Making good presentations on a deadline can be hard. Thankfully, Microsoft just released a couple of new tools that make it way easier to create decks that don’t suck. [Can we say “suck” on camera?]
The new PowerPoint Designer and Morph transition features bust out tricks that presentation pros have been using for years, without requiring the effort that employing them usually takes.
Invoking Designer is super-simple. Just add an image into a PowerPoint slide, and a sidebar full of design template suggestions pops up to help you lay it out.
Designer's layouts do things like resizing, cropping and masking images to show off their most important parts while integrating with the design of the slide they’re in.
There’s nothing in there that you couldn’t do yourself, but actually doing that would take a ton of work.
Also, if a layout isn’t quite right, you can tweak it to get things to look the way you want.
Unfortunately, Designer requires a connection to Microsoft’s servers, which means that if you’re stuck on a flight without wi-fi, no flashy designs for you. It also only works with images for right now.
Morph is all about making slick transitions between slides without annoying your audience. It’s set up to be idiot-proof: just open up the transitions menu, click the Morph button, and watch as PowerPoint intelligently transforms images from one slide to another.
In my experience, Morph is set up in such a way that it should be able to intelligently figure out what’s going on between two slides and move between them most of the time.
These new features are only available to people who have an Office 365 subscription, and will roll out to most consumers over the coming weeks. Business users should ask their IT department about when the new updates will roll out.
Consumer and University users who want the latest and greatest features like these as soon as Microsoft makes them available can join the Office Insider Program, and business users can ask their IT department to opt them into Office 365’s First Release program.
Opting into that won’t just give you early access to these new updates, but also to new features that Microsoft plans to roll out in the future.