PowerPoint 2007 has many great features such as its enhanced picture effects, enhanced Presenter View, Selection Pane, Save as PDF file option, new shortcut keys (Paste Special = Ctrl + Alt + V), etc. There are some new features that I’m still not yet convinced that I like such as the Ribbon or SmartArt.
In addition to these notable enhancements, there were some features in PowerPoint 2003 that disappeared or changed in PowerPoint 2007 — but not for the better. Although I would recommend people upgrade to PowerPoint 2007 from PowerPoint 2003, I still have both versions on my work computer. I’ve identified six “missing in upgrade” (MIU) features that would push Chuck Norris and many PowerPoint ninjas over the edge.
1. Close Window button
One of the first missing things I noticed from PowerPoint 2007 was the ability to easily close a single PowerPoint file and not the entire application. For some reason, Microsoft decided to remove the Close Window button at the top-right of the application.
After mistakenly closing the entire application several times when I only wanted to close the current file, my new friend is the Ctrl + W keyboard shortcut, which closes the current window. It was interesting to see that Excel 2007 still has the Close Window button, but PowerPoint 2007 and Word 2007 don’t. So much for consistency within the Microsoft Office suite.
2. Freeform drawing changes
As I mentioned in a previous article, there are three annoying issues related to Freeform drawing in PowerPoint 2007. First, you can no longer use the Shift key to create truly horizontal or vertical lines. Second, random curves appear when you’re drawing which can disrupt your design process. Third, when you’re trying to do in-close minor edits to points and lines, they snap to the original position of the point or line. It is disappointing to say that it was easier to draw shapes in PowerPoint 2003 than it is in PowerPoint 2007.
3. Zoom-in screen focus
When you’re drawing, editing, or organizing objects, it can be helpful to zoom in close when you’re working on them. If you delete an object while you’re zoomed in close to your slide, you may find the focus of PowerPoint jump to the center of the screen. When you’re trying to work with several small objects, this unwanted behavior can be quite annoying.
Microsoft produced a hotfix to supposedly fix this problem. After installing it a couple of times, I wasn’t able to resolve the issue even though it appeared to work initially. I tried to determine if there was a certain threshold for the zoom when this issue would happen (e.g., >250% zoom), but my tests showed it could occur under various zoom ratios due to different circumstances (object size, object type, etc.).
4. Pattern fill
In previous versions of PowerPoint, you had the ability to add pattern fills to your objects. I wouldn’t say that I used this feature on a frequent basis, but it did come in handy in some cases. In PowerPoint 2007, the Pattern fill option has disappeared. Luckily, there is a workaround. Although the pattern fill option was removed from PowerPoint 2007, it wasn’t removed from Word 2007 (go figure). As a result, you can use the pattern fill in Word 2007 and then copy over the object into PowerPoint 2007. A little tedious but doable.
5. Curved arrows
In PowerPoint 2003, you would curve an arrow line shape by right-clicking on the arrow and editing its points. However, when you try to do this in PowerPoint 2007, you’ll notice there’s no option to edit the points of the arrow shape to curve or bend it. Microsoft decided to change the standard arrow line shape to a “connector-type” shape in PowerPoint 2007, which doesn’t allow you to edit points or give you the same level of control. If you would like to create a nice-looking curved arrow in PowerPoint 2007, I’ve prepared a how-to article on this topic.
6. Ungroup charts or graphs
In PowerPoint 2003, you were able to break apart or ungroup charts and graphs. You could then animate individual components of the charts for your presentation. In PowerPoint 2007, you can’t “ungroup” the graphs the same easy way as you did in PowerPoint 2003, and then you can only partially ungroup some of the charts.
If you want to ungroup a chart, you need to copy it (Ctrl + C) and then use Paste Special (Ctrl + Alt + V) to paste the chart as a Microsoft metafile or Enhanced metafile. You can then ungroup the metafile picture of the graph you just pasted. However, with bar charts for example, you will find that the bars are actually now a bitmap image which can’t be ungrouped. The bars would be the one essential part of the graph that I would actually want to ungroup, and now it is not possible.
What else is Missing in Upgrade?
Have you encountered a feature that is missing or significantly changed from PowerPoint 2003 to PowerPoint 2007? In the hopes that a Chuck Norris-like PowerPoint Product Manager reads this blog post and wants to stage a rescue attempt on the next version of PowerPoint, please feel free to comment on this article and add your MIUs to the list.