Friday, November 16, 2007, 10:00 am
Road to Mac Office 2008: PowerPoint '08 vs Keynote 4.0
New in PowerPoint 2008: User Interface
In Office 2008, Microsoft catches up with more of the features of Keynote, including alignment guides that appear when you reposition objects, and a mini-view sidebar presentation of slides in your document. There is still no grouping or sorting feature within the sidebar however. Rather than offering five different view modes, the new PowerPoint has simplified things down to three: Normal View (below), Slide Sorter, and Slide Show. Slide Sorter presents a light table view for rearranging slides, and Slide Show plays the presentation.
The Outline and Slide view are now gone; they simply presented Normal View without the notes and sidebar. Users can now manually slide the notes section out of view and click the close box to dismiss the sidebar. Unlike Keynote, the new PowerPoint sidebar dynamically scales the mini slide icons as it is resized. It also preserves the former outline view that depicts slides with a generic icon and a text label. The new sidebar isn't yet working correctly, as the slide selected in the sidebar isn't always updated in the main slide display (above).
Keynote presents the sidebar slide views in one of three set sizes selected using a control at the bottom of the sidebar (above). The View drop down menu (below) presents both view modes for selecting between normal Navigator mode, the legacy Outline text view, a Slide Only view, and a Light Table view that works like PowerPoint's Slide Sorter. Keynote has less need for the Light Table view, because you can reorder visible slides by drag and drop right from the sidebar. In the new PowerPoint 2008, you can now do that too.
In the place of Office 2008's Elements Gallery dentures, Keynote displays a strip of functional contextual editing features called the Format Bar just under the Toolbar. Keynote's View menu (above) also presents controls to showing rulers, displaying the Format Bar, displaying presenter notes, displaying sticky comment notes, and showing Master Slides. The latter option puts Master Slides into the sidebar above the slides in your presentation.
As with Word and Excel, PowerPoint uses the Elements Gallery to present templates (below). In PowerPoint, the Gallery is orange. As with Excel, this can be turned off for a more basic grey appearance. The first tooth of the Gallery is Slide Themes, which presents four dozen different starting points. Selecting a theme changes all the slides in your document, but there is apparently a way to have multiple themes, as it also presents a selection of "Themes in Presentation."
The second tooth is Slide Layouts (below), which presents a variety of layouts based on the chosen theme. Two radio buttons allow you to select between imposing the layout on the selected slide, or adding a new slide to the presentation using the selected layout.
In Keynote, template themes are selected from the opening menu just like Pages or Numbers. A Keynote theme is more than just a background gradient and some placeholder text boxes. Each involves a strong overall design across a series of Master Slides. Unlike PowerPoint, when you select a theme from the Toolbar menu (below), it only changes the slides you have selected in the sidebar, allowing you to mix together themes within the same document.
The Theme Chooser (below) gives you a closer look at the theme choices, and allows you to select the slide size. This chooser can be used to apply a theme to all of the slides in a presentation, or just to a selected group. Additional changes to the document's page layout and slide size are done using the inspector panel.
The Masters menu in the Toolbar presents a selection of alternative layouts related to both the currently selected theme as well as some generic unthemed pages.
The Transitions tooth in the Gallery presents a series of fades, wipes, cube turns and other styles of slide transitions (below). You are supposed to select a slide and then pick a transition, but selected transitions don't seem to stick once applied. To see what the transition looks like, you have to switch to Slide Show mode and play the presentation. To change the attributes of the transition, you have to use a modal Transition Options window brought up from the Options button in the Gallery.
In Keynote, slide transitions are configured in the Slide panel of the Inspector, where a preview shows how the actual slide will look with that transition applied. It also offers more customization tools, in addition to offering more professional looking transition options.
The Gallery also offers a huge selection of tables to choose from, but they're all just simple tables in loud primary colors. Rather than paging through nearly a hundred table styles, it would be nice to just insert a table and then be able to add formatting themes to it. The "Best Match for Document" selection seems like a joke (below). Once you pick out a table style, editing it to fit your document is clumsy and difficult, and the Formatting Palette is as awkward here as it is in other Office apps.
In Keynote, editing a table is as easy as adding one with a click on the Toolbar and then formating it as desired. By default, the table is formatted to fit your theme, but you can edit borders, background fills, add alternating row colors and define headers and footers.
You can also add cell formatting, conditional formatting (which changes the format relative to the cell values), and insert basic spreadsheet formulas. Keynote's tables features were the reason so many people were predicting a spreadsheet product in iWork. Keynote's tables are not just smart, they also easy to attractively format and customize.
The Gallery offers the same selection of charts as noted in Excel. As was the case with Word, attempts to insert a chart actually launch Excel, but it then crashes, so this feature isn't yet ready (below). It also seems like overkill to launch Excel just to insert a chart.
Keynote doesn't launch Numbers, it just inserts a chart of the type you select from the Charts menu in the Toolbar. You can then enter values using a Chart Data Editor and then customize the chart with the powerful but simple and easy to understand editing tools in the Chart Inspector panel. You can also drag and drop color finishes on chart objects using Chart Colors to present eye catching visuals.
On page 3 of 3: SmartArt Graphics; Object Animation; PowerPoint Speaking Presentation; File Output; and PowerPoint vs Keynote.
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