Blog > The History and Evolution of PowerPoint

The History and Evolution of PowerPoint

04.20.20   •  #ppt #history #versions.

On April 20, 1987, the first version of PowerPoint was released. Because we love the software so much (and we know many of you readers do, too!), we wanted to celebrate PowerPoint’s 33rd birthday with a whole article dedicated to its origins, history, and use cases! 95% of presentations are created with PowerPoint, 30 Million PowerPoint presentations are given everyday, and 500 million people all over the world are using the software. So without further ado, let’s dive into the success story of PowerPoint - with the early beginnings and the development throughout the different versions (except for version 13, which was skipped due to triskaidekaphobia concerns ).

Timeline & Version History

5. july 1984: the idea was created.

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

Robert Gaskins was hired by Forethought Inc. as vice president of product development. His task was to create a new software for graphical personal computers like Microsoft Windows and Apple Macintosh. Already 1 month later, Gaskins came up with the idea of PowerPoint. Back then, the project description was labeled as "Presentation Graphics for Overhead Projection". For the next year they continued to work on the first specification of the software.

November 1984: Start of development

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

Development officially started under the name "Presenter". However, they started to work on the Macintosh version first. The first developer besides Gaskin was Thomas Rudkin, who joined after 6 months.

January 1987: Funding by Apple

To continue development, the team needed more money. Apple's Strategic Investment Group selected the company for its first investment. One month later, when they announced the software at the Personal Computer Forum in Phoenix, famous Apple CEO John Skully reportedly said "We see desktop presentation as potentially a bigger market for Apple than desktop publishing".

21. January 1987: The name PowerPoint was established

Originally, they chose to keep the name "Presenter" for the final software. However, to everyone's surprise, when they tried to register the trademark, their lawyers replied that the name was already used by another software product. The team had to find a new name quickly and thought about "SlideMaker" and "OverheadMaker". According to Gaskins, one night he came up with "Power point" randomly under the shower. Initially, nobody liked it, but when his colleague Glenn Hobin independently had the same idea (he saw a sign on an airport reading "POWER POINT"), they took it for an omen and stuck with the name. The reason why the name now is a single word with an upper-case P is that back then it was required in the naming of all Macintosh software applications. The common belief that PowerPoint got its name because it "empowers" people is therefore wrong.

20. April 1987: PowerPoint 1.0 (Macintosh)

The first 10.000 copies of the first version of PowerPoint for Macintosh shipped from manufacturing by Forethought Inc. The release was received quite well by the media, commenting it "People will buy a Macintosh just to get access to this product."

July 1987: Acquisition by Microsoft

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

In early 1987 Microsoft started an internal project to develop a software to "create presentations". Shortly after, they heard that a company called Forethought had nearly finished such a software. The successful release of PowerPoint 1.0 convinced Microsoft to buy the company entirely.

May 1988: PowerPoint 2.0 (Macintosh)

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

One year later, the second version of the software was introduces. It included color, more word processing features, find and replace, spell checking, color schemes for presentations, guide to color selection, ability to change color scheme retrospectively, shaded coloring for fills.

May 1990: First Windows version of PowerPoint

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

Almost 3 years later, the presentation software was finally released for Windows PCs. It was announced at the same time as Windows 3.0 and was using the same version number as the current Macintosh variant (2.0).

May & September 1990: PowerPoint 3.0

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

It was the first application designed exclusively for the new Windows 3.1 platform. New features were: full support for TrueType fonts (new in Windows 3.1), presentation templates, editing in outline view, new drawing, including freeform tool, flip, rotate, scale, align, and transforming imported pictures into their drawing primitives to make them editable, transitions between slides in slide show, incorporating sound and video.

February & October 1994: PowerPoint 4.0

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

The new version included among others: Word tables, rehearsal mode, hidden slides. Moreover, Microsoft first introduced a standard "Microsoft Office" look and feel (shared with Word and Excel), with status bar, toolbars and tooltips.

July 1995: PowerPoint 95 (new version naming)

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

To align PowerPoint with all other Office applications, Microsoft decided to skip versions 5 and 6 and instead call it PowerPoint 95.

October 2003: PowerPoint 2003

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

The 2003 version was the first to include the now called "Presenter View": tools visible to presenter during slide show (notes, thumbnails, time clock, re-order and edit slides). Furthermore, it included an option to "Package for CD" to write presentation and viewer app to a CD.

January 2007: PowerPoint 2007

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

It brought a new user interface (a changeable "ribbon" of tools across the top to replace menus and toolbars), SmartArt graphics, many graphical improvements in text and drawing, improved "Presenter View" and widescreen slide formats. Another major change was the transition from a binary file format, used from 1997 to 2003, to a new XML file format.

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

June 2010: PowerPoint 2010

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

This release added: sections within presentations, a reading view, save as video, insert video from web, embedding video and audio as well as enhanced editing for video and for pictures.

October 2012: PowerPoint for Web was released

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

The first time ever, the presentation software could be used in your web browser without any installation.

January 2013: PowerPoint 2013

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

Changes: online collaboration by multiple authors, user interface redesigned for multi-touch screens, improved audio, video, animations, and transitions, further changes to Presenter View. Clipart collections (and insertion tool) were removed, but were available online.

July 2013: First PowerPoint app for Android & iPhone

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

Finally the famous presentation software came on your mobile device with the first versions for Android and iOS. Giving presentations but as well basic editing of slides was already supported on the small screens. However, there wasn’t an iPad optimized version just yet.

September 2015: PowerPoint 2016

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

September 2018: PowerPoint 2019

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

New things in 2019: Morph transition, easily remove image backgrounds, inserting 3D models and SVG icons and a handy Zoom feature.

Are you interested in even more details on the story? You're lucky! Robert Gaskins gave an interview at the 25th anniversary of PowerPoint where he reveals even more on the history of the famous presentation software.

Modern use cases of PowerPoint

Most people use PowerPoint mainly for creating presentations, but did you know that there are many other ways of using the software? PowerPoint is not just for presenting plain slides to your audience - it can do much more - here are some interesting use cases you might not know about:

Games are a great way to lighten the mood during a presentation. Also, they engage the audience. Memory, Charades, or PowerPoint Karaoke - your options are endless! You can choose whatever suits your own presentation style and preference. If you don’t feel like thinking of games yourself, check out the best PowerPoint Games article , where you will get a lot of inspiration, creative game ideas and even a Memory template.

The times of boring, uninspired PowerPoint slides are long gone! Instead, we want to see interactive elements that engage the audience in new, exciting ways! Add Q&A sessions, get your audience’s feedback, share media and capture your audience with stories and unexpected elements! If you want to learn more about audience engagement and interaction, check out our blog post on 10 tools to boost Audience Engagement ! (Also, if you want to save time and energy, you can download SlideLizard , which allows you to create polls, do Q&A sessions, share media and slides and get audience feedback - all in one place!).

Quizzes are extremely popular, and you can create them easily with PowerPoint. We promise that your audience will love them! You can even take your quiz to the next level by matching the design of your quiz to popular quiz shows, like "Who wants to be a Millionaire" (actually, we designed a Who wants to be a Millionaire template with the original design and sound effects so you don’t have to do it yourself). Our advice for quizzes: Use a PowerPoint add-on that allows you to do live quizzes, like SlideLizard . That way you can easily let your audience vote via their smartphones or laptops.

Do you know the struggle of talking in front of a shy audience that doesn’t seem to open up? If you do, you’re definitely not alone: many presenters have to cope with this issue everyday. But there’s good news: By using some icebreaker questions at the beginning of your presentation, you can - well - break the ice. From "How are you feeling today" to "What would your superpower be" you could ask anything, really. Especially funny icebreaker questions (e.g. "Have you ever…?") are known to be very effective. You could even do more than one of these questions in the beginning (to be sure the ice is really broken). We've created a list of 20 great icebreaker questions , which you can use as inspiration.

Common struggles

PowerPoint is easy and intuitive to use - which is the reason why it has become the most used presentation software in the first place. However, there are several little struggles users sometimes have to deal with. They are all easy to solve though, and we will show you how.

Sometimes, the wrong language is set in the beginning, or you would simply like to add another language to your existing one. You can easily change that in the settings. In our blog post, you will get a detailed tutorial on how to install a new language pack and switch to your desired language .

Occasionally, PowerPoint files can get really big in file size. The reason for that are usually pictures or videos within the slides. To save a lot of storage space, you can compress your PowerPoint’s file size (without losing quality!). To learn how to do it, read this detailed step-by-step tutorial on reducing PPT file size .

This problem occurs often: You design a perfect presentation with custom fonts on your computer at home, but once you want to give that presentation on a different computer, all your beautiful custom fonts are gone and replaced with default fonts. That’s really annoying, but can be solved by embedding fonts into your .pptx file .

Templates are so useful, as they save so much time. The sad thing is that not that many people actually use them. We want to contribute to changing that by teaching you how to make your own custom design template for PowerPoint . And if you don’t feel like creating a template yourself, you can download one of ours for free:

  • the wonderful Blue Alps template
  • the simplistic Elegant Architecture template
  • the fresh Caribbean template to get that summer holiday feeling

When was PowerPoint created?

