PowerPoint was developed by Dennis Austin and Thomas Rudkin at Forethought Inc. It was to be called Presenter, but the name was not changed because of trademark problems. In 1987, the name was changed to PowerPoint.
In August 1987, Microsoft bought Forethought for $14 million and turned it into its graphics business unit, where the company continued to develop the software. The first version was launched along with Windows 3.0 in 1990. The sliders could only be moved in one direction - forward - and the customization options were quite limited.
Although at the very beginning it was designed only for Macintosh computers, PowerPoint quickly became one of the most iconic trademarks and Microsoft's first major acquisition. Even today, it holds up to 95% of the presentation software market share.
PowerPoint allows users to create media-rich presentations consisting of a series of slides. Since it is fully integrated with the other tools in the Microsoft Office suite, users can import content created with Excel or Word into PowerPoint, as well as other media such as photos, audio and video clips.
To create slides, a series of templates are used to provide the user with predefined layouts for different purposes. Once the theme that will be used in the presentation is set by defining a default font, background color, and layout, that slide is saved as the "master slide. The user can either change every other slide accordingly, or edit the master slide to implement the change uniformly on all other slides.
During a PowerPoint presentation, the presenter has the freedom to set the pace by controlling the flow manually or by having the slides change at preset intervals, which can also be different for each slide. Individual elements on a slide can also appear after a certain command is given, such as bullets or videos.
PowerPoint underwent a very significant change in PowerPoint 97, adding predefined transition effects and allowing the user to set them at the appropriate time so that slides would transition automatically. This allowed a presenter to follow a predefined progression and continue the presentation without pausing to change or read the slides. PowerPoint 2007 introduced the "ribbon" interface; a drastic change from the previous interface style.
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