episode 34: Yes, PowerPoint Frustrates Us

Things that frustrate us about PowerPoint:


  • Sandy: We are limited to the fonts we can use in PowerPoint to assure presentation is seen as designed, and we cannot embed many fonts.
  • Nolan: Fonts are one of the biggest things holding PowerPoint back from being a true design program. Font replacement/removal, ie. single-byte vs. double byte, are bad tools in PowerPoint.
  • Troy: Fonts are bad, we cannot see if a font is installed on computer, cannot substitute fonts (single/double byte), cannot control substitute fonts used, cannot identify what substitute font is used.



  • Sandy: The animation ribbon. I hate that, even today, I end up accidentally deleting animations settings because I do not use ADD animation.
  • Nolan: No Mac timeline.
  • Troy: Animation could be such a better work flow, but it leaves everyone feeling like we are working in a broken environment.



  • Nolan: It’s an unsolved problem that goes back to PowerPoint 2007.
  • Sandy: When I turn over a template to a client, I almost always address the footer problem and how they can address it with their template and old slides.
  • Troy: Page numbers are such a problem for everyone that we include a troubleshooting and best practices info slide in every template we develop.



  • Sandy: The Mac and Windows versions still differences in the interface that frustrates me by slowing me down.
  • Nolan: Windows version has an animation timeline, and Mac version does not. The big inconsistencies have more to do with recent features that aren’t available on Mac (yet).
  • Troy: Video between the two is very different, from formats to recommend to how each version plays them, or exports a presentation to video.



  • Nolan: It’s difficult and non-intuitive to format charts and hold to best data design practices such as direct labeling of line charts, there’s a lack of certain advanced charts.
  • Sandy: A bug was recently uncovered where users would chance font sizes in a chart, close their file then reopen to find that fonts sizes had returned to.
  • Troy: the lack of ability to set a default chart style, or better, create a custom chart style if very frustrating.



  • Nolan: Can’t see changes in real-time (modal dialog), and the default line spacing options poor options.
  • Troy: A trained designer instantly dislikes the Microsoft Office  lines spacing defaults. Then instantly is frustrated when they attempt to format the line spacing across multiple lines of text in PowerPoint. Another frustration is attempting to format multiple column text boxes.



  • Troy: When printed, hidden slides are not marked as hidden.
  • Nolan: Bleed would be nice.
  • Sandy: I feel a lot of frustration could be avoided by starting a new file with an optional wizard; if this file for Print, Interactive, Presentation, etc.



  • Troy: .svg has very narrow parameters for use. Killing .eps is really frustrating.
  • Nolan: Compression is pretty poor tool. We are missing the ability to swap all instances of one image for another, and using image placeholders, and their auto cropping, is frustrating.
  • Sandy: Placeholders are too limited, as example, Content placeholders don’t work for imagery.



  • Troy: Cannot use format tools (eye dropper, format painter, add-ins) or expand/contract layouts to see just Masters, not the dozens of Master Layouts.
  • Nolan: We need a slide sorter view for masters.
  • Sandy: I wish there was a way to force slides to be attached to a Master.



  • Nolan: Some tabs don’t show enough (eg. animation), some show too much that’s extraneous (eg. design)
  • Troy: The QAT is a win. The monotone icons, except the new DRAW tab, are not.



  • Troy: Presenter View is lacking key features like; File name at the top, keyboard or scroll wheel scrolling of script text.
  • Nolan: More Customization of panels, working with the current styling options is frustrating.
  • Sandy: Scrolling the presenter notes, both an auto scroll and as Troy said, keyboard control to scroll presenter notes.


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