The idea of PowerPoint came up in 1984. In the following years, development started under the name "Presenter". In 1987, the first version of PowerPoint for Macintosh was released. The first Windows release followed in 1990.

When did PowerPoint come out?

The first version of PowerPoint for Macintosh came out on April 20, 1987. The initial Windows version followed 3 years later, in May 1990.

Who created / invented / developed PowerPoint?

Robert Gaskins is one of the inventors of PowerPoint. He developed the first version with the help of his colleagues at Forethought Inc., Dennis Austin and Thomas Rudkin. Microsoft bought the company in 1987.

How old is PowerPoint?

The first version of PowerPoint was released on April 20, 1987, which means that PowerPoint celebrates its 33rd birthday in 2020. However, it was for Macintosh only, the Windows version was release in May 1990.

When did PowerPoint become popular?

According to Google Trends, PowerPoint had its peak in popularity in November 2009 (measured by number of searches). However, PowerPoint was already a popular presentation software in the 1990s.

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

Related articles

About the author.

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

Pia Lehner-Mittermaier

Pia works in Marketing as a graphic designer and writer at SlideLizard. She uses her vivid imagination and creativity to produce good content.

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

Get 1 Month for free!

Do you want to make your presentations more interactive.

With SlideLizard you can engage your audience with live polls, questions and feedback . Directly within your PowerPoint Presentation. Learn more

SlideLizard

Top blog articles More posts

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

How to mask images to crop to shape in PowerPoint

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

Create advanced Chart Animations in PowerPoint

SlideLizard Live Polls

Get started with Live Polls, Q&A and slides

for your PowerPoint Presentations

The big SlideLizard presentation glossary

.ppt file extension.

A .ppt file is a presentation which was made with PowerPoint, that includes different slides with texts, images and transition effects.

Asynchronous Learning

Asynchronous Learning means that the learning is time-shifted. The communication between student and teacher are time-delayed.

Co-located Audience

Co-located Audience means that the speaker talks to the audience in person. It is used verbal and non-verbal methods to communicate a message. The speaker makes gestures with their hands, changes their face expression and shows images.

A webinar is a seminar that takes place in a specific digital location at a specific time. It's a seminar that combines live and online formats.

Be the first to know!

The latest SlideLizard news, articles, and resources, sent straight to your inbox.

- or follow us on -

We use cookies to personalize content and analyze traffic to our website. You can choose to accept only cookies that are necessary for the website to function or to also allow tracking cookies. For more information, please see our privacy policy .

Cookie Settings

Necessary cookies are required for the proper functioning of the website. These cookies ensure basic functionalities and security features of the website.

Analytical cookies are used to understand how visitors interact with the website. These cookies help provide information about the number of visitors, etc.

A Brief History of Microsoft PowerPoint: Origination & Where it Is Today

  • John Hewitt
  • Categories : Collaboration , Business
  • Tags : Office collaboration topics collaboration tools

A Brief History of Microsoft PowerPoint: Origination & Where it Is Today

Next Slide!

Before Powerpoint came along, anyone who wanted a visual aid for their presentation would have to spend substantial amounts of time either scrawling on a board of some sort or in creating transparencies or slides to transmit information. Although Powerpoint has been maligned by some for encouraging lazy speaking styles, the alternative is much worse. It saves millions of man-hours every year that would otherwise be spent cleaning boards off or switching slides.

The first version of Powerpoint - first called Presenter, but later renamed because of copyright issues - was developed by Bob Gaskins and Dennis Austin, a University of California-Berkeley PhD student in 1984. The startup he worked for at the time was acquired by Microsoft soon after in 1987, and the first version of the software under the Microsoft banner was released for Windows 3.0 in 1990. When Microsoft purchased it, Powerpoint was already a mass success, selling more on its first day of release for the Macintosh OS than any other program in history at the time.

Powerpoint integrated the use of graphics and animations early on in its development, with more recent versions allowing the user to embed entire videos. The most effective Powerpoint presentations are used to highlight important points in a presentation, rather than to have the presenter simply read off of the slide. It’s also very useful for presenting graphs and other visual data representations. As the software package became more popular, a market for specialized projection equipment grew up along side it, making it so that Powerpoint would be used for more than just creating slides and transparencies.

Unlike most of the other software products that have made their way into the Office suite, Powerpoint has never had significant market competition. Hypercard for the Macintosh was used for presentations in fair numbers, but never approached Powerpoint in terms of market penetration for professional users. That software package was discontinued in the mid-1990s.

Version History

  • 1988 Powerpoint Version 1
  • 1990 Powerpoint Version 2
  • 1993 Powerpoint Version 3
  • 1994 Powerpoint Version 4
  • 1995 Powerpoint 95
  • 1997 Powerpoint 97
  • 1999 Powerpoint 2000
  • 2001 Powerpoint 2002
  • 2003 Powerpoint 2003
  • 2007 Powerpoint 2007

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

Microsoft 365 Life Hacks > Presentations > Presenting: PowerPoint, a retrospective

Presenting: PowerPoint, a retrospective

The world’s most popular presentation software (with up to 95% market share today) had humble beginnings when it was introduced in 1987. Back then, Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” was topping the charts, people were lining up to see The Princess Bride, and computers were evolving new capabilities in displaying colorful graphics — forever changing the way we interact with our digital assistants, as well as each other.

A person making a presentation

As Microsoft 365 celebrates ten years of Office apps on the cloud, let’s take a look at the history of PowerPoint , one of the cornerstones of Microsoft’s software suite.

What was the point of PowerPoint?

When PowerPoint came onto the scene, most group presentations in classrooms and conference rooms used overhead projectors. Remember those machines? They relied on transparent sheets that you printed or wrote text directly on, then illuminated by a bulb and aimed at a blank wall. They were bulky, displayed limited visuals, and oftentimes blurry or difficult to focus.

Tell your story with captivating presentations Banner

Tell your story with captivating presentations

Powerpoint empowers you to develop well-designed content across all your devices

Instead, PowerPoint was developed to take advantage of new graphics processing capabilities on computers. Its earliest versions could also produce overhead transparencies, but later versions would take advantage of 35mm slides and video projectors, keeping in line with new technological advancements.

A small Silicon Valley startup called Forethought developed PowerPoint 1.0 in 1987. Throughout its three-year development period it was called Presenter, but the name had been taken. One of the key figures at Forethought, Robert Gaskins, thought of “PowerPoint” from a sign he had seen on an airport runway: he imagined the software empowering the user to create and share compelling points in a presentation. The name stuck, and the software sold out upon its first production run.

Microsoft makes PowerPoint a core component of Office

PowerPoint’s popularity caught the attention of Microsoft executives, who visited Forethought shortly after its release. At first, it took them some effort to convince Bill Gates, who wanted to integrate presentation capabilities into Microsoft Word, which had been released four years earlier. But he eventually understood that this wasn’t just a software component, it was an entire genre of capabilities. He signed off on buying Forethought, bringing PowerPoint into the Microsoft fold.

It was a young Microsoft’s first significant software acquisition, for $14 million in 1988 (or $35.5 million today). By taking over Forethought’s headquarters in California, it gave Microsoft a much-needed presence in Silicon Valley.

PowerPoint was core to Microsoft right from the start. When Microsoft Office launched in 1989, what would become the world’s most popular productivity suite included just three programs: Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

PowerPoint gets folded into Microsoft 365

When Office 365 debuted in 2013, it wasn’t just a software update. These key programs now lived on the cloud, made for mobile life: Sales of laptops were now outpacing desktops; smartphones were smarter and more powerful than ever; and people were doing the Harlem Shake and hitting up Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop.” Now, PowerPoint and others featured dedicated mobile versions for both Android and iPhone. You could create and edit a presentation from anywhere, all while using AI-driven tools to design and animate slides in new ways.

The cultural impact of PowerPoint

As much as PowerPoint has become a staple of business, scientific, and educational presentations, it’s also unlocked new and unexpected avenues of creativity. Here are some of the ways that PowerPoint has expanded into the public consciousness:

  • WordArt and animations: You couldn’t miss these stylized texts in the 1990s and 2000s. WordArt added fun special effects like shadows, outlines, and stretches to create eye-catching titles, while PowerPoint’s bouncing, fade-in, and sunburst animations still remain popular.
  • PowerPoint parties: Gather your friends and give your silliest presentation on something you love! It’s a twist on the elementary school presentations you might now be nostalgic for—and with drinks, costumes, friends, and fun themes, giving presentations in person or over Microsoft Teams has never been more fun.
  • As an artistic medium: PowerPoint’s visual focus and animation capabilities have enabled creatives to express themselves, from users known as “the Prince of PowerPoint” to David Byrne of The Talking Heads. On TikTok, the #powerpoint hashtag has over 4.3 billion views, with user-created tutorials on how you can make your presentations more eye-catching, aesthetically pleasing, and creative.

Over the past four decades, PowerPoint has evolved to keep up with the way we use our laptops and mobile devices—and it’s more powerful, AI-driven, and full of design possibilities than ever.

