Tech Overlook

PowerPoint AI gets an upgrade and Designer surpasses a major milestone of 1 billion slides


Let’s face it—presentations can be stressful. You have a goal and you want to be successful, and that’s when the fear, stress, and discomfort becomes real. Are you ready? Will your presentation help you land your message? Can you deliver the presentation effectively and in a way that maximizes your success? These are all real emotions that many people face when tasked with a making a presentation.

A few years ago, the PowerPoint team took a bet on artificial intelligence (AI) and started the PowerPoint Designer effort. We aspired to help our customers overcome some of the fear around building an effective slide by offering up suggested slide designs. We started with making photo slides compelling, eventually adding capabilities around transforming text slides into their more visual—and hopefully impactful—counterparts like process diagrams and timelines. More recently, we started complementing text with iconography.

Today, we’re excited to share that not only have we hit a major milestone in PowerPoint Designer usage, we’re also announcing new Designer capabilities that suggests high quality content to jumpstart authoring and provides perspective suggestions for quantitative content. And yes, in a “but wait, there’s more” moment, we’re ready to share that our AI effort is moving beyond Designer—with our new Presenter Coach—intended to help our users build confidence in their presenting abilities.

Designer in PowerPoint crosses the 1 billion slides mark

Every day Designer offers up millions of slide suggestions to PowerPoint users. When someone chooses to insert a design suggestion, we know we’ve provided them value. In fact, the adoption rate of these slides has grown astronomically over the last few years, and in April 2019, we reached a major milestone of 1 billion slides created with Designer since launch!

Graph showing Designer momentum, 1 billion slides created since Designer's launch.

Building on our momentum, today we’re announcing several new capabilities in Designer that allow people in large enterprises, and small and medium-sized businesses, to use branded templates and support those who don’t have a branded template to get started quickly with theme ideas. These new capabilities are designed to help people make effective slides and presentations with minimal time and effort while staying in their creative flow.

Get intelligent design recommendations and stay on brand with Designer for branded templates

One of our biggest asks from customers has been to make Designer work seamlessly with a company’s branded templates. With the launch of Designer for branded templates, companies can now make sure the design recommendations people see meet their corporate branding and visual identity guidelines.

Shareable video.

When working with branded templates, Design Ideas that people see are created directly from the layouts in the Slide Master, using the content on the user’s slides. Designer’s AI chooses the most suitable layouts for the content, intelligently crops images, and automatically recommends relevant icons and pictures. Organizations can design their templates for optimal Designer support, broadening the choices available to their users.

In today’s fast-paced work environments, people are pressed for time, and AI-powered features like Designer help people create visually engaging and immersive presentations with only a few clicks. Now users can get this streamlined experience while working with their organizations’ templates, using branded layouts instead of needing to improvise. Designer for branded templates is currently available to Office 365 Insiders subscribers for Windows 10 and Mac.

Easily create beautiful decks from scratch with Designer theme ideas

For people who don’t have a branded template but want to get started quickly and easily, we’re introducing theme ideas in Designer. Now getting a presentation started is easier than ever. When you open a blank presentation and enter words onto the slide, Designer recommends a selection of new high quality photographs that reflect the slide text, along with theme styles and complementary colors. These photos are fully licensed for commercial use and are coupled with one of PowerPoint’s high quality themes and a corresponding color palette to easily create visually impactful presentations with minimal effort.

Animated image of Design Ideas in action.

Designer theme ideas is rolling out now in PowerPoint for Windows, Mac, and on the web for Office 365 subscribers.

Make data easily understood by adding Designer perspectives to your slides

Presenting data in slide decks can be challenging because people have difficulty conceptualizing large and unfamiliar measurements. Studies published by Microsoft Research have shown that adding relatable references for large numerical values makes information easier to understand and increases retention. That’s why we added this capability into PowerPoint Designer!

Animated image of Design Ideas in action.

Thanks to an integration with Microsoft Research’s Perspective Engine, Designer can now recognize when a slide contains a large number that might be difficult to interpret and put into context by automatically augmenting the text with a corresponding perspective. With the additions of perspectives, Designer makes numerical slides more digestible and helps presenters effectively convey their information. For example: The size of Afghanistan, which is 652,232 km², is hard to interpret, but adding that it’s “about equal to the size of Texas” makes it easily understandable. These relative measurements are now automatically surfaced in Designer.

Designer perspectives is currently rolling out to Office 365 subscribers. Designer perspectives is currently available for English only.

Nail your next presentation with Presenter Coach in PowerPoint for the web

From classrooms to boardrooms, our belief is that everyone can improve how they present. Training and feedback help people gain confidence and empower them to achieve their personal and professional goals. Over the last few years, we’ve received feedback from educators, students, and customers that people want an easy way to practice their presentations to improve their public speaking abilities.

Today, we’re announcing the upcoming availability of Presenter Coach in PowerPoint. Presenting in front of a live audience is a vital life skill. Based on academic research and field studies, we’ve integrated presentation best practices into Presenter Coach to help people give more effective presentations.

Shareable video.

This feature allows you to enter rehearsal mode and while speaking you receive on-screen guidance about pacing, inclusive language, use of filler words, and culturally insensitive phrases. It even lets you know when you’re just reading off the slide. At the end of each rehearsal session, a detailed report with metrics for additional practice is provided. Presenter Coach will be available on PowerPoint for the web later this summer.

We’re excited to release these new capabilities to our customers and look forward to your continued feedback to help us improve PowerPoint. Thanks for your help along our incredible journey.



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