Microsoft Office 2011 for Mac - PowerPoint 2011 review

Can the latest version of PowerPoint for Mac tempt back users who have defected to Apple's rival Keynote program? Read our in-depth review to find out.

PowerPoint for Windows can include the font data in its files, but PowerPoint 2011 can't read this, and nor can it save font data so unless your show will only ever be run from your own Mac or exported as a non-interactive movie, you'll be well advised to stick to web-safe fonts. Given that PDFs embed fonts and ensure correct appearance seamlessly across platforms, Microsoft has little excuse.

Mac users will appreciate the ability to export all the slides in a presentation, or just a selection, as image files to iPhoto, in case you prefer to create your slideshow there. Another new sharing feature is the Broadcast Slide Show command, which prepares and uploads your presentation via Windows Live so that other users can view it on the web. Features are rather limited there's no audio, movies or advanced transitions but it could be useful when you can't physically present.

Co-authoring is also supported, so having saved to your SkyDrive you can edit a presentation simultaneously with other users, though for some reason this doesn't work with files containing macros, which have to be saved in a special format. Using the PowerPoint Web App, you can also tweak and present your show from any computer, although there aren't really enough features here to create good-looking or sophisticated presentations from scratch. Note that you'll need a desktop browser for editing as the iPod touch, iPhone and iPad can only display documents.

There's a lot to like in PowerPoint 2011. It's still PowerPoint, and if you're just looking for a simple way to create a presentation Steve Jobs wouldn't mind standing in front of, Keynote will get you there faster. However, users prepared to dig deeper into styles and animation will be richly rewarded.

Verdict

The Ribbon goes some way towards taming PowerPoint 2011’s over-abundance of features, making it a little less daunting for casual users. Yet there’s even more power for the more ambitious presenter – or even designers – to discover.

Processor: Intel only Memory: 1GB (minimum) Hard disk: Mac OS Extended drive with 1.8GB free space Display: 1,280 x 800 pixel resolution screen OS: Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later

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