Get started with Microsoft 365

It’s the Office you know, plus the tools to help you work better together, so you can get more done—anytime, anywhere.

Topics in this article

More articles like this one.

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

How to create an educational presentation

Use PowerPoint to create dynamic and engaging presentations that foster effective learning.

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

Five tips for choosing the right PowerPoint template

Choose an appropriate PowerPoint template to elevate your presentation’s storytelling. Consider time length, audience and other presentation elements when selecting a template.

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

How you can use AI to help you make the perfect presentation handouts

Learn how AI can help you organize and create handouts for your next presentation.

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

How to use AI to help improve your presentations

Your PowerPoint presentations are about to get a boost when you use AI to improve a PowerPoint presentation.

Microsoft 365 Logo

Everything you need to achieve more in less time

Get powerful productivity and security apps with Microsoft 365

LinkedIn Logo

Explore Other Categories

  • Collections
  • Publications
  • K-12 Students & Educators
  • Families & Community Groups
  • Plan Your Visit
  • Public Tours & Group Reservations
  • This Is CHM
  • Ways to Give
  • Donor Recognition
  • Institutional Partnerships
  • Buy Tickets
  • Hours & Admission
  • Upcoming Events

Chm Blog Curatorial Insights , From the Collection , Software History Center

Slide logic: the emergence of presentation software and the prehistory of powerpoint, by david c. brock | october 04, 2016.

Facebook

In many parts of our world today, group communication centers on visual materials built with “presentation software,” often crafted by a speaker him or herself. As a result, meetings now generally depend on the use of personal computers, presentation software in the guises of product or service and display by digital projectors or flat-screens.

A humorous sample PowerPoint presentation supplied with the very first version in 1987. This clip was created with PowerPoint 1.0 for Mac running in a Mac Plus emulator.

So central have these visual materials become that the intended functioning of digital files, programs, computers, and peripherals has become an almost necessary condition for public communication. Choice of presentation software has even become a mark of generational and other identities, as in whether one uses Facebook or Snapchat. Millennials and Generation Z choose Google Slides or Prezi. Everyone else uses PowerPoint, its mirror-twin by Apple called Keynote, or, for political expression and/or economic necessity, LibreOffice. Membership in a highly technical community can be signified by using the typesetting program LaTeX to build equation-heavy slides.

It is PowerPoint, nevertheless, that has become the “Kleenex” or “Scotch Tape” of presentation software. A “PowerPoint” has come to commonly mean any presentation created with software. Microsoft rightly boasts that there are currently 1.2 billion copies of PowerPoint at large in the world today: One copy of PowerPoint for every seven people. In any given month, approximately 200 million of these copies are actively used. PowerPoint is simply the dominant presentation software on the planet. 1

It may come as a surprise, then, to learn that PowerPoint was not the first presentation program. Rather, there were several programs for personal computers that performed similarly to PowerPoint in many respects, which appeared starting in 1982—fully five years before PowerPoint’s debut. PowerPoint’s ubiquity is not the result of a first-mover advantage. 2

Further, many of PowerPoint’s most familiar characteristics—the central motif of a slide containing text and graphics, bulleted lists, the slide show, the slide sorter, and even showy animated transitions between slides—were not absolute novelties when PowerPoint appeared. These elements had been introduced in one form or another in earlier presentation software.

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

Here, the principal developers of PowerPoint—Dennis Austin and Tom Rudkin—describe the structure of the source code defining slides. Austin and Rudkin worked closely with the product’s architect, Bob Gaskins. This document is in a collection of materials donated to the Computer History Museum by Dennis Austin.

From 1982 through 1987, software makers introduced roughly a dozen programs for several different personal computers that allowed users to create visual materials for public presentations as a series of “slides” containing text and graphic elements. Frequently, these slides were printed on paper for incorporation into a photocopied report and transferred to a set of transparencies for use with an overhead projector. Other presentation programs allowed slides to be output as a sequence of 35mm photographic slides for use with a slide projector, a videotape of a series of slide images, or a digital file of screen-images for computer monitors. Makers and users called these programs “presentation software,” and just as commonly “business graphics software.” “Business” here is significant, I think. 3

Early presentation software was most commonly used to create overhead presentations. In this clip, Dennis Austin—a principal developer of PowerPoint—demonstrates the use of overhead projectors and presentations.

The six years from 1982 through 1987 saw the emergence of presentation software (including PowerPoint), with multiple makers introducing competing programs offering many similar capabilities and idioms. Why did multiple, independent software creators develop presentation software for personal computers at just this moment?

I believe that an analytical framework that I developed with historian Christophe Lécuyer to understand episodes in the history of solid-state electronics can also help us to unpack this very different case from software history. Our framework consists of three “contextual logics” that we argue shaped the emergence of the planar transistor, the silicon microchip, the simultaneous-invention of silicon-gate MOS technology, and, as Christophe and Takahiro Ueyama recently show, the history of blue light-emitting diodes (LEDs). 4

In their 2013 article, “The Logics of Materials Innovation,” Christophe and Takahiro describe these logics beautifully:

This framework distinguishes different types of contextual challenges that shape the creation of new materials and manufacturing processes: the materiality of substances, tools, and fabrication techniques (referred to as “material logic”); the needs, demands and interests of intended customers (“market logic”); and the competitive tensions among laboratories, firms, and nations (“competitive logic”). These material, market, and competitive logics are not determinative, in the sense that they do not lead to necessary outcomes. But they are particularly stable over time and provide powerful resources and constraints to innovators and their patrons.

The implication seems straightforward: People from similar backgrounds, in similar organizations, facing a common, structured set of contextual logics, will do similar—but not identical—things. But can these logics that help make sense of the history of semiconductor electronics, a technology deeply about materials, also give insights into the history of the ne plus ultra of the digital—software itself? I think it can. Competitive logic, Market logic, and Material logic: Let’s consider them in that order, and see what they can mean for the “prehistory” of PowerPoint.

Competitive logic centered on software makers. In the first half of the 1980s, makers of presentation software were typically connected to companies. There were, of course, makers of non-commercial software of various stripes—hobbyist, open source, libre and the like—but they do not appear to have been a factor in early presentation software. Rather, the makers of presentation software were what I call “integrated software manufacturers,” “software publishers,” and “author houses.” Sometimes the boundaries between these maker-types are blurry, but I think the categories are useful.

Integrated software manufacturers, ranging from cottage firms to public companies, wrote code, manufactured it mainly on magnetic media, wrote and printed technical documentation and guides, and distributed it in shrink-wrapped boxes. For integrated software manufacturers of this era, think of Microsoft, Lotus Development, and MicroPro International." Software publishers" did everything that the integrated manufacturers did, except write the code. Rather, they entered into contracts on a royalty basis with those who did write programs. Software publishers ran the gamut from stand-alone companies that only produced software written by others, to firms that published a mix of programs written internally and externally, and also to computer makers like Apple, who published software written by others under their own label as well as selling their own programs. Code authors ranged from individual sole proprietorships to “author shops,” partnerships between two or more programmers in an LLP or a small company.

The origins of Microsoft, perhaps the best-known integrated software manufacturer.

These author shops, publishers, and integrated manufacturers were, by 1982, competing in a growing market for personal computer application software: Spreadsheets, word processors, databases and “business graphics” programs that often used data from spreadsheets to generate line-graphs, pie-charts, bar-graphs, and other standard plots used in business, science, and engineering. This battle for market share in applications for personal computers was the ‘competitive logic’ for presentation software’s emergence. 5

“Market logic” centered on the intended users of software, and, in the case of presentation software, focused to the communication practices of white-collar workers in the United States (and, perhaps, elsewhere), particularly “managers” and “executives.” Contemporary commentators noted that personal-computer “business” software like spreadsheets represented a turn in “office automation,” the opening of a new phase in which software users would expand beyond specialists and secretaries to managers and executives. Personal computers with new software would be in the offices of Mahogany Row in addition to the accounting department and the typing pool.

For example, in September 1982, John Unger Zussman, a columnist for InfoWorld, noted: “…the market is changing. An examination of the changing word-processor marketplace can tell us a lot about the maturation of microcomputers and give us a clue to the role of micros in the office of the future. ‘There’s an expanding concept of reality in the modern office,’ says Gary Smith, NCR’s director of marketing. Software oriented toward managers, such as spreadsheet and slide-show programs and electronic mail, has increased the demand for distributed data processing. It is now legitimate for a computer to appear on a manager’s desk—or a secretary’s. The personal workstation, says Smith, is becoming ‘the major focus of white-collar productivity.’ This was not always the case. In the past, computers were the province of the data-processing department…and, besides, managers wouldn’t be caught dead typing at a keyboard…word processing became a stepping-stone into the automated office…the introduction of microcomputers into the office of the future seems to be more a process of infiltration than one of direct assault.” 6

In this 1979 commercial, Xerox presented just this vision of the office of the future.

