Reducing the Pain of PowerPoint

Michael Vizard

Most everybody would agree that working with Microsoft PowerPoint software probably ranks as one of the most frustrating things anybody encounters on a daily basis. There are, of course, masters of PowerPoint in just about every organization, but for most people, working in PowerPoint is after all these years still a painstaking experience.

The only thing more painful than a person working in PowerPoint is two people trying to work on the same PowerPoint presentation. And the only thing more painful than that is three people, and so on and so on.

The reason that collaboration in PowerPoint is so painful is that, as a personal productivity application, it was never really designed to be used by a group of people. Yet, every day, in offices around the world, people ship revisions of PowerPoint slides back and forth to each other in the hopes that one of their members can actually catch all these revisions to create some beautiful masterpiece out of all the comments and "helpful" suggestions. Anybody who has performed that task knows exactly how frustrating working with PowerPoint in any kind of a group business context can really be.

That's why any organization that spends a lot of time working with PowerPoint should take note of a new offering called Compare for PowerPoint from a company called WorkShare. This new offering makes it easier to compare and contrast changes and revisions across different versions of a PowerPoint presentation. Instead of painstakingly having to review every slide by hand, the software automatically finds and highlights the differences between a revised deck of slides and the original.

In the grand scheme of all things IT, this may not seem like the greatest technological advance of all time. But if you've ever spent any quality time with PowerPoint, you know just what a godsend a simple little utility that cuts the time it takes to revise a deck to a matter of minutes can be.

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Nov 4, 2009 3:26 AM Simon Morton Simon Morton  says:

Good article - you're absolutely right that collaboration in PowerPoint is a frustrating and thankless task currently.  Microsoft promise some interesting steps forward in this regard with Office's hoping.

We use Compare in our business and find it a very handy little tool.  If nothing else, it saves the grey hair and frustration of trying to locate that small tweak that someone's added to a previous version of a slide deck!

Nov 10, 2010 6:27 AM Alison Alison  says:

The frustration can be reduced further by using SkyDox for PowerPoint. Presentations are hosted remotely in the cloud and all team members can log on and make their changes.

The owner of the presentation is then notified whenever a change is made. Changes can be tracked and undone so everything is reversible!


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