Microsoft boosts is AI offering for PowerPoint

There’s nothing worse than a lifeless, bland PowerPoint presentation, and to celebrate PowerPoint Designer hitting one billion slides designed, Microsoft has announced a whole slew of new features for its little AI presentation helper.

First up is one of the “biggest asks from customers”: Designer will now work seamlessly with a company’s branded templates. That means that Designer’s AI will step in to help pick the most suitable layout for content, intelligently crop images and recommend pictures and icons to make presentations pop.

For those without a branded template, Designer will now help you come up with theme ideas even with a blank canvas. From the moment you start entering words on your first slide, Designer will pop up with a number of design ideas for you to implement or reject. Handily, the “high quality photographs” Designer recommends have all been fully licenced for commercial use, giving you one less thing to think about as you work on your pitch.

Related: Office 2019 vs Office 365

Lastly, Designer will now offer perspective to data. So if you type that an aeroplane flies at 30,000 feet, Designer might suggest adding that 30,000 feet is around the same height as Mount Everest. The idea is to help you add a bit more colour to a stat-heavy presentation, but as ever, you’re completely free to ignore Designer’s suggestions if they don’t chime with your intended tone.

Of course, it’s no good having a beautiful visual display if your human presentational style feels flat, lifeless and boring, so Microsoft has one more feature to demonstrate: Presenter Coach. This will offer insights into your presentation, giving feedback on “pacing, inclusive language, use of filler words, and culturally insensitive phrases,” according to Microsoft.

“It even lets you know when you’re just reading off the slide,” Microsoft explains. “At the end of each rehearsal session, a detailed report with metrics for additional practice is provided.”

Related: Best laptops

It’ll be available on PowerPoint for the web this summer. Hopefully you don’t have any daunting presentations coming up before then…

PowerPoint users: are these features gimmicks or gamechangers? Let us know on Twitter: @TrustedReviews.

Unlike other sites, we thoroughly review everything we recommend, using industry standard tests to evaluate products. We’ll always tell you what we find. We may get a commission if you buy via our price links. Tell us what you think – email the Editor