In a 1984 article in the Proceedings of the IEEE titled “A New Direction in Personal Computer Software,” MIT Sloan School professor Hoo-Min Toong, with his postdoc Amar Gupta, identified the crux of the market logic to which presentation software was a response: The time that executives and managers spent in meetings. They write: “Top managers are noted to spend four-fifths of their time attending meetings—delivering or receiving presentations and reports, communicating, and gathering information for subsequent meetings. Meetings are the most prominent, time consuming element of an executive’s job.” They continue: “At present, business personal computers only represent information in numeric form, in text, and in simple charts and graphs. A crucial missing component is the ability to present and manipulate visual, pictorial data…A new layer…will bridge the gap from the present position…to supporting business communications with sophisticated images and color.” 7

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

Toong and Gupta’s diagram of the proportion of an “executive’s” time spent in meetings. © 1984 IEEE. Reprinted, with permission, from Proceedings of the IEEE.

Toong and Gupta then discuss a newly released example of such “presentation graphics software,” VCN ExecuVision, offered by the book publisher Prentice-Hall. VCN ExecuVision, which ran on the IBM PC, cost $400 but also required libraries of images and icons, that is, “clip art,” at $90 per floppy disk. Users could create “slide shows” of multiple “slides” that the user could craft with text, clip art, and geometric shapes, as well as pie, bar, and line graphs, with the completed slide show either printed or displayed on the PC monitor.

The idiom of the slide was directly adapted from the world of 35mm photographic slides. “Seeing a single slide is one thing,” Toong and Gupta write, “seeing an aggregate of slides is another. VCN ExecuVision supports slide shows in which the transition from one slide to another can be controlled either manually (pressing a key causes display of the next slide) or automatically… More significant is the support of animation techniques which give an illusion of seeing a running movie rather than a slide show…VCN ExecuVision brings sophisticated graphical capabilities to the realm of personal computers thus vastly expanding the horizons of personal computer applications in all four domains – office, home, science, and education.” Continuing their celebration of ExecuVision, Toong and Gupta illustrated their journal article with three full-color pages of ExecuVision slides, replete with images having the unmistakable aesthetic of clip art. Presentation software and clip art may have been born together.

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

Sample slides from VCN ExecuVision. © 1984 IEEE. Reprinted, with permission, from Proceedings of the IEEE.

Evidently, ExecuVision was the creation of Toong himself—in a Cambridge, Massachusetts author shop called Visual Communication Network Inc.—before the program had been sold or licensed to Prentice Hall. Toong filed articles of incorporation for the firm in October 1983, with his brother and a former MIT industrial liaison as the other directors. His brother was listed as the president and a Sloan School building was the firm’s address. Toong’s connection to ExecuVision is not mentioned in the article. 8

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

Lotus’ announcement of Executive Briefing System. Courtesy of the Kapor Archive.

Toong’s ExecuVision was, in late 1983, a new entrant into the presentation software market that two new integrated software manufacturers, located in neighborhoods on opposing sides of the MIT campus, had already enjoined. On one side was Mitch Kapor’s startup, Lotus Development. Kapor created his new firm on a windfall from two programs he had written that were published by Personal Software, Inc., later renamed VisiCorp. VisiCorp was also the publisher of the breakthrough spreadsheet program VisiCalc, written in Cambridge by Software Arts Inc., the “author shop” of Dan Bricklin and Bob Frankston.

Mitch Kapor had written a statistical analysis and data graphing program for the Apple II called TinyTROLL, which he sold through a partnership with his friend and then MIT finance PhD student Eric Rosenfeld who had suggested the program to Kapor. The partnership was called Micro Finance Systems, and Kapor was approached VisiCorp to adapt TinyTROLL to work with data imported from VisiCalc. Kapor soon delivered VisiPlot and VisiTrend, programs that took VisiCalc spreadsheet data and generated pie, bar, and line graphs from them, as well as performed various finance-relevant statistical functions on the data. Kapor and Rosenfeld’s Micro Finance Systems received hundreds of thousands of dollars in royalties for VisiPlot and VisiTrend before VisiCorp bought them outright for $1.2 million. With his share in the windfall, Kapor set up an integrated software manufacturer of his own, Lotus Development, and, in 1982, the firm released its first product, Executive Briefing System, for the Apple II. Todd Agulnick, a 14-year-old high school student, had been hired by Kapor and wrote the BASIC code for Executive Briefing System under his direction. 9

Lotus’ $200 Executive Briefing System was centered on the color video display of the Apple II. In brief, a number of programs for charting and graphing like VisiPlot offered the “BSAVE” command. Instead of routing data to immediately render an image on the video display, BSAVE sent the very same data to a stored file. In this way, a “screen shot” could be rendered on the video display at a later time, shared with others, archived for future use, etc. Lotus’ Executive Briefing System treated BSAVE’d files—these screen shots—as “slides” that could be modified and then displayed on the Apple II’s video display as a “slide show” for a “presentation.” Executive Briefing System users could edit slides of charts and plots by adding text and/or clip art of lines, geometric shapes, or “ornamental” motifs. Slides were arranged in slide shows, and saved to floppy disk. While the program allowed a slide show to be printed—as a paper report or for transparencies for overhead presentation—it focused on slide shows for the video display. A variety of animated “transitions” between slides were available, such as fades, wipes, and spinning-into-view. 10

An early Executive Briefing System demonstration. This clip was created by running an image of the demonstration disk in an Apple II emulator.

David Solomont’s Business and Professional Software Inc., another integrated software manufacturer developing products for the Apple II, was located at 143 Binney Street just a 25-minute walk across the MIT campus—and past Hoo-Min Toong’s office—from Kapor’s Lotus Development office at 180 Franklin Street. Like Kapor, Solomont’s firm had earlier developed a plotting and charting program for the Apple II to work with VisiCalc spreadsheets. Solomont struck a deal with Apple to license the plotting program, which was sold by Apple under the company’s brand as “Apple Business Graphics.” Soon thereafter, arriving on the market about the same time as Lotus’ Executive Briefing System, came Solomont’s “Screen Director” program in 1982. 11

A 2015 CHM oral history interview with David Solomont.

Screen Director, made for the then-new Apple III computer, fully embraced treating a computer running Screen Director like a 35mm slide projector. Users could organize BSAVE’d image files from programs like VisiPlot and Apple Business Graphics into various “slide trays” for presentation on the video display. While Screen Director did not allow for the editing of existing image slides, it did provide for the creation of text slides and for a limited set of animated transitions between slides. Screen Director even shipped with the standard two-button wired controller for slide projectors, but modified to plug into the Apple III for controlling Screen Director slide shows. 12

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

A 1982 print advertisement for Business and Professional Software’s Screen Director program.

So far I have described a meaning for “competitive logic” and “market logic” in the case of presentation software, and some early programs from 1982 through 1984. But what of “material logic?” Material logic here includes personal computers themselves, specifically personal computers with graphics capabilities that were expanding in the early 1980s. The computers’ physical performativity, their material agency, constituted a resource, medium, and constraint for software makers and users. Existing programs widely used on these computers, like spreadsheets and plotting programs, were themselves a critical part of the material logic. Software, like hardware, has an unavoidable materiality. At the most abstract, a computer program can be considered to be a specific pattern. In practice, every instance of a program is a pattern in something material, including the body of an author.

Finally, the material logic for presentation software included operating systems centered on the graphical user interface, or GUI. This style of computing had been pioneered at Xerox PARC in the late 1970s, most famously on the Xerox Alto computer. The Alto inspired other efforts to bring the GUI into personal computing during the first half of the 1980s: Apple’s Lisa and Macintosh computers, Microsoft’s Windows software, and VisiCorp’s VisiOn software to name but a few. 13

This material logic was especially important in the creation of PowerPoint. In 1983, two Apple managers, Rob Campbell and Taylor Pohlman, left the firm and created a new integrated software manufacturer, Forethought Inc. Simply put, they left Apple to bring a Xerox Alto like GUI operating system to the IBM PC. By 1986, however, Forethought Inc. had a change of plans. This story—of Forethought’s creation of PowerPoint—and other stories about what PowerPoint and its competitors can tell us about software history, will be the subjects of upcoming essays by me on the @CHM blog.

For more information about the development of PowerPoint, please see our Guide to the Dennis Austin PowerPoint Records .

