Microsoft PowerPoint 2016 Review

Editor's Note: Microsoft is no longer selling PowerPoint independently. If you wish to acquire it, you must purchase the entire Microsoft Office 365 Suite. Clicking the buy button will take you to the Microsoft Suite for purchase.

Our Verdict

Microsoft PowerPoint is useful for professional presentations and text-centric projects, but it lacks some important creative abilities and output capabilities.

For

  • Microsoft PowerPoint offers nearly all the essential editing tools for photo slideshows.

Against

  • You cannot publish your slideshow presentations directly to YouTube, Facebook or other social networks.
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Microsoft PowerPoint's interface is very different from other slideshow software. Instead of having the slides move horizontally across the bottom, they are listed vertically on the left side of the screen.

Microsoft PowerPoint's interface is very different from other slideshow software. Instead of having the slides move horizontally across the bottom, they are listed vertically on the left side of the screen.
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PowerPoint gives you 48 transitions to use when creating slideshows.

PowerPoint gives you 48 transitions to use when creating slideshows.
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PowerPoint comes with 140 slide themes and offers additional themes on the company website.

PowerPoint comes with 140 slide themes and offers additional themes on the company website.
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PowerPoint works better as a formal presentation program, but it can also be used to create professional-looking slideshows for special occasions.

PowerPoint works better as a formal presentation program, but it can also be used to create professional-looking slideshows for special occasions.
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You can add audio to specific slides or choose to have a soundtrack playing in the background through your project.

You can add audio to specific slides or choose to have a soundtrack playing in the background through your project.
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You can also import video clips into your PowerPoint slideshows.

You can also import video clips into your PowerPoint slideshows.

Editor's Note: Microsoft is no longer selling PowerPoint independently. If you wish to acquire it, you must purchase the entire Microsoft Office 365 Suite. Clicking the buy button will take you to the Microsoft Suite for purchase.

Anyone in the business or academic worlds have likely seen Microsoft PowerPoint at its best. This MS Office program is synonymous with presentations, and for good reason – it excels at making text-centric slides. (See what I did there?) It isn’t ideal for making creative photo projects, but if you already have Microsoft Office on your computer, PowerPoint can be an economical way to make a slideshow. If you are looking for software that gives you creative freedom with images and audio tools, you might want to find another program. 

When testing this software, we noticed that there aren’t any photo frame template options and there are few playful backgrounds and graphics. Most have a business feel to them, which might not fit your slideshow. The layout of this software is also very different from standard photo slideshow software. For instance, the audio and music options aren’t as easy to control as with other slideshow software.

We counted 140 background templates you can choose from and 48 transition effects that you can add to your slideshows. You can also go online and download additional designs and transitions from Microsoft’s website. This software allows you to include as many images as you want, and you can add video clips if you desire, along with audio narration. In addition, there are dynamic galleries, animations and live previews. When we exported our final slideshow, the image quality and video quality was just as good as our original media.

The audio features are somewhat difficult to use, especially compared to other programs we tested. This software only plays additional audio clips when the presenter clicks on them, so getting narration clips to play when you want them to can be tricky. If you want a program that offers easier audio editing and playback tools, you might be interested in Photostory Deluxe.

You can send presentations as an email attachment and put them onto DVD and interactive CD physical copies. You can also distribute your presentations in more business-friendly ways. For example, if you are giving a remote presentation, you can broadcast it using nothing more than a link. If you want to make the presentation available to remote users, you can publish the slides to a slide library or a SharePoint site. This program also allows you to export your slideshows in HD or 4K Ultra.

However, you cannot publish your picture slideshow on mobile devices. You also cannot share your slideshows with family and friends by directly uploading the presentations to YouTube, Facebook or other social networks. Also, this software is not compatible with MPEG or AVI formats, which is common with most other programs.

Microsoft offers several support options. If you want help troubleshooting and learning the differences between the latest version and previous ones, PowerPoint Help has a user guide that outlines how to make a slideshow with the software’s tools. Microsoft also provides both email and phone support. There are a handful of basic video tutorials on Microsoft’s website, but in order to get more in-depth instruction, you will need to subscribe to the LinkedIn Learning channel. Fortunately, since PowerPoint is so widely used, you can find plenty of user-created tutorials on YouTube.

Microsoft PowerPoint serves as a functional photo slideshow creator. There aren't as many import and export options as with other photo slideshow applications, which means it's not as easy to share your finished presentation. The graphics and backgrounds mainly have a business tone to them, which might not fit your slideshow. However, with its editing tools, you can still expect high quality and powerful performance from this photo slideshow maker.

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