear from the slide.

Emphasis animation can be used when you want to highlight or bring attention of the audience members to a particular element on the slide.

Once you choose and apply the animations, you also get other options. You can select how long you want animations to last, when you want them to start, and when you want them to end. Microsoft was not shy when they gave us the number of features that they did regarding animations.

3. Slide Transitions

I have seen a lot of people confuse slide transitions with animations and vice versa. It is important to remember that they are completely different things.

While animation gives you the ability to animate elements within your slide, transitions give you the ability to change how slides change from one to another. This can have a significant impact on a slide’s first impressions.

Some of the most notable transitions are:

  • Cut
  • Reveal
  • Shapes
  • Uncover
  • Wipe

Other options include the ability to set the speed of your transition, change the dynamic of the transition, and much more. Again, Microsoft has added a lot of customizability over the last few years when it comes to transitions.

When using transitions, you can alter the entire feel of a presentation without changing its theme. I recommend taking your time and making sure that each transition doesn’t feel forced but feels natural to the presentation.

4. Images

Sometimes an image can say a thousand words. With that in mind, it is easy to understand why adding images to your presentation can help you say more than you could while using words. Well, at least this is true in some cases.

If your presentation feels slightly boring, don’t be afraid to throw in an image every now and then. To be honest, most presentations require images anyway. Not only are they necessary, in some cases, they can also spice up your presentation.

When it comes to adding images, there are two main ways of doing this. You could either add an image via your PC or you can embed an image from somewhere else on the internet. Whatever best suits you, PowerPoint has you covered.

5. Merge Shapes

Microsoft PowerPoint allows you to merge shapes. This is because they understand that they might not always have the exact shape that you are looking for.

So, hopefully, merging shapes can help give you a uniform shape. I say “uniform” because if you cannot find a shape that you want to use, you could draw one. The problem is, this might not be the best option because freehand drawing can be difficult.

If merging shapes is still not giving you what you want, there is another option that you can use. These are known as “smart-art”. It can help you transform your presentation into something phenomenal.

6. Videos

Another great way of spicing up a presentation is to add videos to certain slides. As we discussed with images, a video can say a lot without having to use words. In fact, there are so many applications for using videos in your presentation. I guess the only limit would be your imagination.

Videos can be easily added from the storage on your PC. This might make the size of your presentation quite large. So, you might want to double-check the size of the video before inserting it into your presentation.

Again, this is one of my favorite features of PowerPoint. You can easily add videos to your presentation from Youtube. We are trying to keep each section brief so I can’t go into too much detail about the importance of being able to add videos from YouTube. However, there are a lot of reasons.

So, if you don’t have the video on your PC and you cannot find it on YouTube but you know where it is on another website, all you need to do is get the embed code for that video. This can often be done just by right-clicking on the video, copying the embed code, and then you can embed it into your presentation.

7. Icons

With the ability to add icons into your presentations, it just gives you some freedom to add a personal touch to the presentation. It is important to note that some versions do not come with the icons feature. However, if you have Office 365 you should always have the icons option.

If you do not have the option to use icons, you could technically use shapes and with some clever aligning skills, they could be turned into icons or at least used as such. You could also use icons found on the web. They would need to be saved to your PC as an image and then again, with some clever aligning skills, nobody would know the difference.

8. PowerPoint Notes for Presentation

When you are giving a presentation it is often difficult to constantly remember what you have to say. This is true even though you have the slide right in front of you. That is where the notes feature comes in. They can help you remember what to say for each slide which is a great way to stay on topic.

Your presentation can be set up in a way that the notes do not appear on the presentation but they still appear on your PC or Mac. Remember, most of the time the people who are viewing the presentation cannot see this. Otherwise, you can also hide your notes

The notes feature is not just there for you to remember what to say and a lot of people tend to overlook this. If you are working in a team, then using notes can help other employees or other people who are working on the presentation understand what’s happening on each slide.

9. Morph Transition

We have already talked about transitions earlier in the article. However, “Morph Transition” is by far one of the best ways to you make your slides give a great first impression. In fact, this creates a lasting impression as well!

