Windows

Microsoft PowerPoint Gets Multiple Improved AI And Prediction Tools But Only Certain MS Office Users Will Get It

Microsoft has bolstered its MS Office PowerPoint presentation and slide preparation software with improved ‘PowerPoint Designer’. Introduced way back 2015, the tool uses continually evolving Artificial Intelligence and Prediction Engine to suggest improvements. Along with the PowerPoint Designer Microsoft is also pushing updates to Morph, another subset of tools that helps in creation of animation.

Microsoft is infusing more AI-driven features to MS PowerPoint. The company had announced PowerPoint Designer and Morph, two cloud-powered features built on Microsoft’s recommendation and smart animation technologies way back in 2015. This week, the company announced a few more important backend and frontend additions and improvements to the same. PowerPoint Designer is essentially an entire subset of features that make building PowerPoint presentations easier and more intuitive. Designer actively observes the creation process and offers suggestions to users about how they can build informative and illustrative slides around a photo. The feature is smart enough to recommend how to improve the ‘digestibility’ of walls of text. Users can also quickly add iconography to their presentations.

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While these features were preexistent for quite some time, the PowerPoint Designer now gains the ability to offer branded templates. In other words, Microsoft is offering the ability to customers to use branded templates and/or to build branded templates of their own. Needless to add, the ability to quickly deploy branded templates has been a long-standing request from MS Office and PowerPoint users. This is because PowerPoint is mostly used by corporations who have their own branding and styling, and users need to comply with corporate branding guidelines. This feature ensures the branded templates are ready with the guidelines that have been preset.

In addition to the branded templates, the PowerPoint Designer feature is also getting a new functionality that Microsoft prefers to call “Perspectives”. This new feature is now available as an option for slides. Interestingly, Perspectives is already a part of Microsoft’s search engine Bing. At its core, Perspectives is an intelligent comparison engine that simplifies large data into formats that can be easily understood. The feature relies on Microsoft Research’s Perspective Engine technology. Essentially, the Designer feature can now identify when a slide contains a large number that might be difficult to quickly interpret. It can then put the number or value into context by automatically augmenting the text with a corresponding perspective.

Apart from these features, Microsoft is also offering Theme Ideas. The feature is essentially a recommendation engine that will suggest photographs and icons. Interestingly, the recommendation too, is driven by AI. Microsoft confirmed the feature will work with a variety of theme styles and colors. Moreover, the suggestions will be based on words that users type into a blank slide. In other words, the feature will observe the words being typed and suggest accordingly. Microsoft has assured that the photographs and icons will be licensed for commercial use. Needless to say, curated and vetted images should avoid any copyright issues.

https://twitter.com/mtholfsen/status/1141011538527965184

In an apparent effort to receive feedback on the presentation that users create, Microsoft is also adding a new feedback mechanism to PowerPoint called “Presenter Coach.” Essentially, this feature appears to be a virtual listener that listens to the PowerPoint presentation and offers feedback to improve the same. Presenter Coach will allow users to rehearse a PowerPoint presentation. Users about to offer a presentation could receive real-time suggestions about pacing, word choice, and techniques. The feature would essentially urge presenters to avoid the common mistakes of simply reading the slides. After the mock or trial presentation, the feature is designed to offer a comprehensive report with suggestions and important metrics about the presentation. First-time as well as experienced users who regularly offer presentations could benefit from this feature as they would be able to realize and correct some of the common but uncorrected mistakes.

It is important to note that Microsoft has chosen not to offer these important features to MS Office installations that have a “perpetual” or non-subscription licenses. In other words, even the latest MS Office 2019 will not get these features. Microsoft is restricting these features to “cloud-based and subscription dependent” version of MS Office. Simply put, only users of PowerPoint tied to Office 365 and PowerPoint for the Web will have access to these AI-driven, cloud-based and continuously evolving features.


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