Microsoft PowerPoint has become the de facto standard in presentation software. PowerPoint can create complex visual presentations, complete with audio, animation and image/video support.
Microsoft Corp. developed PowerPoint as a Windows-compatible charting package to replace older software such as Harvard Graphics. PowerPoint was included in the Microsoft Office software bundle, which led to its widespread use.
Presentations are thought to be more effective when accompanied by visual aids. PowerPoint allows presenters to display graphs, charts and other relevant diagrams, which make the presentation content more interesting and easier to understand.
PowerPoint is used by creating a series of slides. Each slide can contain text, images, embedded video, animations and audio. The presentation can be output to a video projector or other display system and slides can be advanced using a mouse, keyboard or even remote control.
PowerPoint slides can be printed out and used as handouts to help meeting attendees follow along with the presentation. Speaker notes can be embedded in each slide. These notes are visible only to the presenter, and can be hidden in the presentation output and printed slides.
Make sure you use PowerPoint wisely -- many presenters create too many irrelevant slides and rely too heavily on the PowerPoint slide show. PowerPoint should enhance and accent your presentation, not overwhelm it.