  • Oral history interview with Shawn Villaron, PowerPoint manager at Microsoft, date, forthcoming/in process.
  • Indeed, a wonderfully helpful list of presentation software offerings from 1986 compiled by Robert Gaskins, the initiator and architect of the original PowerPoint project, can be found on pages 131-134 of his painstakingly detailed and comprehensive memoir, Sweating Bullets .
  • One place in which these identifying names for the presentation software genre were evident was, and is, the pages of the trade magazine InfoWorld . Google Books has a large number of issues of the periodical available with full text and search. On the more general use of the genre names, see this Google Books NGram .
  • See Christophe Lécuyer and David C. Brock, Makers of the Microchip: A Documentary History of Fairchild Semiconductor (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2010); David C. Brock and Christophe Lécuyer, “Digital Foundations: The Making of Silicon Gate Manufacturing Technology,” Technology and Culture , 53 (2012): 561–97; and Christophe Lécuyer and Takahiro Ueyama, “The Logics of Materials Innovation: The Case of Gallium Nitride and Blue Light Emitting Diodes,” Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences , 43 (2013): 243-280.
  • See, for example, Martin Campbell-Kelly, “Number Crunching without Programming: The Evolution of Spreadsheet Usability,” IEEE Annals of the History of Computing , 29 3 (July-September 2007): 6-19 and Thomas J. Bergin, “The Origins of Word Processing Software for Personal Computers: 1976-1985,” IEEE Annals of the History of Computing , 28 4 (October-December 2006): 32-47.
  • The article may be viewed in InfoWord on Google Books.
  • Hoo-Min D. Toong and Amar Gupta, “A New Direction in Personal Computer Software,” Proceedings of the IEEE , 72 3 (March 1984): 377-388.
  • Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Articles of Organization, Visual Communications Network, Inc., October 13, 1983.
  • Mitch Kapor, “Reflections of Lotus 1-2-3: Benchmark for Spreadsheet Software,” IEEE Annals of the History of Computing , 29 3 (July-September 2007): 32-40; David C. Brock telephone call with Todd Agulnick, July 15, 2016.
  • Rik Jadrnicek, “ Executive Briefing System, a slide-show program ,” InfoWorld, May 17, 1982, 47–49.
  • Oral History of David Solomont , Computer History Museum, 2015. Or watch it on YouTube .
  • Richard Hart, “ Screen Director helps you present ‘slide shows,’ ” InfoWorld, November 8, 1982.
  • See Michael Hiltzik, Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Comptuer Age, (New York: HarperCollins), 1999.

About The Author

David C. Brock is an historian of technology, CHM's Director of Curatorial Affairs, and director of its Software History Center. He focuses on histories of computing and semiconductors as well as on oral history. He is the co-author of Moore’s Law: The Life of Gordon Moore, Silicon Valley’s Quiet Revolutionary and is on Twitter @dcbrock.

Join the Discussion

Related articles, fifty years of the personal computer operating system, amplifying history.

For IEEE Members

Ieee spectrum, follow ieee spectrum, support ieee spectrum, enjoy more free content and benefits by creating an account, saving articles to read later requires an ieee spectrum account, the institute content is only available for members, downloading full pdf issues is exclusive for ieee members, downloading this e-book is exclusive for ieee members, access to spectrum 's digital edition is exclusive for ieee members, following topics is a feature exclusive for ieee members, adding your response to an article requires an ieee spectrum account, create an account to access more content and features on ieee spectrum , including the ability to save articles to read later, download spectrum collections, and participate in conversations with readers and editors. for more exclusive content and features, consider joining ieee ., join the world’s largest professional organization devoted to engineering and applied sciences and get access to all of spectrum’s articles, archives, pdf downloads, and other benefits. learn more →, join the world’s largest professional organization devoted to engineering and applied sciences and get access to this e-book plus all of ieee spectrum’s articles, archives, pdf downloads, and other benefits. learn more →, access thousands of articles — completely free, create an account and get exclusive content and features: save articles, download collections, and talk to tech insiders — all free for full access and benefits, join ieee as a paying member., the improbable origins of powerpoint, here’s the surprising story behind the software that conquered the world, one slide at a time.

Illustration by Jude Buffum

Walking into the hall to deliver the speech was a “ daunting experience ," the speaker later recalled, but “we had projectors and all sorts of technology to help us make the case." The technology in question was PowerPoint, the presentation software produced by Microsoft . The speaker was Colin Powell, then the U.S. Secretary of State.

Powell's 45 slides displayed snippets of text, and some were adorned with photos or maps. A few even had embedded video clips. During the 75-⁠minute speech , the tech worked perfectly. Years later, Powell would recall, “When I was through, I felt pretty good about it."

The aim of his speech, before the United Nations Security Council on 5 February 2003, was to argue the Bush administration's final case for war with Iraq in a “powerful way." In that, he succeeded. While the president had already decided to go to war, Powell's speech—inseparable from what would become one of the most famous PowerPoint presentations of all time—did nothing to derail the plan. The following month, the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and Poland launched their invasion .

Powell's speech dramatized how PowerPoint had become, by 2003, a nearly inescapable tool of communication and persuasion in much of the world. Since then, its domination has only become more complete. The same tool used by U.S. State Department and CIA officials to pivot an international coalition toward war is also used by schoolchildren to give classroom reports on planets, penguins, and poets. Microsoft rightly boasts of 1.2 billion copies of PowerPoint at large—one copy for every seven people on earth. In any given month, approximately 200 million of these copies are used, and although nobody's really counting, our cumulative generation of PowerPoint slides surely reaches well into the billions. So profound is PowerPoint's influence that prominent figures have decried the software's effects on thinking itself . Edward Tufte , the guru of information visualization, has famously railed against the “cognitive style" of PowerPoint, which he characterizes as having a “foreshortening of evidence and thought" and a “deeply hierarchical single-⁠path structure."

PowerPoint is so ingrained in modern life that the notion of it having a history at all may seem odd. But it does have a very definite lifetime as a commercial product that came onto the scene 30 years ago, in 1987. Remarkably, the founders of the Silicon Valley firm that created PowerPoint did not set out to make presentation software, let alone build a tool that would transform group communication throughout the world. Rather, PowerPoint was a recovery from dashed hopes that pulled a struggling startup back from the brink of failure—and succeeded beyond anything its creators could have imagined.

PowerPoint was not the first software for creating presentations on personal computers. Starting in 1982, roughly a half-dozen other programs [PDF] came on the market before PowerPoint's 1987 debut. Its eventual domination was not the result of first-mover advantage. What's more, some of its most familiar features—the central motif of a slide containing text and graphics; bulleted lists; the slideshow; the slide sorter; and even the animated transitions between slides—did not originate with PowerPoint. And yet it's become the Kleenex or Scotch Tape of presentation software, as a “PowerPoint" has come to mean any presentation created with software.

With PowerPoint as well as its predecessors, the motif of the slide was, of course, lifted directly from the world of photography. Some presentation programs actually generated 35-mm slides for display with a slide projector. In most cases, though, the early programs created slides that were printed on paper for incorporation into reports, transferred to transparencies for use on overhead projectors, or saved as digital files to be displayed on computer monitors.

The upshot was that personal computer users of the 1980s, especially business users, had many options, and the market for business software was undergoing hypergrowth, with programs for generating spreadsheets, documents, databases, and business graphics each constituting a multimillion-dollar category. At the time, commentators saw the proliferation of business software as a new phase in office automation, in which computer use was spreading beyond the accounting department and the typing pool to the office elites. Both the imagined and actual users of the new business software were white-collar workers, from midlevel managers to Mahogany Row executives.

PowerPoint thus emerged during a period in which personal computing was taking over the American office. A major accelerant was the IBM Personal Computer , which Big Blue unveiled in 1981. By then, bureaucratic America—corporate and government alike—was well habituated to buying its computers from IBM. This new breed of machine, soon known simply as the PC, spread through offices like wildfire.

The groundwork for that invasion had been laid the previous decade, in the 1970s technosocial vision of the “office of the future." It started, like so much of what we now take for granted in our contemporary world of networked personal computing, at Xerox's legendary Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) [PDF]. The site was established in 1970 to invent the computing systems that would equip the future's white-collar office, an arena the company hoped to dominate in the same way it did photocopying. Many of the bright young computer scientists and engineers recruited to work at PARC knew one another from the major computer science programs funded by the Department of Defense's Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) at MIT, Carnegie Mellon, Stanford, UC Berkeley, the University of Utah, and SRI.

In 1972, PARC researchers began to focus on a new personal computer they called the Alto. Led by Alan Kay , Butler Lampson , Bob Taylor , and Chuck Thacker , they were captivated by an extraordinary idea: that in the office of the future, every individual would have a dedicated computer like the Alto. Moreover, these computers would be networked to one another and to other, larger computers, both locally and far away. This networking would form a web of communication and computing resources well beyond the capacity of any single personal computer. In the pursuit of this vision, Ethernet emerged , as did the PARC Universal Packet protocol [PDF], or PUP, an important predecessor of the TCP/IP standard of today's Internet.

The Alto's creators emphasized the machine's graphics capabilities, dedicating much of the computer's hardware and software to rendering high-⁠resolution imagery onscreen, including typography, drawings, digital photographs, and animations. It was a huge step up from the mainstream computers of the day, which still used punch cards, paper printouts, teletypes, and “dumb" terminals. Alto users interacted with it through a graphical interface to access, generate, and manipulate information. Even the text was treated as an image. The computer was controlled through a standard keyboard and the then-novel mouse that had emerged from Doug Engelbart 's SRI laboratory.

This graphical turn in computing was perhaps most pronounced in one of the Alto's programming languages, called Smalltalk. Developed by Kay, Dan Ingalls , Adele Goldberg , and other collaborators, Smalltalk wasn't just a programming language; it was also a programming and user environment. It introduced the graphical user interface, or GUI, to personal computing, including a metaphorical desktop with overlapping windows, contextual and pop-up menus, file browsers, scroll bars, selection by mouse clicks, and even cut, copy, and paste.

