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It's been almost 25 years since Microsoft launched PowerPoint -- it's official birthday is May 22nd, 1990 -- and since then, the program has pretty much taken over the world. It controls virtually the entire presentations software market, with an estimated 350 PowerPoint presentations given every second.
But, like many programs we use frequently, we often get used to one version. That means you might still be operating on a PowerPoint program that is five, even eight years out of date. Is it time for an upgrade?
Don't Worry, There's Not a Brand New Version
You don't have to fret too much -- if you've updated your office software in the past few years, you probably are operating on the latest version of PowerPoint. The newest incarnation is from 2013. That's new enough to have many features targeted for the changing nature of electronics and office work, but also not so cutting edge that it will leave you bleeding.
PowerPoint 2013 simply adds a few new tools and tweaks to the 2010 and 2007 versions, which remain the most widely used.
If a .ppt is your canvas, then 2013 adds plenty of ways to make it even brighter and more creative. You can continue to use themes and templates, the default palates let you quickly put out a presentation with a standardized style. But these options have been expanded, allowing you to easily vary between different colors schemes for the same template. Adding shapes, text boxes and graphics has also become easier.
Easier Media Integration
You don't have to worry as much about PowerPoint being difficult when adding outside media. For example, in past versions, integrating video into a presentation meant linking to an external website or locally storing the file on your computer. The newer, shinier PowerPoint makes it easier to integrate media directly into your presentation. You can insert Excel tables and charts without losing their formatting, grab pictures from the Internet without popping out into your browser, and play videos directly from slides. This can be especially helpful if you regularly use media rich PowerPoint slides in trial presentations.
Time to Upgrade?
Whether you need to shell out for the newest version will depends on how often you use PowerPoint and why. If you really dive in to creative formatting and eye-catching styles, the creativity enhancements will be a boon. Practitioners who regularly make use of media in presentations will also benefit. The program's improved collaboration tools will be a benefit to lawyers working together on presentations.
If those factors don't wow you, feel free to wait. The newest version isn't such a world ahead that everyone needs to upgrade just yet.