By using Morph Transition, you can make actually make elements move between slides – a feature that gives a video like feel to your PowerPoint slides!

It is important to remember that the slides where Morph Transition is used, need to have at least one element that has something in common between both the slides.

I shall soon be making a video to help you understand how the Morph Transition works in PowerPoint and how you can leverage this feature to take your PowerPoint presentations up a notch! (I will update it here once the video is created).

10. Charts

This is one of the most used features of PowerPoint. It is also one of the best features in terms of what you can do with it. Using charts in your presentations can help you illustrate data in an easy-to-understand way for your audience.

You can also link charts to external data sources. Most notably, you can link to excel sheets. The chart’s functionality in PowerPoint is so versatile you can even get your chart to be updated automatically in PowerPoint when the data gets edited in excel.

It is actually a rather simple process. All you have to do is link a chart to an external data set. This can be done from within PowerPoint so it is pretty much hassle free.

11. Removing Background from Images

When you upload an image to your presentation, what if that image needs to be edited? What is the first thing that you would normally think you would do? You would probably go to an image editing program such as Photoshop, right?

With Microsoft PowerPoint, there is no need for that in most cases. Well, at least if you want to remove a background from your image, you could just use PowerPoint.

All you have to do is click on the drawing format ribbon and select “remove background”. It then works almost the exact same way as all other photo editing software. You will draw around the piece you want to keep or the piece you want to get rid of.

12. Video Editing (Basic)

Again, what if you upload a video to your PowerPoint presentation but you don’t want to show the whole video. maybe you just want to show some parts or cut some pieces out. What is the first thing you would do? Open up a video editing software right? Well, with PowerPoint you might not have to.

While PowerPoint is not the next Adobe premier, it does allow you to trim the video, cut portions of a video out, and finally add sound. It is a basic video editor.

Being able to use PowerPoint as a quick video editor adds to the convenience of PowerPoint. It also adds to your overall productivity because you don’t have to open and close program after program to get everything done.

13. Export PowerPoint as Video

Microsoft PowerPoint allows you to export entire presentations as videos. I know that you might be thinking why would this even be useful. Well, I alone can think of so many reasons why you would want to use this feature.

Not all presentations are designed to be given by a speaker. Actually, the main reason for a PowerPoint presentation is to get a point across to somebody. This could be your employer, colleague, client, or even the classroom.

If you don’t want to send somebody a presentation that they could edit or see the notes for and you just want them to watch it, this feature is for you. Why not export it as a video and give whoever you send the video to the ability to watch it at their own time, pause it at their own time, and take notes.

14. Add Audio Narration to your PowerPoint Presentation

This feature kind of feeds off of the previous one. You are not always going to be there to give a presentation as a speaker but you still want to iterate a lot of the points made in your slides. So, why not add audio narration to your presentation?

Doing this will allow you to send the presentation as a video to somebody and have the narration over it. So, technically, you would still be the speaker if it is you narrating the presentation.

This feature is Great for teachers who just want to give the classroom information in the most efficient way possible. In fact, with online learning becoming more relevant than ever in 2020, this feature has picked up in popularity.

This feature is also great for presentations that are designed to be given as instructional videos.

15. Adding Comments to Slides

This feature is more about the person who reviews a presentation rather than the person who creates it. Some people get comments mixed up with notes but they are two different features that have two different applications.

If you need to review somebody else’s presentation, you can add comments to certain sections or slides of the presentation. This is so that they can understand your criticisms.

Also, if you are the person creating it and you want to add a comment, this can help the person who is reviewing the presentation to fully understand why you did what you did in certain slides.

Final Thoughts

The features mentioned in this article show why PowerPoint is still the leading presentation software. There is so much that you can do and honestly, it all makes every presentation different from the other.

If you take time to learn what each feature does, you could use them to make presentations that have a higher chance of captivating your audience, your classroom or even getting you one step closer to signing a contract with the new clients.

We have covered a lot of the features mentioned in this article. So, I highly recommend taking a little bit of time out of your day to read those articles.

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