Issue #95 October 18, 2005

1. Annoying PowerPoint Survey Results

Last week I gave you a preview of the results from the Annoying PowerPoint survey I did last month. I have now analyzed the 415 written comments and prepared a full article of the results. There were many areas covered by the comments, but three areas stood out. First, it appears that many presenters still don’t know how to use the equipment. Examples include starting your presentation or laptop while connected to the projector (slip a book in front of the lens if you need to, just don’t block exhaust vents from the projector) and even some presenters who don’t know about Slide Show mode and deliver in Normal mode (this one even surprised me). Second was the poor design of so many slides. This covered color and fonts as I expected, but it also included an area that I find a lot in my consulting practice – the slide layout. Many people commented on how presenters don’t use the slide master and layouts to keep a consistent look to the slides in the presentation. The third area of common concern was the presenter not bring prepared to add to what was on the slides. This was more than just reading the slides, which came out as the most annoying thing presenters do. This was a lack of preparation on the part of the presenter, not knowing enough about their topic. It is clear that presenters have not gotten much better since I did this survey two years ago and I still have much work to do. The full article is on the web site at: Feel free to pass on the link to others who could benefit.

2. Office 12 Changes Part 2

Last issue I talked about the changes coming to the user interface of MS Office next year. This time I want to focus on the other major change coming to Office – new file formats. Yes, Microsoft is changing the file formats for Word, Excel and PowerPoint. They are moving to an XML compressed format, which will enable smaller files and allow developers easier access to the files in order to build new applications that can read and write the files. Unfortunately it also means that all existing versions of Office won’t be able to read or write to the new file formats without you downloading a file interpreter. The new version of Office will be able to save into the existing file formats and even set the existing file format as the default if desired. Microsoft has announced that they will not be releasing a file interpreter for Office 97 applications, so if you are still using the 97 version you will be out of luck when the new Office comes out. My recommendation is that if you are still using Office 97, upgrade now to Office 2003 so you are not left behind next year. You should also consider who you share files with and start thinking about procedures for dealing with the inevitable problems that will come when sharing files with colleagues using the new version of Office. Microsoft has gone through a file format change once before and it caused a large number of problems. They are planning this change better than last time, but I fully expect there to be considerable issues as people convert to the new version of Office next year. My suggestion is to not convert when the new version comes out, but to wait at least until 2007 when Microsoft works most of the problems out before you convert. Overall, the new version of Office will be a good move for the future, but it will be one that we all have to struggle with for a while as the conversion takes place. Microsoft has more details on their web site at:

3. Useful Resource – Photo Sharing Sites

So many of us have digital cameras (we have two) and we want to share our photos with family and friends. Photo sharing sites have popped up all over the Internet and we may not know which ones are useful or offer good service. I recently found an article that rates some of these sites. I suggest you check it out at Information Week and see if one of these sites will meet your needs: