PowerPoint is a program that comes with Microsoft Office (although you can buy it separately, as well). Most people buy Microsoft Office because it’s a great bargain: You get Word, Excel, and Outlook all together in one inexpensive package. And PowerPoint is thrown in for good measure.
Of course, depending on which edition of Office you buy, you might get other goodies as well, such as Access, Publisher, a complete set of Ginsu knives, and a Binford VegaPneumatic Power Slicer and Dicer.
What is a PowerPoint? PowerPoint is a presentation program, and it’s one of the coolest programs I know. It’s designed to work with a projector to display presentations that will bedazzle your audience members and instantly sway them to your point of view, even if you’re selling real estate on Mars.
PowerPoint is similar to a word processor such as Word, except that it’s geared toward creating presentations rather than documents. A presentation is kind of like those Kodak Carousel slide trays that your father used to load up with 35mm slides of your family trip to the Grand Canyon. The main difference is that you don’t have to worry about dumping all the slides in your PowerPoint presentation out of the tray and onto the floor.
Word documents consist of one or more pages, and PowerPoint presentations consist of one or more slides. Each slide can contain text, graphics, and other information. You can easily rearrange the slides in a presentation, delete slides that you don’t need, add new slides, or modify the contents of existing slides. You can use PowerPoint both to create your presentations and to actually present them.
Here are some of the many uses of PowerPoint:
- Business presentations: PowerPoint is a great timesaver for anyone who makes business presentations, whether you’ve been asked to speak in front of hundreds of people at a shareholders’ convention, a group of sales reps at a sales conference, or your own staff or co-workers at a business meeting.
- Sales presentations: If you’re an insurance salesperson, you can use PowerPoint to create a presentation about the perils of not owning life insurance and then use your laptop to show it to hapless clients.
- Lectures: PowerPoint is also useful for teachers or conference speakers who want to reinforce the key points in their lectures with slides.
- Homework: PowerPoint is a great program to use for certain types of homework projects, such as those big history reports that count for half your grade.
- Church: People use PowerPoint at churches to display song lyrics on big screens so everyone can sing or to display sermon outlines so everyone can take notes. If your church still uses hymnals or prints the outline in the bulletin, tell the minister to join the 21st century.
- Information stations: You can use PowerPoint to set up a computerized information kiosk that people can walk up to and use. For example, you can create a museum exhibit about the history of your town or set up a tradeshow presentation to provide information about your company and products.
- Internet presentations: PowerPoint can even help you to set up a presentation that you can broadcast over the Internet so people can join in on the fun without having to leave the comfort of their own homes or offices.