PowerPoint's many faces
Microsoft PowerPoint MVP 2003-2007
There are many ways that PowerPoint can be used. Some are common, some less so. In this section I'll cover some of them, with an eye on how they can help users. This list is not intended to be comprehensive.
Presenter based slide show:
Most of the time, presentations are designed to supplement some sort of meeting. The meeting may be just a few people, or thousands. In this type of show you have a person or people giving a talk to a group. Sometimes the presenter will run the PowerPoint via a podium PC or a remote control, while at other times a person will be dedicated to just running the PowerPoint, but in each case the primary focus of the meeting is the presenter and their information, not PowerPoint.
Independent slide show loops:
Sometimes an independent slideshow will be needed. This is most common at wedding receptions, anniversaries and reunions. This style of PowerPoint presentation can also be used for business cards or company introductions. Here the slide show is the sole focus and the informational content will tell the whole story.
Because there is no live focus, the PowerPoint presentation will have to keep the viewers attention through the use of graphics, sounds, animations and content.
PowerPoint can also be used to run billboards, checkout line advertising, information center displays, and even trade show info booths. In some cases there will need to be information collected from the viewer (for post meeting follow-up) and in others, self updating information (weather, stock reports, event scheduling).
Drill down information may be available by having the viewer touch a button on the screen or click on a button.. This allows a viewer to select what information they are interested in.
PowerPoint is a great testing program and can be either web-based or machine based. A single user or group is shown a question and must respond to advance the presentation. The presentation may branch to different learning paths depending on the users' choices, giving additional information for areas where the users do not answer correctly. Often the scores are recorded for later evaluation.
PowerPoint can be used to design web-based presentations. These can be exported to a code that is more web friendly (HTML) but is limited to the abilities of the users browsers. It can also be used to supplement a web based meeting, similar to a presenter based slide show. While PowerPoint can be used to design a web-site from scratch, it is not the best tool for this job.
Because PowerPoint has a user friendly interface (computer talk for it is easy to see what you want to do), many users will use it for their printing needs. While PowerPoint is somewhat limited for the more advanced user, it may be an easy and inexpensive alternative to other publishing programs.
Producer PowerPoint add-in:
Producer is a large Microsoft add-in to PowerPoint that enables video/slide learning sessions.
Most of these groups are not exclusive, meaning that you may combine aspects of one with aspects of another. In this way, PowerPoint may become what you need it to be.
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