While such innovations were ostensibly proprietary, by the end of the 1970s, Xerox managers and PARC staff were routinely discussing their findings with outsiders and publishing details of the Alto system in journals. PARC researchers were, after all, still part of the broader ARPA community of computer scientists and engineers. Many visitors who saw the Alto system considered it transformative.

One such visitor was Apple cofounder Steve Jobs . Following Xerox's investment in Apple in 1979, PARC researchers gave Apple engineers and management detailed demonstrations of Smalltalk and other programs previously reserved for Xerox insiders. Jobs was so enthralled by what he saw that he decided to reorient the Lisa, a business computer Apple was developing at the time, to fully embrace the PARC idiom. A few years later, when Jobs was transferred out of the Lisa project, he seized control of another effort aimed at creating a low-cost computer and pushed it, too, toward the PARC idiom. That computer became the Macintosh.

What does all this have to do with PowerPoint? Apple lavished resources—people and cash alike—to embrace the PARC paradigm with the Lisa and the Macintosh, but not everyone at Apple was happy about that. In particular, those working to maintain the existing Apple II and III lines felt that their efforts were being shortchanged. By 1982, the product marketing manager for the Apple III, Taylor Pohlman , and the software marketing manager for the Apple II and III, Rob Campbell, had had enough. They quit and went into business together, founding the company that would create PowerPoint.

But PowerPoint was not at all in their original plan.

One thing that united Pohlman and Campbell—but alienated them at Apple—was that they were cut from a different cloth than the computer-science types working on the Lisa and the Macintosh. Though both Pohlman and Campbell were technically minded, they were also oriented toward marketing and sales. Before Apple, Pohlman had worked in marketing at Hewlett-Packard, and Campbell had run a small accounting software company.

The pair left Apple late in 1982, and by early 1983, they had secured US $600,000 in venture capital to create a software company, which they called Forethought. Ironically, the startup's aim was to bring the PARC idiom to the IBM PC and its clones—in essence, to outplay Apple at its own game. That year, the Apple Lisa appeared , priced at nearly $10,000 (more than $25,000 in today's dollars). Two years earlier, Xerox had brought its own personal computer, the Xerox Star , to market, at an even higher price. Pohlman and Campbell's idea was to bring a graphical-software environment like the Xerox Alto's to the hugely popular but graphically challenged PC.

Forethought's founders intended to go beyond the Star and the Lisa by incorporating an important dimension of Alto's Smalltalk: object-oriented programming . In simple terms, traditional programming of the day treated data and the procedures for manipulating it separately. In object-oriented programming, data and procedures are combined in “objects" that interact with each other by passing messages between them. Proponents held that the modularity of object-oriented programming made for speedier development, flexibility, and dynamic change. For example, skilled Smalltalk programmers could quickly alter the GUI while the program was running. Object-oriented programming has since become the prevailing paradigm for the most widely used programming languages.

Pohlman and Campbell envisioned an object-oriented software platform called Foundation, which was centered around documents. Each Foundation document would act like an object in Smalltalk, which a business user would stitch together with other documents to create, say, a report containing a graph of recent sales, a statistical analysis of customer traits, drawings of proposed changes to a product, and a block of explanatory text. Each element would be live, malleable, and programmable. Spreadsheets, databases, drawings, word processing—Foundation would handle it all. Users would select a document with a mouse click, and contextual menus would then offer choices appropriate for that type of document. Foundation would be, in essence, Smalltalk for the office worker.

Forethought staffed up, bringing in software developers from Xerox PARC who were familiar with object-oriented programming and WYSIWYG applications, in which the text and graphics displayed on screen look very similar to the way they will appear in print. To create certain functions, the startup inked deals with outside suppliers; Forethought also purchased a powerful VAX computer from Digital Equipment Corp. for the software-development effort.

Within a year, the company ran into difficulties. For one, the developers grew deeply concerned about which personal computers, if any, would be powerful enough to run Foundation. The Apple Lisa had the horsepower, but it was already failing in the market, while the Macintosh was deemed too feeble. And the IBM PC was still far behind where Forethought had hoped and planned it would be.

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

Forethought, a Silicon Valley startup, brought PowerPoint 1.0 to market in April 1987.

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

More worrying was Oracle's announcement that it would need another year to deliver on its contract for the database code. This meant that the launch of Foundation would be intolerably delayed. Forethought was running perilously low on funds, and it didn't have the resources to develop a database on its own. The company was facing, literally, an existential crisis.

Rather than liquidate the firm, management and investors decided to “restart" Forethought—a “pivot" in today's Silicon Valley parlance. Work on Foundation was set aside, while the firm focused on software publishing—that is, manufacturing, marketing, and supporting computer programs written by others. Forethought's publishing arm produced software for the Apple Macintosh under the brand Macware. And it was a success. Its biggest hit, oddly enough, was a database program called FileMaker .

With brightening finances from sales of FileMaker, Forethought began to develop a new software product of its own. This new effort was the brainchild of Robert Gaskins , an accomplished computer scientist who'd been hired to lead Forethought's product development. Gaskins was a polymath who had simultaneously pursued Ph.D.s in English, linguistics, and computer science at UC Berkeley before joining industry. He in turn hired a bright young software developer named Dennis Austin , who had previously developed compilers at Burroughs and contributed to a GUI operating system at a laptop startup.

Gaskins and Austin worked closely to conceptualize, design, and specify Forethought's new product. Gaskins spotted an opportunity in presentation software and believed they could apply the PARC idiom to this application. He envisioned the user creating slides of text and graphics in a graphical, WYSIWYG environment, then outputting them to 35-mm slides, overhead transparencies, or video displays and projectors, and also sharing them electronically through networks and electronic mail. The presentation would spring directly from the mind of the business user, without having to first transit through the corporate art department.

While Gaskins's ultimate aim for this new product, called Presenter, was to get it onto IBM PCs and their clones, he and Austin soon realized that the Apple Macintosh was the more promising initial target. Designs for the first version of Presenter specified a program that would allow the user to print out slides on Apple's newly released laser printer, the LaserWriter, and photocopy the printouts onto transparencies for use with an overhead projector.

Austin quickly got to work programming Presenter in Apple Pascal on a Lisa computer, eventually switching to a Macintosh. He was joined in the effort by Tom Rudkin , an experienced developer, and the pair hewed as closely as possible to the Macintosh's user interface and modes of operation. Indeed, the source code for Presenter included Apple-provided code for handling text, which Apple used in its own word processor, MacWrite.

In April 1987, Forethought introduced its new presentation program to the market very much as it had been conceived, but with a different name. Presenter was now PowerPoint 1.0—there are conflicting accounts of the name change—and it was a proverbial overnight success with Macintosh users. In the first month, Forethought booked $1 million in sales of PowerPoint, at a net profit of $400,000, which was about what the company had spent developing it. And just over three months after PowerPoint's introduction, Microsoft purchased Forethought outright for $14 million in cash.

PowerPoint then became Microsoft's presentation software, first just for the Macintosh and later also for Windows. The Forethought team became Microsoft's Graphics Business Unit, which Gaskins led for five years, while Austin and Rudkin remained the principal developers of PowerPoint for about 10 years. Wisely, Microsoft chose to keep the Graphics Business Unit in Silicon Valley rather than move it to Redmond, Wash. The unit became Microsoft's first outpost in the region, and PowerPoint is still developed there to this day.

While PowerPoint was a success from the start, it nevertheless faced stiff competition, and for several years, Lotus Freelance and Software Publishing's Harvard Graphics commanded larger market shares. The tipping point for PowerPoint came in 1990, when Microsoft unleashed its bundling strategy and began selling Microsoft Office—which combined Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint—as a $1,000 set. Previously, each part had been sold separately for about $500 apiece.

Because most users of personal computers required both a word processor and a spreadsheet program, Microsoft's price for Office proved compelling. PowerPoint's competitors, on the other hand, resented the tactic as giving away PowerPoint for free. And for more than a quarter century, Microsoft's competitive logic proved unassailable.

These days, the business software market is shifting again, and Microsoft Office must now compete with similar bundles that are entirely free, from the likes of Google , LibreOffice, and others. Productivity software resides more often than not in the cloud, rather than on the user's device. Meanwhile, the dominant mode of personal computing globally has firmly shifted from the desktop and laptop to the smartphone. As yet, no new vision of personal computing like the one that came from Xerox PARC in the 1970s has emerged. And so for the moment, it appears that PowerPoint, as we know it, is here to stay.

This article is for IEEE members only. Join IEEE to access our full archive.

Membership includes:.

  • Get unlimited access to IEEE Spectrum content
  • Follow your favorite topics to create a personalized feed of IEEE Spectrum content
  • Save Spectrum articles to read later
  • Network with other technology professionals
  • Establish a professional profile
  • Create a group to share and collaborate on projects
  • Discover IEEE events and activities
  • Join and participate in discussions

Slide Genius Logo

Looking Back on the Birth of PowerPoint

March 13, 2017 / Blog, Infographics, PowerPoint, Presentation infographics, Powerpoint, powerpoint history

Powerpoint history

It’s hard to imagine life without the comforts of modern technology that people know today: smartphones, 24/7 Internet access, computers that basically provide anything and everything with the push of a few buttons, and the like. Now, you’d think that innovation is an everyday occurrence, but that wasn’t the case in the mid-1900s, especially for businesses.

