Multiple presentations in PowerPoint 2010

PowerPoint has been able to open more than one presentation in previous versions, but version 2010 is the first that opens each in a separate instance of the application, making it much easier to work between two or more shows. The obvious use for this is when you’re creating a new presentation, but need to incorporate one or more slides from an existing one.

Also in the latest version of the program is a new set of transitions, making good use of the improved graphics capabilities of modern PCs and laptops. Moving between slides with style can help keep a presentation lively and entertaining.

When a presentation is already open on a PC, clicking File, New offers the usual options, to open a template or use a theme. When you have chosen one and click Create, though, it now opens in a new window – separate buttons for both appear in the task bar. Clicking between the two enables you to work with either, in the same way you can work with separate documents in Word or different sites in Internet Explorer (though in most cases, tabs are easier in a browser). When you close a presentation in PowerPoint, it doesn’t affect any other open presentations.

When two or more presentations are opened at the same time, they’re displayed in different windows, with the full functions of PowerPoint available to each. They can be quickly cascaded down the screen, using the Cascade option from the Window group in the View tab. More usefully, they can be presented side-by-side, by clicking Arrange All. Oddly, the Arrange All icon shows one window above another, though it doesn’t appear possible to view multiple presentations in that screen mode. Having two presentations side-by-side on the screen makes it easy to move slides from one to the other.

Slides can be freely moved between two or more presentations, simply by dragging them from one window to the other and dropping them on the dividing line between two slides in the slide sorter panel. At this point, the slide takes on the theme of the destination presentation, but a small pop-up at the bottom of the slide provides options for both destination and source themes to be used. It’s very useful to be able to absorb slides from a different theme into a new presentation, without having to go through and change design elements individually in the imported slides.

Transitions, the way one slide is removed from the screen and the next displayed, are the main graphical device used in presentations and PowerPoint 2010 has a good range of new animations to keep slide shows lively and up to date. Effects such as Honeycomb, which breaks the outgoing slide up into hexagons and creates the incoming one from a new set, and Switch, which rotates the old slide behind the new, help to keep presentations interesting. Overall, PowerPoint 2010 has been intelligently updated, making it even easier to use and adding powerful presentation extras to its feature set.