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What Is Microsoft PowerPoint?

Know about Microsoft’s presentation software

Microsoft PowerPoint icon on a laptop screen

Microsoft PowerPoint is a presentation program that creates a slide show of important information, charts, and images for a presentation.

Microsoft PowerPoint was first created and developed in 1987 by Forethought, Inc. for the Macintosh computer and acquired by Microsoft in 1990. Microsoft has released several updated versions, each with more features and better technology. Microsoft PowerPoint’s most recent version is available in Microsoft 365.

Do You Need Microsoft PowerPoint?

Presentation software is the most convenient way to create and display the types of slides you’ve probably seen in meetings or classroom settings.

LibreOfficeApache OpenOffice, and SlideDog are among the free options. Purchase Microsoft PowerPoint if you need to collaborate with others on a presentation, integrate with other Microsoft programs (such as Microsoft Word), or create a presentation that anyone can view.

Note: If integration with other Microsoft programs isn’t critical, Google Workspace has a Google Slides presentation program that allows excellent collaboration.

Microsoft PowerPoint includes all of the tools you need to create beautiful presentations. You can begin with a blank PowerPoint presentation or select from several pre-configured displays (called templates or PPT). A template is a file that has styles and designs applied to it. This option allows you to launch a PowerPoint presentation with a single click.

A blank PowerPoint presentation

You can also import images and videos from your computer and the internet, draw shapes, and create and insert various charts. PowerPoint provides numerous options for transitioning between slides and animating the items on any slide.

What Is a PowerPoint Presentation?

A PowerPoint presentation is a collection of slides that you create from scratch or use a template (called PPT) and contain information that you want to share. You can show the presentation to others in an office setting, such as a sales and business meeting, but you can also create slide shows for classrooms and birthdays.

PowerPoint presentation for a Hubble Space Telescope

The PowerPoint slides take up the entire presentation screen when you show them to your audience.

Benefits of PowerPoint

PowerPoint provides numerous benefits to users, including:

  • It is used and regarded as the “gold standard” in presentation software. If you create a PowerPoint presentation, it will be easier for others to open and view.
  • It has many optional presentation features, such as slide transitions, co-authoring, Ink Replay, animations, templates, etc.
  • It allows you to save your slides in several file formats, including GIF and JPG images, MPEG-4 video, PDF, RTF (rich text format), WMV (Windows Media Video), and PowerPoint XML.

Where Do You Find or Start Microsoft PowerPoint?

Microsoft Office is pre-installed on many (but not all) Windows-based computers. That means you may have a copy of Microsoft PowerPoint.

To check if you have Microsoft PowerPoint installed on your Windows device:

1. Enter PowerPoint in the Search Window on the taskbar (Windows 10 and Windows 11), the Start screen (Windows 8.1), or the Search window on the Start menu (Windows 7).

The search box in Windows 10

2. Check the results.

Searching for PowerPoint in Windows 10

There are two ways to find out if you have a version of PowerPoint on your Mac.

1. Open Finder then Applications on the left sidebar (see if PowerPoint is there).

Selecting Applications in the Finder in macOS

2. Or, click the magnifying glass in the upper-right corner of your Mac’s screen and type PowerPoint in the search box that appears.

Finding PowerPoint in Spotlight Search in macOS

Where to Get Microsoft PowerPoint

You can purchase PowerPoint either by:

Microsoft 365 is a monthly subscription service, whereas the Office Suite is a one-time fee.

The Microsoft Store where Microsoft 365 and Office suite is for purchase

If you don’t want to create presentations and instead want to see what others have done, you can use PowerPoint Online for free.

Note: Some employers, community colleges, and universities provide Microsoft 365 to their employees and students.

The History of PowerPoint

There have been numerous versions of the Microsoft Office suite over the years. The lower-cost suites only included the essential apps (often Word, PowerPoint, and Excel). Higher-priced Office suites had some of these apps or all of them (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, OneNote, SharePoint, Exchange, Skype, and more). The names of these editions included Office Home and Student, Microsoft 365 Family & Personal, and Office Professional.

PowerPoint 2021

Regardless of which version of the Microsoft Office suite you are looking at, it includes PowerPoint.

Here are the most recent Microsoft Office Suites that include PowerPoint:

  • PowerPoint Online and PowerPoint 365 are available in Microsoft 365 and are regularly updated.
  • Office 2021 includes PowerPoint 2021.
  • Office 2019 includes PowerPoint 2019.
  • PowerPoint 2016 included Office 2016.
  • PowerPoint 2013 came with Office 2013.
  • PowerPoint 2010 included Office 2010.
  • PowerPoint 2007 came standard with Office 2007.
  • PowerPoint 2003 came standard with Office 2003.
  • Office XP included PowerPoint 2002.

PowerPoint is available for Macintosh computers, as well as smartphones and tablets.

How do you make a PowerPoint presentation?

Using a template is the simplest way to begin a new PowerPoint presentation. Choose one and edit the placeholder text and images to make them your own. Microsoft provides a number of them in a wide range of casual and professional tones.

How do you insert music into a PowerPoint presentation?

Go to the Insert tab and select Audio Audio on My PC to play music through slides in a presentation. Locate the music file you want to use, then select the Insert button. Select the audio icon, navigate to the Playback tab and choose Play in Background.

How do you make PowerPoint templates?

Go to File > Save As to save your current presentation as a template. Click Browse, then select PowerPoint template from the Save as type drop-down menu. Give your new template a name, and then click Save.

How do you compress a PowerPoint file?

Compress the images you use in your presentations to make them smaller. When you select a picture, the Picture Format tab appears, select Compress Pictures (in the Adjust group) from that tab. You have a few options here: Uncheck Only apply to this image to ensure that the changes are applied to all photos in the presentation. You can also select Delete cropped areas of images, but PowerPoint cannot restore images to their original size. Finally, in the Resolution section, select Use default resolution.

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