Microsoft PowerPoint, usually just called PowerPoint, is a non-free commercial presentation program developed by Microsoft. It is part of the Microsoft Office suite, and runs on Microsoft Windows and Apple's Mac OS X operating system. The current versions are Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2010 for Windows and Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2011 for Mac. History
Originally designed for the Macintosh computers, the initial release was called "Presenter", developed by Dennis Austin[not in citation given] and Thomas Rudkin[not in citation given] of Forethought, Inc. In 1987, it was renamed to "PowerPoint" due to problems with trademarks, the idea for the name coming from Robert Gaskins. In August of the same year, Forethought was bought by Microsoft for $14 million USD ($27.1 million in present-day terms), and became Microsoft's Graphics Business Unit, which continued to develop the software further. PowerPoint was officially launched on May 22, 1990, the same day that Microsoft released Windows 3.0. PowerPoint changed significantly with PowerPoint 97. Prior to PowerPoint 97, presentations were linear, always proceeding from one slide to the next. PowerPoint 97 incorporated the Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) language, underlying all macro generation in Office 97, which allowed users to invoke pre-defined transitions and effects in a non-linear movie-like style without having to learn programming PowerPoint 2000 (and the rest of the Office 2000 suite) introduced a clipboard that could hold multiple objects at once. Another noticeable change was that the Office Assistant, whose frequent unsolicited appearances in PowerPoint 97 (as an animated paperclip) had annoyed many users, was changed to be less intrusive. See also: Microsoft Office 2000
PowerPoint presentations consist of a number of individual pages or "slides". The "slide" analogy is a reference to the slide projector. Slides may contain text, graphics, sound, movies, and other objects, which may be arranged freely. PowerPoint, however, facilitates the use of a consistent style in a presentation using a template or "Slide Master". The presentation can be printed, displayed live on a computer, or navigated through at the command of the presenter. For larger audiences the computer display is often projected using a video projector. Slides can also form the basis of webcasts. PowerPoint provides three types of movements:
Entrance, emphasis, and exit of elements on a slide itself are controlled by what PowerPoint calls Custom Animations 2.
Transitions, on the other hand, are movements between slides. These can be animated in a variety of ways 3.
Custom animation can be used to create small story boards by animating pictures to enter, exit or move. Cultural impact
A PowerPoint Presentation in Progress.
Supporters say that the ease of use of presentation software can save a lot of time for people who otherwise would have used other types of visual aid—hand-drawn or mechanically typeset slides, blackboards or whiteboards, or overhead projections. Ease of use also encourages those who otherwise would not have used visual aids, or would not have given a presentation at all, to make presentations. As PowerPoint's style, animation, and multimedia abilities have become more sophisticated, and as the application has generally made it easier to produce presentations (even to the point of having an "AutoContent Wizard" (discontinued in PowerPoint 2007) suggesting a structure for a presentation), the difference in needs and desires of presenters and audiences has become more noticeable. The benefit of PowerPoint is continually debated, though most people believe that the benefit may be to present structural presentations to business workers, such as Raytheon Elcan does.  Its use in classroom lectures has influenced investigations of PowerPoint’s effects on student performance in comparison to lectures...
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