What’s the point of PowerPoint online?

PowerPoint may be ‘great’ (ahem) for presentations, but it sucks big time online.

powerpoinit-badTime and time again, people hand me a presentation and expect me to just dump it online, as if a slideshow that takes 25 clicks to move through could interest anyone.

I think that if you want to present some content online to your people (via the intranet) you should just do so, cleanly and simply on the page. Hiding content on a multi-slide file and expecting people to click through it to get to your oh so important message is just dumb.

Here are the problems with providing PowerPoint files online.

  1. Even if you provide it as a .ppt (and not a .pps*) it may well open as a slideshow, which could take over the browser and break the back-button. People will find it hard to close and may well lose their place on the intranet or close down their browser completely in frustration.
  2. Once open, people may just press the ‘Save‘ button (and not the ‘Save As…‘ button and expect it to be saved to their desktop. It won’t be. Once the browser or file is closed the presentation seems to disappear without trace.
  3. When shown as a slideshow, any hyperlinks within are not generally clickable.
  4. Presentations are designed for just that, for presenting to a live audience and talked around – actively presented. Dumping the file on the intranet forgoes any discussion and explanation around the contents.
  5. Content is often quite ‘light’; 3 bullet points in a large font-size. The viewer is forced to click click click to move through the light content, or forced to wait each agonising pause while the ‘page transition’ slowly brings up the next slide.

Basically, PowerPoint presentations suck and have no detail and no context within them – that’s what the presenter adds. If you have content that was written into a presentation then it would have more impact and be immediately accessible if you simply turned it into a single web page.

My advice is to re-purpose the content and re-write it for online consumption. Copy all the content and paste it into Word / an RTF file and edit it and craft it into a full communication, with all the headings, background information and richness that any message deserves. And since 1993, web pages have even allowed images to be used, so don’t think that photograph of your team justifies using a PowerPoint file.


*PowerPoint Slide Show

  1. I have some reservations about this.

    Presentations can be a great way of improving your results in Google. Sites like SlideShare are so well ranked, for example, that you can use a presentation, furnished with a combination of keywords and tags, to drive traffic to your site/services.

    Of course, the presentation has to be pretty nifty in the first place.

  2. I’m with you on this one – most ppt’s are so dire anyway! One of the problems of the web is that it makes the act of publishing so easy that people often neglect to worry about the content!!!!


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