26 Facts About PowerPoint


PowerPoint became a component of the Microsoft Office suite, first offered in 1989 for Macintosh and in 1990 for Windows, which bundled several Microsoft apps.

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PowerPoint was originally designed to provide visuals for group presentations within business organizations, but has come to be very widely used in many other communication situations, both in business and beyond.

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The impact of this much wider use of PowerPoint has been experienced as a powerful change throughout society, with strong reactions including advice that it should be used less, should be used differently, or should be used better.

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PowerPoint was created by Robert Gaskins and Dennis Austin at a software startup in Silicon Valley named Forethought, Inc Forethought had been founded in 1983 to create an integrated environment and applications for future personal computers that would provide a graphical user interface, but it had run into difficulties requiring a "restart" and new plan.

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Gaskins says that he thought of "PowerPoint", based on the product's goal of "empowering" individual presenters, and sent that name to the lawyers for clearance, while all the documentation was hastily revised.

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Funding to complete development of PowerPoint was assured in mid-January, 1987, when a new Apple Computer venture capital fund, called Apple's Strategic Investment Group, selected PowerPoint to be its first investment.

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When PowerPoint was released by Forethought, its initial press was favorable; the Wall Street Journal reported on early reactions: 'I see about one product a year I get this excited about, ' says Amy Wohl, a consultant in Bala Cynwyd, Pa.

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Forethought makes a program called PowerPoint that allows users of Apple Macintosh computers to make overhead transparencies or flip charts.

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PowerPoint had been included in Microsoft Office from the beginning.

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New development techniques for PowerPoint 2016 have made it possible to ship versions of PowerPoint 2016 for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and web access nearly simultaneously, and to release new features on an almost monthly schedule.

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PowerPoint development is still carried out in Silicon Valley as of 2017.

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In 2010, Jeff Raikes, who had most recently been President of the Business Division of Microsoft, observed: "of course, today we know that PowerPoint is oftentimes the number two—or in some cases even the number one—most-used tool" among the applications in Office.

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PowerPoint's market share in its first three years was a tiny part of the total presentation market, which was very heavily dominated by MS-DOS applications on PCs.

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PowerPoint was used for planning and preparing a presentation, but not for delivering it .

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The operation of PowerPoint changed substantially in its third version, when PowerPoint was extended to deliver a presentation by producing direct video output to digital projectors or large monitors.

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Some ways of using PowerPoint have been studied by JoAnne Yates and Wanda Orlikowski of the MIT Sloan School of Management:.

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PowerPoint for the web is a free lightweight version of Microsoft PowerPoint available as part of Office on the web, which includes web versions of Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word.

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An early reaction was that the broader use of PowerPoint was a mistake, and should be reversed.

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Tufte particularly advised against using PowerPoint for reporting scientific analyses, using as a dramatic example some slides made during the flight of the space shuttle Columbia after it had been damaged by an accident at liftoff, slides which poorly communicated the engineers' limited understanding of what had happened.

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Second reaction to PowerPoint use was to say that PowerPoint can be used well, but only by substantially changing its style of use.

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Third reaction to PowerPoint use was to conclude that the standard style is capable of being used well, but that many small points need to be executed carefully, to avoid impeding understanding.

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For many purposes, PowerPoint presentations are a superior medium of communication, which is why they have become standard in so many fields.

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Just as word processing made it easier to produce long, meandering memos, the spread of PowerPoint has unleashed a blizzard of jazzy but often incoherent visuals.

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PowerPoint has become such an ingrained part of the defense culture that it has seeped into the military lexicon.

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Commanders say that behind all the PowerPoint jokes are serious concerns that the program stifles discussion, critical thinking and thoughtful decision-making.

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PowerPoint Viewer is the name for a series of small free application programs to be used on computers without PowerPoint installed, to view, project, or print presentations.

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