Without labouring the ribbon interface too much, as its principals have been covered in some depth in previous articles in this series and in plenty of places elsewhere, its use does make far more tools directly available, without your having to plough through many levels of menu choices.
The Home tab alone offers direct access to font and paragraph settings for the text on slides and simple tools for drawing graphics. The Design tab has enough room to show a good range of the Themes - predefined slide designs and colour schemes - available to quickly develop good-looking slides, without having to worry about where to position every word and bullet.
Other tabs provide access to viewing and reviewing tools, controlling slide shows themselves and adding transitions between individual slides. Microsoft has lumped together slide transitions and on-slide animations , and headed the whole tab Animations.
If you have trouble readjusting from the interface of PowerPoint 2003 or any earlier versions to PowerPoint 2007, you'll find the Interactive PowerPoint 2003 to PowerPoint 2007 command reference guide helpful. This is an online reference, where you can discover the new locations of the old commands you've grown to know and love. Type in the name of the command or menu option you're trying to locate and this reference shows you the equivalent in the new application.
Presentation programs and publication programs have many things in common and one of these is the ability to pull together media from many sources. Text may come from Word documents, graphics from specialist vector-design programs or be created within the application itself, and photos can come from a variety of sources, in a number of formats.
Additionally, charts and fancy text are available in both PowerPoint and Publisher and both programs are particularly good at combining all types of content on the page, whether that's an electronic or printed page. PowerPoint includes new SmartArt and WordArt tools, too, which make adding diagrams and charts particularly easy.