PowerPoint updates

Last week, a colleague tipped me off that PowerPoint announced some big changes. Microsoft will be introducing two new tools to Office 365 users: Designer and Morph. Designer will automate the design of a PowerPoint slide based on image analysis, and Morph will take animation to a new level by creating cinematic motion.

Although change can be very good (or very bad), I am hesitant to be excited about the new features. On its face, Designer does not seem inherently bad. That being said, a lot of features of PowerPoint already make it easy for users to do bad things, and I would worry that automating design could continue the trend. I can emphatically say that I do not have positive feelings about Morph. For those of you who have seen me speak, you know that I always advocate for slideshow design to avoid animation. What is most unfortunate about Morph is that it will likely be this feature for which users are excited. Browsing the comments at the Office blog, a couple of people compared the new animation to Prezi in a complimentary way. Novelty can often outshine utility. I would worry that the cinematic motion provided by Morph will function as smoke and mirrors instead of genuine design.

What do others think? Are there Office 365 users out there awaiting the access to the updates?

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