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Monday, January 31, 2005

Powerpoint Chaps My Hide

Powerpoint sucks. This is an almost universally known and accepted truism. What's worse, is that with each new revision, rather than adding spiffy new features or improving some of the elements that suck about it, Microsoft thinks it'd be better to add nifty animation. So now, when I copy and paste, I get a little clipboard icon next to what I've copied and it writes lines on the clipboard. This doesn't help me copy and paste better.

On the other hand, I used to use Ctrl+Shift+M to add a new slide of the same type to my presentation. Often times, I need a series of blank slides with no text boxes or any other nonsense so that I can add a lot of screen shots to make a system walk through presentation. In PowerPoint 2000, I could do that by hitting my special command code and it would add another blank slide. Now, I have to hit Ctrl+M, and then click on the type of slide I want in the right hand column. I can't even take the action I need through keyboard shortcuts. I have to use the mouse. I hate unnecessary mousing. Let me work fast like the power user I am.

And now, I've just spent the last 2+ hours trying to get the screen shots I took for a handout to print. The basic image prints, but the little notes describing the interesting details about each image never printed. I tried everything I could think of. Then my office mate tried everything she could think of. And I made about 25 trips back and forth to the printer to pick up a page to confirm that no, it didn't print again. Finally, in utter desperation, I use SnagIt (a truly lovely tool made by a software company that is NOT Microsoft who sells their products for a reasonable price and whose upgrades are actually better than the old version, not just released because it's been a few years and they need to make everyone incompatible to make more money) to take screen shots of all the slides and paste them into a Word document so that I can print handouts of the things that display perfectly fine on the screen. Gah!

I have a suspicion that this has something to do with what Powerpoint believes is in the "printable" space on a slide, which is utter crap because it's on the slide, it displays on the screen, and all printouts have a buffer space of at least an inch all the way around, and on handout sheets with 2 slides to a page like I'm trying to print, there's far more buffer space.

I want software that does what it is told to do, not what it thinks is best. If I mess up, let me be responsible for fixing it after I see that that truly won't work. And don't offer (or charge for!) a new release until you've really improved some of the serious weaknesses of your program that have been that way since 1997 at least! I moved up to Office 2003 on the assumption that something would be improved, but I can't find it. So far, everything seems the same, or more broken. I can't find a single thing about it that works better. Powerpoint still tries to enforce the big text, hierarchical bullets filgercarb it always has, and now they've made it even harder to get around. That's just sad.

I think my Word version of my Powerpoint document is finished printing now. Mergle...


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