Microsoft released a preview version of Office 2013 last week.
In addition to the interface Metro-ization and Cloud cover that all the applications got, PowerPoint also has some very cool new PowerPoint-only features. Here are some of my favorites:
Page turn transition! (Users have been asking for this one for a long time. Glad to see it’s finally here.)
Color picker! (Again, folks have been asking for this one forever. Find the eyedropper on any of the color galleries – shape, outline or text – and be sure to press and hold the left mouse button to select a color off of the slide or outside of PowerPoint.)
16×9 default slide size. Surprisingly, I haven’t seen many people commenting on this one. I thought it would get a lot more buzz. It’s a good move, but it’s going to be painful for awhile. Luckily the PPT team included a slide resizer to help folks manage this transition. (If you need a more robust slide resizer, check Resize or Aspects).
Guides. Omigosh, we have way more guidelines! Guides on the slide master, guides on the layouts, guides on the slides. And they’re color-able!
Smarter SmartGuides. Not only do the whiskers kick in to help you align objects as you drag them around on the slide, but now they also define equal spacing between objects. So, so helpful.
Theme variants. These are cool – an easy way to add variations to your template or theme and make it easy for users to select. Can’t wait to create some of these super-themes!
There are a bunch more. If you want to check it out for yourself, you can learn more about (and download) the preview here: http://www.microsoft.com/office/preview/en
Here’s my obligatory warning: Don’t use the preview for anything mission-critical, and be sure to read the EULA and/or pre-release terms. Here are a couple of important parts:
17.2 TERMINATION. Microsoft may suspend or cancel the Services, or terminate this agreement at any time for any reason. Upon cancellation, suspension or termination, Customer’s right to use the Services stops immediately. There is no guarantee that Data and applications will be retrievable. Customer understands and agrees that it will not use the Service for anything that is mission critical to its business operations and will only use Data that Customer has backed up. Customer may stop using and accessing the Services at any time without further obligation, whether or not it deletes or extracts its Data.
27.4 TIME-SENSITIVE SOFTWARE. The term of this agreement is until June 30, 2013, or commercial release of the software, whichever is first. The software will stop running on June 30, 2013. You will not receive any other notice. You may not be able to access data used with the software when it stops running.