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Less-Is-More Blog by Pierre Khawand

Why Upgrade to Office 2013? 4 Compelling Features You'll Want to Know

Posted by Pierre Khawand on Mon, Mar 25, 2013 @ 03:07 PM

describe the imageBy Eve Porcello

Eve will be presenting at our complimentary Lunch & Learn Webinar, Getting Started with Office 2013 and 365, Thursday, April 4 at noon PT. Register now for the free webinar!

With the release of the new Windows 8 operating system and the nonstop commercials for the Microsoft Surface tablet, Microsoft is making an aggressive bid to remain relevant in the increasingly complicated landscape of personal computing. Part of this push is the release of Office 2013, the latest version of the familiar Microsoft Office Suite. Each of the applications included have been through a major design overhaul, and all include a variety of new features that make them especially compatible with touch-friendly Windows 8.

MicrosoftOffice2013 365 People OnTheGoBut even with all of these changes, is it really worth it to upgrade to Office 2013? Below we’ll take a look at the key features that make an upgrade a compelling idea.

Cloud Compatibility

With Office 2013, Microsoft has made it possible to store and sync all of your documents across all of your Windows devices, so they can be accessed from anywhere.  All you need to do is save documents to your SkyDrive, and you can open and edit these from any of your Microsoft devices. Never again will you have to email yourself a document or risk having your work stuck on a faraway computer. Office 2013 is designed to cater more toward our connected world.

Rich Media Features

Throughout the suite of Microsoft Office 2013 products, there are a variety of new rich media options to make your documents, presentations, and other files more interactive and engaging. For example in PowerPoint, you can find and add photos from albums on Flickr, Facebook, and other online services without saving to your computer.

PDF to Word Doc Capabilities

Have you ever had to type out an entire PDF document because you needed to be able to edit it in Microsoft Word? In Office 2013, you’ll never have to suffer through this again. Word now does a great job of converting PDF files to Word format.

Flexible Pricing and Delivery

As is the case with most software nowadays, installing the software is as easy as a download. All versions of the new Microsoft Office are available via download instead of with clunky software installation disks. Versions include Office Home and Student ($139.99), Office Home and Business ($219.99), and Office Professional ($399.99).

In addition, Microsoft has offered Office 365 as a productivity and word processing option. Office 365 provides all of the Office Suite as apps and is purchased as a subscription of $99.99 a year. This option includes all of the Office apps and comes with 60 minutes of Skype calls per month.

What do you think about the upgrade? Share your thoughts below!

If you’d like more information on the features of Microsoft Office 2013 and 365 before you take the plunge, join us for our free Lunch & Learn Webinar on April 4 from noon to 12:40 PT. Reserve your webinar seat now!

Additional Resources

Topics: Microsoft PowerPoint Training, microsoft office 2013, Microsoft Word Training, Lunch & Learn Webinars, webinars

Death by PowerPoint? Three ways to revive your PowerPoint presentations!

Posted by Pierre Khawand on Wed, Jun 27, 2012 @ 08:58 PM

Who has not experienced the dreaded "death by PowerPoint"? Slide after slide loaded with text that is being ‘read’ by the presenter. We all dread it, but then when we are asked to create a PowerPoint presentation we fall into the same trap; or we go to the other extreme and create a presentation full of images, animations, and more information that any human mind can or would want to handle. Here are three ways in which you can keep your presentations alive and avoid death by PowerPoint: 

describe the imageFirst: Balance between presentation and interaction. Reduce the number of slides and increase the number of interactions. The slides serve as the anchor, but all the details can happen outside the slides, such as on the flip chart, through your own storytelling, and interactions with the audience. If you haven’t come across “graphic recording,” check out Visual Meetings by David Sibbet to learn about the art and science of graphic recording and how this can create engagements in meetings and beyond.

Second: Edit each slide so it is easy on the eye and on the brain. Follow the 3x5 rule with no more than 3 to 5 key points per slide and 3 to 5 key words per point. But of course you have a lot of valuable information to present, so how can you stick Insert Hyperlink in PowerPointto the 3x5 rule? There are ways to do so. One viable one is to have hyperlinks supporting documents and webpages. This allows you to dive into the details when the opportunity presents itself. The details are always a click away instead of being in the way.

