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The PowerPoint 2007/PowerFrameworks Team

PowerPoint 2007 is here, with all its anticipated design capabilities – and you won't be disappointed.PowerPoint 2007 provides significantly upgraded capabilities in four basic areas:

Formatting options that used to be achievable only in the higher-end graphics applications are now available in PowerPoint 2007 – and they're easy to use. Many new variations of shadows, edges, glows, bevels, and 3D options will add a polish to your presentations like never before.

SmartArt has been added and provides layouts for lists, processes, cycles, hierarchies, relationships, matrices, and pyramids. They are great looking and very time conserving to add to presentations, specifically the lists options.

The design themes library is another noteworthy addition. The design themes choices add backgrounds, color palettes, and formatting styles to your presentations with one click. This is a very powerful addition. But it may have only limited value if you already have your company templates and color schemes set. However, if you create templates for special projects and events within your company, a PowerPoint 2007 design theme might be a good starting point.

Data-driven charts are now "driven" by Excel instead of Microsoft Graph. This is a vastly improved and much more powerful method of manipulating chart data.

So how do all of these PowerPoint 2007 additions affect the PowerFrameworks library and your subscription?

1. Formatting options

The added formatting capabilities can be applied to all conceptual frameworks in the PowerFrameworks library, i.e., everything except the downloadable PNG design elements and illustrations. The added formatting options will begin to show up in the tutorials April 2007. All new tutorials will contain a section for PowerPoint 2007 users and all previous tutorials will be updated with new PowerPoint 2007 information.

The following is a sampling of PowerFrameworks conceptual frameworks formatted with the new PowerPoint 2007 capabilities.

These are frameworks from several different series. As you can see, the effects are vastly different. The line effects are pretty nice. The shadows are gradated and much more realistic looking. The bevel effects produce nice little tiles. The soft edges produce a rather indistinct "suggestion" of a shape, which can be used in situations where text overflows the shape.

The next set shows formatting to still more frameworks from various series. Some of the same formatting is used, but the org chart and the cogs have the reflection effect applied.

As you can see, the frameworks appear much differently than when formatted with pre-PowerPoint 2007.

Just be sure that you develop a standardized formatting style for your presentations and apply it consistently. Formatting styles are as important as color palettes. For example, presentations that use gradients at many different angles, shading and no shading, 3D and no 3D, etc., tend to lose visual appeal. While each individual slide may look great, as a whole the presentation lacks cohesiveness and consistency.

2. SmartArt

The SmartArt library is a great addition to PowerPoint 2007. You should investigate its capabilities and options. Again, style is an issue. Be sure that you select SmartArt layouts that blend well with other elements and styles within your presentation(s).

The example above is a list layout option. It provides ease in structuring lists and/or associated points. It also comes with restrictions. For example, the beige fields are pretty sparsely populated on top. You might want to balance the graphic by moving the top gold boxes up and then distributing the gold boxes vertically so that they are evenly spaced. You can move the top boxes, but PowerPoint 2007 will not let you redistribute or align the column of boxes. If you think you might want to perform these maneuvers at some point with these graphics, it is probably better to produce them outside of SmartArt. SmartArt: with ease of layout also come restricted formatting options.

SmartArt also offers conceptual diagrams that are also easy to lay out. But these diagrams have the same restrictions as the list option above. For example, the horizontal flow is easy to lay out. You can add sections or remove them easily.

The PowerFrameworks horizontal flows are developed to hold the maximum amount of text/content. We know that this is important to delivering a message effectively.

We also know that variations are important. The variations can be used as a consistent string or as interchangeable parts – very effective at delivering complex information.

Another example of PowerFrameworks variations that work for you are the pyramids, found in the Hierarchy category. The pyramid on the left is SmartArt from PowerPoint 2007. The pyramid on the right is a composite of three of the pyramid variations in series HI008. It's important to be able to split a level in certain instances. PowerFrameworks pyramids sets are drawn so that the levels can be interchanged easily and without sizing.

These are two examples of what appear to be an overlap or redundancy between PowerPoint 2007 and PowerFrameworks. As we pointed out, however, the functionality of the PowerFrameworks horizontal flows and pyramids is not redundant to what PowerPoint 2007 offers, but expanded.

3. Design Themes

We won't go into all the design theme variations. Suffice it to say that there are quite a few and they are powerful. They are of minimal value to companies that have established templates that are branded to other company marketing collateral. These templates usually (or they should) have a set color palette and a preferred formatting style. As always, be careful to stay within the presentation preferences established by your company. Therefore, be careful when working with design themes.

4. Data-driven chart worksheets

We have all felt constrained by Microsoft Graph. I'm not sorry to see it go. Having the power of Excel driving native charts in PowerPoint 2007 is a tremendous advantage. You will need to learn how to deal with the added capabilities, however. With advantages comes complexities sometimes, and this is one of those times. PowerFrameworks has converted the data-driven chart templates into PowerPoint 2007 format for you.

In addition to having enhanced computing power in the worksheet, you also have more design choices. You're going to be tempted to play around with all of the capabilities now at your fingertips. Be sure to put the consistency of your document ahead of any excitement you get at turning your stacked column charts into stacked tablets, etc.. Make these style choices on a broad scale instead of applying them inconsistently throughout your presentation.

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The PowerPoint 2007/PowerFrameworks resources are, indeed, a powerful combination. We have had a lot of fun first playing – and now working – with the new PowerPoint 2007 capabilities. As with any new resource, be sure to provide time to get up to speed with the new tools before you try to meet a deadline. Most of the keyboard commands are gone. Accessing the tools can be confusing at first, as they are organized differently on the ribbons – and they are not always visible.

While PowerFrameworks does not specifically provide PowerPoint tutorials for subscribers (there are so many of these resources available that we didn't think we could add anything different or better), there are helpful tips and explanations for making PowerFrameworks conceptual frameworks appear and function optimally within your presentations. Be sure to check the FAQs and tutorials for these helps.