What Is the Function of Powerpoint?

By David Ward

PowerPoint is a piece of Microsoft's "Office Suite." It is commonly used in a variety of ways by business, education and government employees to provide a computerized "slide-show" for enhancing a presentation. PowerPoint might be employed to direct attention to an outline of the presentation, or to display graphs and pictures, or to focus the audience on key points.

How PowerPoint Functions

Although entirely digital, the output in Powerpoint functions like traditional slides, allowing the presenter to display information on a screen. The slides may contain words, images, graphs, or even movies. They can be organized to flow from one point to the next or to display key information at the appropriate times.

PowerPoint as an Outline

Before digital presentations, it was common for presenters to use note cards or an outline to organize a presentation. PowerPoint enables presenters to display the major points about which they are talking while giving the presentation. This not only keeps the presenter on track, but keeps the audience focused on the point under discussion.

Integration of Multimedia

PowerPoint allows users to include images --- pictures, movies, or graphs --- in the presentations they are making. If discussing how a certain marketing campaign benefited a company, the presenter may decide to display a graph showing increased sales after the implementation of the campaign. Photographs, video clips, and audio clips can also be incorporated to create a more engaging presentation.

Complaints About PowerPoint

Many business professionals have complained that presenters have come to rely too heavily on PowerPoint, often creating slides that contain the entire presentation and then just reading each slide. By using PowerPoint as the presentation rather than an aid to the presentation, the presenter tends to lose the attention of the audience. Other common complaints involve distracting backgrounds, excessive wording on each slide, too many slides, and overuse of animation.

Tips on Effective PowerPoint Use

Use contrasting colors in the slide design, minimize the number of slides, go easy on the animation features and ensure that the font is large enough to be read on a projector screen. Engage the audience---don't put them to sleep.