Learn PowerPoint

A Comprehensive Guide to Start Learning PowerPoint

PowerPoint is an application used to create slideshows. As part of the Microsoft Office software family, PowerPoint is used by professionals across industries to design and give presentations, often for meetings and classes.

Master Microsoft PowerPoint, the most commonly used presentation software in professional industries. This guide provides insights into the versatility of PowerPoint, the types of careers that commonly utilize it, and how you can learn this essential tool.

Key Insights

  • Microsoft PowerPoint is a ubiquitous presentation design application used in nearly all professional settings, making it a valuable skill for anyone planning to work in an office or professional context.
  • PowerPoint is not just for live presentations. It also assists in organizing and archiving important information, making it an integral tool in managing workplace policies, procedures, and important data.
  • PowerPoint is used across a range of careers, including teaching, human resources, and business analysis, among others. It may not be the primary tool in these roles, but it proves invaluable in many professional contexts.
  • Various methods are available to learn PowerPoint, ranging from live training courses and asynchronous courses to free tutorials. Noble Desktop’s Classes Near Me Tool can help you find and compare various PowerPoint courses.
  • PowerPoint's user-friendly interface makes it relatively easy to learn, even for new users. Advanced program features, such as integrating tables or Excel data, importing multimedia content, or learning design and composition can be more challenging but achievable with proper training.
  • While there are no set prerequisites for learning PowerPoint, basic knowledge of computers is necessary. Students may need to purchase Microsoft Office 365 to get access to PowerPoint, with the cost ranging from a monthly subscription fee of approximately seven dollars to a one-time purchase fee of around 150 dollars.

PowerPoint is the presentation design application used in almost every professional context. Given its ubiquity, anyone planning to work in an office or professional setting can benefit from learning PowerPoint to communicate and archive information more effectively. If you’ve always wanted to learn PowerPoint but can’t figure out how to get started, this guide is for you. Here, you’ll learn more about the various ways to learn PowerPoint, free resources to take advantage of, and the types of careers that commonly use PowerPoint.

What is PowerPoint?

Microsoft PowerPoint is the most commonly used presentation software across almost all professional industries. PowerPoint is one of the most important parts of Microsoft’s Office 365 programs, alongside Word and Excel. PowerPoint lets users easily create vibrant and memorable presentations that quickly communicate meaning in a professional setting. Users can add animations, transitions, graphics, and other imagery to their slides, ensuring they produce both communicative and impressive presentations for their audience.

PowerPoint is a slideshow editing tool built to give users the tools they need to organize information, communicate effectively, and produce presentations to deliver through live address or without a presenter. PowerPoint makes the job easier and more efficient, whether you manage important information in advance of a meeting, prepare a sales pitch to a potential client, or compile important workplace policies and procedures in a single place. This versatility has made PowerPoint an industry-standard tool in almost all professional contexts.

Read more about what PowerPoint is and why you should learn it.

What Can You Do with PowerPoint?

PowerPoint allows users to create vibrant and memorable visual presentations that can serve a wide variety of purposes. PowerPoint’s advanced features let users integrate dynamic animations and 3D modeled graphics into their designs, allowing them to create more complex presentations than simple text projected onto a screen. Whether you are attempting to keep an audience engaged during a critical seminar or make a sales pitch as memorable as possible, PowerPoint gives you the tools to wow your audience.

Some users will use PowerPoint to create informative slideshows that condense complicated information into a single, easy-to-digest presentation. This makes the program ideal for both instructors and professionals looking to host informational seminars regularly. In fact, many online classes you take will use PowerPoint to provide students with the main takeaways from a lecture. Some users, who need to persuade audiences, such as entrepreneurs meeting with potential investors, will use PowerPoint to create memorable and persuasive presentations that convince their audience to invest in their product.

Careers that Use PowerPoint

Despite PowerPoint being ubiquitous in the professional world, there aren’t many jobs that strictly rely on PowerPoint or use it as a primary design tool. Instead, a wide variety of professionals utilize PowerPoint in a case-by-case capacity. Teachers will use it to build presentations, HR reps will compile important information for new hires, and Business Analysts will use it to condense information for stakeholders. Knowing PowerPoint won’t be enough to get a student a job on its own, but it will be a valuable tool in almost all professional settings. Just a few common professional uses include:

Leading Important Seminars: PowerPoint helps employees who need to communicate important information to co-workers or subordinates regularly. New hires will need to periodically receive large amounts of information in a professional office setting, so learning PowerPoint is helpful for any employee. Teachers and Educators will also regularly use PowerPoint to provide their students and clients with slides highlighting the critical information given to them.

