PowerPoint is Free! (Part 1 of 5 Things You Might Not Know)

In the past, most people’s experience with Microsoft Office involved using it at their place of employment, because the price tag on the full suite of software was a bit hefty for personal home use. But the times, they are a-changing. : ) Microsoft has a handful of new options to help make Office available to home users. One of these is SkyDrive. That’s right, with your FREE SkyDrive account (which you get automatically when you sign up for a FREE Hotmail or Live email account), you’re now able to create, edit, view, and store Office documents in the browser for FREE (using what’s called Office Web Apps), including PowerPoint:












Perhaps you’re thinking: “In the browser? That’s gotta be some do-nothing, super-basic version of PowerPoint, right?” Not really. Although there are certainly many pieces of functionality that don’t exist in the browser version, there’s a surprising amount of features that are included. In fact, for the average user, probably just about everything they need is there. And the look-n-feel is almost identical to the desktop experience. Here’s a look at a new PowerPoint document opened using the PowerPoint Web App:

















Among other things, some of the nice advantages of using Office Web  Apps is the ability to share and embed your PowerPoint presentation:













In fact, here’s an embedded slide deck from a presentation I did a few years back at a Microsoft Office/SharePoint Launch Event:


So, in addition to the above, some of the other upsides of the PowerPoint Web App include the ability to access, work on, or present your PowerPoint document from any computer that has Internet access. Also, Office Web Apps are constantly updated by Microsoft to the latest version of the software – no longer do you have to be stuck 2 versions behind while the rest of the kool kids are using the latest-greatest. : )


The downsides? Well, the key disadvantage is probably that some features are not included – the most obvious one being the lack of many of the fancier transitions and animations. (Fancy transitions in an existing PowerPoint presentation will still work, they’ll just be downgraded to something simple like a Fade)


Nevertheless, FREE is a pretty good deal, especially when all your trying to do today is view a fancy new PPTX presentation that your colleague sent you. Simply upload it into your SkyDrive and let Office Web Apps take it from there.


Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series on PowerPoint….

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