PowerPoint 2007 Cheat Sheet

Confused by the app's new look? We can help.

PowerPoint users, your world has changed. The newest version, PowerPoint 2007, features the most thorough changes since the program's birth.

This is good news. PowerPoint's new look is more than just a pretty face -- it makes it far easier to create powerful presentations. Including multimedia is now simpler than ever, for example, and there are a host of other new tools as well. Get used to the new way of doing things, and you'll save time, be more productive and create better presentations.

It may take some time to get used to PowerPoint 2007, though. That's where this article comes in. We'll give you a guided tour of the new interface, show you what's new, and offer tips and tricks for getting the most out of PowerPoint 2007. (See also 10 Tips for Better Powerpoint Presentations).

Get the lay of the land

The PowerPoint 2007 interface represents the biggest change Microsoft Corp. has made to the look and feel of the program and to how you get to its myriad features. No matter what you do -- from creating new presentations to editing styles, creating animations or even just using a menu -- you'll find things have changed.

Here's a quick guided tour to the PowerPoint 2007 interface:

1. The Microsoft Office button. The big button on the upper left-hand corner of the screen replaces the old File menu from previous versions of PowerPoint. You'll find familiar features for opening files, saving files, printing files and so on, but there's a lot more here as well, as you'll discover later in this guide.

2. The Quick Access toolbar. To the right of the Office button is the Quick Access toolbar, with buttons for using PowerPoint's most common features, including Save, Undo, Redo, Quick Print, Print Preview, showing a slide show from the beginning and more. You can add and remove buttons for any functions you please. More on that later as well.

3. The Ribbon. Love it or hate it, the Ribbon is the main way you'll work with PowerPoint. Instead of old-style menus, in which the menus have submenus, and the submenus have sub-submenus and so on, the Ribbon groups small icons for common tasks together in tabs on a big, well, ribbon. So, for example, when you click the Insert tab, the Ribbon appears with buttons for items that you can insert into a presentation, such as a picture, clip art, a chart, movies or audio clips.

If you've spent years getting to know PowerPoint's old interface, you'll likely be frustrated at having to learn a whole new interface. But even if you hate the Ribbon initially, it can be your friend.

4. The View toolbar. There are no longer several sets of toolbars at the bottom of PowerPoint; their functions have been replaced by the Ribbon. The View toolbar, which used to be at the bottom of the slide sorter, has been moved to the bottom of the screen. It lets you choose between Normal, Slide Sorter and Slide Show modes. There's also a slider that lets you zoom in or out of your presentation or individual slides.

No right-hand pane. In PowerPoint 2007, the right-hand pane from previous versions has been banished; its functions have been replaced by the Ribbon. So, for example, when you create a new slide and want to apply a new layout to it, you now use the Design group in the Ribbon.

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Preston Gralla

Computerworld
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