Communicating with Stakeholders: Anyone leading a design project, working with investors, or handling large amounts of data can benefit from learning PowerPoint to quickly highlight essential data that they want to communicate with stakeholders. An investment meeting may require that presenters condense hundreds of pages of business data into a few slides, or a pitch meeting might require a presenter to quickly and effectively hook their audience. The skills associated with PowerPoint will significantly help these presenters persuade and update their audiences.

Compiling Information: Not all uses of PowerPoint involve live presentations. With the ability to record presentations for later use, some professionals will use PowerPoint to collect information for audiences with whom they will never directly interact. This is especially important for asynchronous meetings and seminars, where presenters can record a PowerPoint presentation to replace a more complicated video recording. In addition, some professionals will use PowerPoint to archive and organize important information into slides to distribute to employees without ever ‘presenting’ them, such as offices organizing policies or educators providing students with contact information.

Why Learn PowerPoint?

PowerPoint is a useful application to learn for workers in almost any professional business setting. Learning PowerPoint will help professionals communicate information in practical and manageable ways, freeing them up to put their energy into more pressing concerns. PowerPoint is an incredibly versatile tool, so its uses will vary depending on a user’s individual needs. Still, almost anyone who needs to communicate with large groups of people will benefit from learning how to use PowerPoint.

For some users, PowerPoint will complement live presentations by condensing important information they may miss. Many audience members may find it challenging to follow a presenter who is only speaking aloud. Knowing how to use PowerPoint will let users ensure that their most important information is understood. For other users, PowerPoint will let them condense vital information to be easily understood and accessed even without a live presenter. This is ideal for compiling stylesheets, company policies, important links, phone numbers, or other information someone may need to reference in a professional setting.

Read more about why you should learn PowerPoint.

How to Learn PowerPoint

Students looking to learn how to use PowerPoint have many options available. Students can opt to take a live training course, in person or online, or they can enroll in an asynchronous course. There are also free tutorials and training options available, so students should carefully consider their options to decide which method of learning PowerPoint is best for them. Noble Desktop’s Classes Near Me Tool is an ideal place to look to find and compare available PowerPoint courses.

Many students find that live instruction is the most effective way to learn skills like PowerPoint. These courses let students interact directly with live instructors who can provide feedback and answer questions. These courses are available both in-person and online, giving students additional flexibility in learning PowerPoint. In these classes, students will receive hands-on training in PowerPoint design, making the classes ideal for students hoping to quickly pick up the necessary skills to start using PowerPoint professionally. These courses require students to attend live instruction seminars, which may burden students with minimal free time. In addition, in-person classes will require students to commute to a campus or training center, whereas online instruction will likely require students to obtain PowerPoint.

Students looking for more flexibility in the pace and structure of their learning may want to consider enrolling in an on-demand course. These classes, which often consist of pre-recorded lectures and structured modules, let students control the time they spend learning new skills. This can be especially useful for students who have work or family obligations that prevent them from devoting consistent time to their studies. The drawback to these classes is that students won’t have access to a live instructor, so they won’t have someone to answer their questions or provide feedback on their designs.

A final option available to students is free training tutorials. These tutorials, most often video productions, will guide students through the basic features of PowerPoint and commonly used design principles. On their official YouTube channel, Noble Desktop provides students with a free seminar on PowerPoint Presentation Design. This lecture will help students understand fundamental visual design elements used to make memorable presentations. Noble also offers frequently updating resources on their free seminars page, so students should check in regularly to see the available options. These resources may not be enough to learn how to use PowerPoint professionally, but they are an ideal place to start.

Read the full guide on how to learn PowerPoint.

Free Introductory PowerPoint Course Online 

For students who aren’t ready to enroll in a PowerPoint bootcamp or who just want to learn the basics of the program, free introductory resources may be an ideal place to start. Noble Desktop provides students with a free PowerPoint Presentation Design seminar in which students will learn the fundamental theories of design that go into creating evocative and memorable presentations. No one wants their presentations to bore audiences, and this seminar is designed to ensure that students have the skills required to keep audiences engaged.

Other service providers, such as Udemy and Coursera, offer additional free introductory courses teaching students how to use PowerPoint to design presentations. These courses won’t provide comprehensive skills training, but they are ideal places to start learning the basics of PowerPoint. In addition, Microsoft offers students with free training tutorials on subjects ranging from PowerPoint templates to using 3D models in a presentation.

Read about more free PowerPoint videos and online tutorials.

Level of Difficulty, Prerequisites, & Cost 

PowerPoint is a relatively lightweight program that is easy to understand and use. New users can pick up the basic functionalities of the program relatively easily. However, more advanced program features, such as integrating tables and Excel data or importing multimedia content into a PowerPoint presentation, can be more challenging to learn. Students learning PowerPoint will also likely want design and composition training, which some students find more challenging than learning technical skills.