Third: Add charts, graphics, and animations that are relevant, and omit the gimmicky stuff. A picture is worth a thousand words they say, but what they don’t tell you is that, GraphicsOverload People OnTheGoin a presentation, this is only true if the picture is relevant and is adding amazing value to the point that you’re trying to make. Otherwise, the picture, or graph, and especially the cute animation, can largely backfire and stand out as a big distraction and a barrier to your purpose.

What other methods have you used to avoid “death by PowerPoint"?

Additional Resources

Topics: Microsoft PowerPoint Training, Microsoft Office 2010

Accomplishing More With PowerPoint: Using SmartArt Graphics in Microsoft PowerPoint to enhance your presentation instead of hindering it!

Posted by Pierre Khawand on Thu, May 06, 2010 @ 04:54 PM

SmartArt graphics can be very effective and yet they can be overused or misused and therefore backfire instead of enhance your presentation.

Examples of good uses of SmartArt Graphics

This SmartArt Graphic (Continuous Block Process) clearly illustrates the sequential nature of these funding rounds:

PowerPoint tutorial SmartArt Graphic

The following SmartArt Graphic (Upward Arrow), which we use in our collaboration technologies workshops, shows the spectrum of purposes that one can have for one's blog.  The upward arrow depicts the increased value that blog authors can get from their blog as they start to move beyond publishing information into engaging and motivation their audiences:

PowerPoint Tutorial SmartArt Graphic

Example of not so good uses of SmartArt Graphics

This SmartArt Graphic here is ambiguous. It is not clear what the relationship is between People, Technology, and Process. The pyramid can be interpreted differently by different people. This will cause the viewer to have to think and make assumptions. As Steve Krug puts it in his book Don't Make Me Think, this will distract and confuse the user.

PowerPoint Tutorial SmartArt Graphic 

What do you think of this SmartArt Graphic?

PowerPoint Tutorial SmartArt Graphic

Do you have examples of SmartArt Graphics (or charts/visuals) that are well done and some that are not? E-mail them to training@people-onthego.com. We will collect them and publish the results in a future article.

Additional Resource


Topics: Microsoft Office 2007, Microsoft PowerPoint Training

Accomplishing More With PowerPoint: Don’t let your slide become a “brochure”! Eliminate the PowerPoint clutter!

Posted by Pierre Khawand on Mon, Jan 25, 2010 @ 07:24 AM

One thing we see often when we work with business professionals on their PowerPoint presentations is that the typical slide tries to tell too much. Their intentions are good but these intentions tend to backfire. They want to be complete, detailed, and accurate. They want to tell the whole story and not leave gaps. However this overwhelms the audience and causes them to "check out"! You probably heard about the death by PowerPoint.

When the audience are subjected to this slide, are they going to see the completeness, the details, and the accuracy. Unfortunately not! This is what the audience is more likely to see:

PowerPoint Slide

You lost them right away! And now you have to fight to win them back.
Here is one of approaches that we teach to help eliminate the PowerPoint clutter, avoid losing the audience, and get them curious and engaged instead. This approach is called "breaking down the content." Here are the related steps and a couple of illustrations below:

  1. Reduce the slide to the core messages; ideally 3 to 5 of them, expressed in 3 to 5 words each. Let us call this the "3x5" rule. This leaves the audience curious. It opens up the room for reflection and then conversation.
  2. If some of these core messages require additional details, create a separate slide for this core message, following the same rule (3x5 rule). However use these detailed slides if and when necessary; right when the situation calls for it.
  3. Balance between text and visuals, and select your visuals carefully. Visuals need to be relevant, simple, and clear. They should easily convey the point instead of making the audience think or wonder.

The reduced slide might look like this:

PowerPoint Slide Improved

The slide that expands on feature 1 might look like this:

PowerPoint Slide Details

Stay tuned for more PowerPoint and presentation tips this week, including the complimentary lunch & learn webinar about Microsoft PowerPoint 2007 Techniques this Thursday January 28, 2010.

Topics: Microsoft Office 2007, Microsoft PowerPoint Training