The new PowerPoint 2007 has had some work done to it. If you haven’t checked it out yet, take the new version for a “test drive” at http://office.microsoft.com (look under “Help and How-to”). A test drive doesn’t require a download, since it runs through your browser.
A few of the best new features of PowerPoint 2007:
1. Create your own customized slide layouts. Aficionados can design their own slide layouts. You still can rely on the five built-in, standard layouts, but now you’ve got more options. No more cookie-cutter presentations, because you can create your own layouts with graphics, video and audio. And you can save them to create a presentation series that looks similar.
2. Be a whiz with visual effects. PowerPoint users complained that they couldn’t easily align and manipulate objects and graphics. With the latest version, you can add three-dimensional objects, shading, reflections, glows and bevels. You can create diagrams from scratch.
For example, to create an Excel chart in PowerPoint, you click the “Chart” button on the Ribbon, and then use the chart tools to modify or format the chart. You can modify, say, a chart title, or fill one of the chart elements with a picture or texture to draw the viewers’ attention to it.
3. Shrink your file size. Sending presentations through e-mail posed a challenge because of the file size. New formatting, called PowerPoint XML, reduces file size. You can also save your presentation as a PDF, which allows easier file sharing.