There are no set prerequisites for learning PowerPoint. Students will need basic knowledge of computers, and they will need to have a system that can run PowerPoint. For more advanced PowerPoint skills training, students may need to learn how to use Microsoft Excel.

While there are several professional and educational routes to acquiring Microsoft Office 365 for free, new PowerPoint users may need to obtain the Office suite. There is a free trial of the program available, though once it has expired, new users can expect to need to purchase a full license. There is currently no way to purchase PowerPoint separately from the other Microsoft 365 programs. Users will either need to pay a monthly subscription fee of about seven dollars to access the program's premium version or a one-time purchase fee of about 150 dollars to access the classic Office programs. 

Read about how difficult it is to learn PowerPoint.

How Does Learning PowerPoint Compare to Other Applications/Languages/Fields?

The most comparable alternatives to PowerPoint are its largest market competitors, Google Slides and Prezi. Both of these are free presentation design applications with significant browser-based functionalities. Having been developed well after PowerPoint established its stranglehold on the presentation design application market, these programs exist primarily as responses to PowerPoint, attempting to include features that PowerPoint lacks.

The most prominent advantage to these programs is that they are either free or have fully-functional free versions. Prezi has a free version available to users who only plan to produce basic presentations, and Google Slides is free to any user with a Google account. This makes them ideal tools for presenters who don’t feel the need to purchase a monthly Office subscription to continue their work. In addition, since these programs aren’t coming directly from Microsoft, many Mac users find that they are easier to use on their devices.

The drawback to either of these programs is that even though they are competitors to PowerPoint, Microsoft still boasts a nearly 95% market share across many professional industries, mostly because of PowerPoint's Office 365 integration. Any company using Word or Excel will be using PowerPoint alongside those programs. This means there is no choice but PowerPoint for students looking to learn a presentation application to use in their daily professional lives.

How to Decide the Best Way to Learn PowerPoint

Students must consider their goals and learning styles with the many different ways to approach a PowerPoint education. Some students may find that they need a lot of PowerPoint training, while others may discover that an accelerated training program is the best fit for them.

Students who want to receive intensive training in PowerPoint will want to consider a certificate-granting training program, like the PowerPoint Bootcamp offered by Noble Desktop. These courses are built with professionally-focused students in mind and aim to teach students all the advanced skills they will need to use PowerPoint in their daily careers. They are for students who plan to use PowerPoint regularly for building complex presentations.

Students who feel they need to know more in-depth PowerPoint skills but do not regularly use the program's advanced features may want to consider a shorter skills training program, like Noble’s PowerPoint Level 1 course. This class will give students an introduction to the basic elements of building a PowerPoint presentation, such as adding images and animations to a presentation or utilizing graphs and charts. Students can also take their knowledge from this course and enroll in PowerPoint Level 2 to spread out the training they would receive in the PowerPoint Bootcamp.

PowerPoint novices, particularly those who don’t imagine that they will be using the program regularly or in high-stakes presentations, may want to consider a free online tutorial, such as Noble’s PowerPoint Presentation Design seminar. In classes like this, students will receive free training in the basic functions and design theories that go into building a compelling PowerPoint presentation. While these courses won’t cover enough information for students who regularly need to use PowerPoint, they are ideal places to start one’s PowerPoint training.

Learn PowerPoint with Hands-on Training at Noble Desktop

Professionals looking to learn PowerPoint may consider skills development training through Noble Desktop. These courses, available in person at Noble’s Manhattan campus and through live online instruction, will give students hands-on training in designing and organizing information using PowerPoint. These courses, which expert instructors teach, will provide students with the experience needed to build evocative and memorable presentations. Even in online courses, class sizes are kept small, so students can interface directly with their instructor to receive assistance and feedback. Plus, Noble offers free retakes on all its courses, giving students more opportunities to practice building presentations in a professional environment.

Noble offers a PowerPoint Bootcamp, which teaches students, even those without prior PowerPoint experience, how to design compelling and evocative presentations. In this certificate-granting program, students will learn how to work with PowerPoint layouts, add animations and graphics, and work with layers, charts, graphs, and other objects. Then, students will receive advanced skills training, such as creating reusable PowerPoint templates, utilizing multimedia features in a presentation, and recording a presentation for later use. These skills will take students from novices to PowerPoint experts and prepare them to use the program professionally.

Since PowerPoint is a design program, Noble also offers students a PowerPoint Presentation Design course. This class focuses on the rhetorical and theoretical side of communicating through PowerPoint. In this class, students will learn design principles related to color, typography, graphic images, and other visual design elements. Whereas a bootcamp course teaches students how to use the tool to build presentations, this course will teach students how to design them, giving them the composition and design theories they need to make their presentations memorable and effective.

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