Back in the early 60s, Roger Appeldorn invented the first overhead projector . It had a simple principle of using light reflected upon mirrors to display data printed on transparencies (a.k.a. foil or viewgraph), paper-sized sheets of cellophane. The bulky instrument became a mainstay in meeting rooms, but the processes to create one sheet of transparency were tedious and time-consuming (inkjet printing was still a new thing). If not printed, then presenters would handwrite data to be projected on the transparencies. That is, until the 90s. What happened?

Microsoft PowerPoint happened.

Its revolutionary and innovative approach to creating presentations gave it an edge over its more than thirty competitors . Its timing with the booms of both the Apple and Windows operating systems—primitive as they were—cemented its growth. And its fundamental function hosted other uses it wasn’t intended for, like classroom operations and simple public speaking exercises (and not-so-simple ones like the TED Talks ). Yes, it’s that flexible.

Today, PowerPoint is at its latest version: PowerPoint 2016, as part of the Microsoft bundle Office 2016. More than two decades since the first version was published, PowerPoint is at its prime—with no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Although it has seen its share of competitors, the presentation designer software remains as strong as ever, if not stronger.

So how did this juggernaut of a program come to fruition? How about a teaser? For starters, did you know that PowerPoint didn’t start as an internal project of Microsoft? The following infographic will take you through decades across the technological history to the go-to presentation software that is—and will always be—Microsoft PowerPoint.

Akanegbu, Anuli. “Vision of Learning: A History of Classroom Projectors.” EdTech Magazine . February 28, 2013. www.edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2013/02/vision-learning-history-classroom-projectors

“Life Before the Web – Running a Startup in the 1980’s.” The Zamzar Blog . July 13, 2016. blog.zamzar.com/2016/07/13/life-before-the-web-running-a-startup-in-the-1980s

Popular Posts

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

Common Challenges in Tailoring Presentations—and Solutions

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

Dos and Don’ts of Pre-Seed Pitch Deck Creation

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

How to Write a Teaser Pitch Deck that Captivates

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

Tips for a Persuasive How It Works Slide

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

What Not to Do When Presenting Funding History

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

Why Raising Funds Without a Pitch Deck Can Backfire

Hult International Business School

  • Download Brochure

Disruption, innovation, and endurance: A brief history of PowerPoint

Disruption, innovation, and endurance: A brief history of PowerPoint

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

The journey of a thousand presentations begins with a single slide.

This is a story about love in the time of ClipArt, about innovation persevering through really lame animations. This is the story of people who refused to copy-and-paste their lives and instead chose to change the world.

“PowerPoint sought to disrupt an established business model, much like Uber is doing to taxis. We offered a superior replacement for a familiar capability.” Robert Gaskins, Inventor of PowerPoint

This is the story of PowerPoint .

Create New Presentation (ctrl+N)

Our opening slide begins in 1984. Robert Gaskins , a computer scientist with a degree from Berkeley, had an idea. He was tired of spending hours preparing projection transparencies and using chalkboards to illustrate presentations.

And so he, with the help of developers Thomas Rudkin and Dennis Austin , set out to create a presentation program that would provide an easy way to make and present slides.

They called this program Presenter , which was later renamed PowerPoint.

Insert New Slide (ctrl+M): The 1980s

The team presented the program and business plan to their software company, fittingly named Forethought , in Sunnyvale, California. And just as Prometheus brought down fire to humans, Forethought quickly spread the revolutionary idea of PowerPoint to the world .

Everyone wanted a bullet point in this story. Apple invested $432,000 in PowerPoint, making it Apple’s first ever venture capital investment . By 1986, the PowerPoint team was using PowerPoint to explain their business strategy. (You can even see their 1986 “New Product Summary” here .)

In 1987, Microsoft managed to outdo Apple for once and snatched up PowerPoint for $14 million .

Insert New Slide (ctrl+M): The 1990s

Following their acquisition , Microsoft released its first official version of PowerPoint in 1990 . By 1993, PowerPoint was making $100 million in sales annually.

The early versions of PowerPoint only produced transparencies , handouts , and speaker notes until the rise of laptops made transparencies obsolete.

1997 became the year that changed the course of PowerPoint history forever. PowerPoint 97 was released with major improvements and updates, most notably, custom animation . This allowed presentations to faded-zoom into the future. And the fact that users needed no special programming skills to animate their presentations made everyone pinwheel into love with PowerPoint.

Save Presentation (ctrl+S): The 2000s to today

Since 1997, PowerPoint has continued to improve and grow. Newer versions have come out with audio and video embedding, web support, and more slide transitions than ever before.

By 2003, PowerPoint revenues for Microsoft were over $1 billion annually . By 2010, Microsoft announced that PowerPoint had been installed on a billion computers worldwide. A study done in 2012 reported PowerPoint held approximately a 95% share of the presentation software market, eclipsing competitors such as Apple Keynote , Google Presentations , and Prezi .

PowerPoint’s continued domination may be down to the program’s gold-standard status in educational settings for students and professors. And, for the most part, people are satisfied with their PowerPoint experience—there is no compelling reason to change. It seems that  PowerPoint is here to stay.

Meanwhile, founder  Robert Gaskins , has settled into retirement and  written a book about inventing PowerPoint  for those who want to discover more about the birth of this innovative and enduring program.

Interested in disruptive innovation?  To learn more about Hult’s future-focused global business programs,  download a brochure .

Like game changers? Break the mould in the business world with a Masters in Disruptive Innovation from Hult. To learn more, take a look at our blog Week of Disruption, Fall 2018: Embracing a changing world, around the globe , or explore overall business challenges with a Masters in International Business instead. Download a brochure or get in touch today to find out how Hult can help you to find out everything about the business world, the future, and yourself.

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

Priyanka Sen

Related posts, falling in love with problems worth solving: tackling the climate crisis with design thinking, why design thinking is an essential competency for business students in 2024, drip by drip—the first non-profit organization addressing the wastewater problem in the textile industry from hult alum amira jehia, alumni success story: peter windischhofer and kilian kaminski of refurbed, hult and ey us extend ey cpa career path accelerator partnership, hult international business school marks successful 2023 with new academic programs, innovation in higher education award.

  • Presentation creation
  • PowerPoint templates
  • Presentation training
  • Print design
  • Pitch deck example
  • PPT Template example
  • Investor deck example
  • Product deck example
  • Presentation services
  • Infographic design
  • Pitch decks
  • Investor presentations
  • Marketing presentations
  • Conference presentations
  • Finance presentations
  • Product presentations
  • CPD presentations
  • Training overview
  • Virtual presentation skills training
  • PowerPoint template training
  • Storytelling training
  • Our showreel
  • Charity presentation example
  • Conference presentation example
  • CPD presentation example
  • Investor deck example – Seed stage
  • Investor deck example – Series C
  • Marketing presentation example
  • PowerPoint template example
  • Product presentation example

Blog / PowerPoint Tips / The history of PowerPoint.

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

The history of PowerPoint.

The Simpsons made its debut as a series of shorts, Ronald Reagan gave his ‘tear down this wall’ speech, The Bangles were telling us to ‘Walk Like an Egyptian’ and PowerPoint first appeared on the Mac. What year was it? That’s right, 1987. We’d love to get stuck into an 80s pop culture article, but we’ll stick to what we know best. So here’s the history of PowerPoint, from 1987 to present day. But first let’s jump ahead a bit…

It’s 2003. The then U.S. Secretary of State, Colin Powell, walks onto the stage to deliver a speech to the United Nations Security Council. Using PowerPoint as a tool of persuasion, he presents a compelling argument in support of the Bush administration, for the Iraq war. By this point, Bush had already made his decision, but Powell presented a strong case that convinced many that the Iraq war was America’s best option.

Although PowerPoint’s inception was back in 1987, the success and potency of Powell’s speech highlighted just how influential the software had become in the world of public speaking. His 45 slides were uniquely modern, adding a forward-thinking and professional vibe that helped him drive his key points with persuasive flair.

Jump forward 15 years and PowerPoint’s influence on modern life is even more profound then it was back then. 1.2 billion copies of PowerPoint occupy computers all over the world. That’s 1 copy for every 7 people on earth. That’s a lot of copies. Who knows how many slides. But what we do know is that PowerPoint has (rightly so) solidified itself as a staple of modern- day presenting. Those in the business world are witnessing its impact in the present for themselves, but what about its past? Let’s take a look back at the history of PowerPoint: its origins, its growth and how it became a world leader in presentation software .

The origins of PowerPoint

When PowerPoint burst onto the presentation scene back in 1987, it wasn’t the only software available on the market. But it was the best. It’s emergence coincided with a surge in personal computer purchasing and the use of computers in business environments. With business owners hungry for the best presentation software available, PowerPoint came out on top of its predecessors.

