Friday, August 04, 2006

PowerPoint problems - Keynote to the rescue!

Microsoft's PowerPoint is a "now you love it, now you hate it" piece of software. I am not sure that all the blame goes to Microsoft for this, rather it is the fact that users abuse PowerPoint more than any other software package. PowerPoint can be pushed way beyond its natural capabilities and I have been known to receive a file several hundred megabytes large containing graphics that could be enlarged to the size of a small town without pixel degradation.

The problem with this is that many PowerPoint users have no idea that they are abusing the software. They can do it, therefore it must be OK!

But Microsoft does have to be held to account for selling what is a bug-ridden and sloppy piece of software. One website is dedicated to explaining all the issues that affect PowerPoint users, not the least being the dreaded red cross in place of metafile graphics.

Put these two negatives together and sometimes you will receive a PowerPoint file that simply crashes the program (particularly if it's cross-platform, designed on Windows XP, opened on OS X). As a Mac user I have found out a simple workaround. Using Apple's own presentation software, Keynote, I simply open the PowerPoint file in Keynote and save it as a .ppt file. It usually seems to be a lot more robust after the two "translations". Not everything comes through intact but at least the system doesn't crash.