But its domination wasn’t immediate. Although widely believed to be Bill Gates’s brainchild, PowerPoint was actually developed by Robert Gaskins, was originally called ‘Presenter’ and released under a company called ‘Forethought’. In a market where consumers had a host of other established programs to choose from, PowerPoint initially struggled to set itself apart from its competitors. The graphics, bulleted lists and slideshows that are so characteristic of PowerPoint nowadays, were not actually PowerPoint’s own, original ideas.

Microsoft sensed PowerPoint’s potential regardless. Seeing the explosion in business software and office automation, Microsoft seized the opportunity and bought the application for $14 million.  They developed the software further, taking it to new heights with the release of PowerPoint 97. By eliminating the need for programming knowledge or specialist skills, PowerPoint 97 granted personal computer users access to filmesque features like transitions and animations .

From version 97 onwards, PowerPoint went through major upgrades with every release. A version was released on average every two years, spreading through offices like wildfire. The 2000 version introduced a clipboard feature that could hold multiple objects at once. In 2002, PowerPoint transformed its animation engine, allowing users to take advantage of advanced, custom animations. In 2011, they took the upgrade to another level with new background features and special effects. By 2012, after all the advancements, Microsoft announced their achievement of 95% of the presentation software market share.

The cultural impact of PowerPoint

We can totally see why. From the beginning, PowerPoint has put users first, taking away the complexities, and saving them time and effort. PowerPoint’s prioritisation of ease of use means that even those who aren’t very tech-savvy can still create their own presentations. It has encouraged those who aren’t naturally inclined to do presentations, to at least have a go. It’s made high-quality presenting easier and readily available. Today, users can take advantage of pre-designed templates and animations that give their presentations a slick, professional look.

The software has transformed the world of presenting. It’s used in schools, universities, start-ups, global businesses, people’s homes and governments. After all the years of technological innovation, PowerPoint has stayed at the top of the game. If Presidents and world leaders are using it, it’s probably here to stay.

LIKE WHAT YOU'VE READ? WHY NOT share

Work Can wait

Put off writing that email just a little longer. Send your incoming calls to voicemail. Put your feet up, grab a brew and explore more presentation insight in the Buffalo 7 Library

  • I Tried Both: Apple Watch 9 vs Fitbit Charge 6
  • Best Places to Print Photos Online

What Is Microsoft PowerPoint?

Get to know Microsoft’s presentation software

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

  • University of Texas

Microsoft PowerPoint is a slideshow presentation program first developed by Forethought, Inc. for the Macintosh computer in 1987 and purchased by Microsoft in 1990. Microsoft has released several updated versions, each offering more features and incorporating better technology than before. The most current version of Microsoft PowerPoint is available in Microsoft 365.

Do You Need PowerPoint?

Presentation software is the easiest way to create and show the kinds of slides you've likely seen in meetings or classroom situations.

There are several free options, including LibreOffice , Apache OpenOffice , and SlideDog . However, if you need to collaborate with others on a presentation, integrate with other Microsoft programs (like Microsoft Word), or create a presentation that's viewable by anyone, purchase Microsoft PowerPoint .

If integration with other Microsoft programs isn't important, Google Workspace has a presentation program called Slides that allows for excellent collaboration with others.

Microsoft PowerPoint comes with all the features you need to create presentations. You can start with a blank presentation or choose from various preconfigured presentations (called templates). A template is a file constructed with styles and designs applied. This option provides an easy way to begin a PowerPoint with a single click.

You can also insert pictures and videos from your computer and the internet, draw shapes, and create and insert all kinds of charts. PowerPoint offers many ways to transition between slides and animate the items on any slide.

What Is a PowerPoint Presentation?

A PowerPoint presentation is a group of slides that you create either from scratch or a template that contains information you want to share. Often, you show the presentation to others in an office setting, such as a sales meeting, but you can also create slide shows for weddings and birthdays.

When you display the presentation to your audience, the PowerPoint slides take up the entire presentation screen.

Do You Have Microsoft PowerPoint?

Lots of (but not all) Windows-based computers come with Microsoft Office installed. That means you might have a version of Microsoft PowerPoint.

To see if you have Microsoft PowerPoint installed on your Windows device:

From the  Search window on the taskbar (Windows 10), the  Start screen (Windows 8.1), or from the  Search window on the Start menu  (Windows 7), type PowerPoint  and press Enter .

Note the results.

To find out if you have a version of PowerPoint on your Mac, you can find it in a couple of ways.

Look for it in the  Finder sidebar, under  Applications by selecting Go > Applications .

Or select the magnifying glass in the upper-right corner of your Mac's screen and type PowerPoint in the search field that appears.

Where to Get Microsoft PowerPoint

The two ways you can purchase PowerPoint are by:

  • Subscribing to Microsoft 365 .
  • Buying the Microsoft Office suite outright from the Microsoft website.

Microsoft 365 is a monthly subscription, whereas you pay only once for the Office Suite.

If you don't want to create presentations but only want to view what others have created, use PowerPoint Online to view it for free.

Some employers, community colleges, and universities offer Microsoft 365 free to their employees and students.

The History of PowerPoint

Over the years, there have been many versions of the Microsoft Office suite. The lower-priced suites only included the basic apps (often Word , PowerPoint, and Excel ). The higher-priced suites included some or all of them (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook , OneNote, SharePoint, Exchange, Skype , and more). These suite editions had names like Home and Student, Personal, or Professional.

PowerPoint is included regardless of which version of the Microsoft Office suite you are looking at.

Here are the recent Microsoft Office Suites that also contain PowerPoint:

  • PowerPoint Online and PowerPoint 365 are available and updated regularly in Microsoft 365.
  • PowerPoint 2019 is available in Office 2019.
  • PowerPoint 2016 was available in Office 2016.
  • PowerPoint 2013 was available in Office 2013.
  • PowerPoint 2010 was available in Office 2010.
  • PowerPoint 2007 was included with Office 2007.
  • PowerPoint 2003 was included with Office 2003.
  • PowerPoint 2002 was included in Office XP.

PowerPoint is available for the Macintosh line of computers too, as well as smartphones and tablets.

The easiest way to start a new PowerPoint presentation is to use a template. Microsoft offers a variety of them in a range of casual and professional tones. Choose one and replace the placeholder text and images with your own.

Go to the Insert tab and select Audio > Audio on My PC to play music across slides in a presentation . Locate the music file you want to use, then choose Insert . Select the audio icon, go to the Playback tab , and select Play in Background .

To save your current presentation as a template, go to File > Save As . Click Browse , then choose PowerPoint template from the Save as type list options. Give your new template a file name and select Save .

If you want to make your presentations smaller, compress the pictures you use in them. Select an image so the Picture Format tab appears. Go to that tab and select Compress Pictures (it's in the Adjust group). Here you have a few options: Uncheck Apply only to this picture so that the changes apply to all images in the presentation. You can also choose Delete cropped areas of pictures , but you can't restore images to their original size. Finally, select Use default resolution in the Resolution section.

Get the Latest Tech News Delivered Every Day

  • How to Create a Microsoft Sway Presentation
  • Microsoft's Best Free DIY Christmas Templates for 2024
  • How to Use Copilot in Powerpoint
  • What Is Microsoft Word?
  • Best Free Family Feud PowerPoint Templates
  • 10 Free PowerPoint Game Templates
  • What Is Microsoft PowerPoint and How Do I Use It?
  • How to Set up Microsoft 365 for iPad
  • How to Use Microsoft's Free PowerPoint Viewers
  • A Complete Guide to Microsoft 365 (Formerly Microsoft Office)
  • How to Create a Timeline in PowerPoint
  • The 10 Most Common PowerPoint Terms
  • Create a Default Presentation Template in PowerPoint
  • How to Copy a PowerPoint Design Template to Another Presentation
  • 5 Best Free Presentation Software Programs
  • How to Make a PowerPoint Presentation

FPPT

A brief History of PowerPoint (and Facts You Did Not Know)

Last updated on March 25th, 2024

PowerPoint is one of the most widely used applications in the world and yet most people don’t even know about the name of its developer or the fact that PowerPoint was not initially developed for Microsoft Windows but rather for Apple’s Mac OS. It can be fascinating to explore the history of things we take for granted and PowerPoint is no different. Let’s take a look at a history of PowerPoint and some amazing facts you probably didn’t know about Microsoft PowerPoint and when did PowerPoint come out.

Early Development of PowerPoint

PowerPoint was developed by a former Berkeley Ph.D. student known as Robert Gaskins. His idea was to develop an easy-to-use presentation program based on a series of slides. As is the case with most successful ventures, PowerPoint had the most humble beginning from a place one wouldn’t have fancied as the best place to make the most extraordinary presentation software of its time. Gaskins joined a company named ‘Forethought’ and began working on PowerPoint by hiring a developer named Dennis Austin. Forethought was not the ideal place for such a venture because it was a failing Silicon Valley company. It turns out it became the ideal place for Gaskins to develop his software.

Early Development of PowerPoint - Robert Gaskins and the first UI interface of PowerPoint.

The initial release of PowerPoint for Mac and the acquisition by Microsoft

Originally designed for Apple’s Macintosh computers, the first version of PowerPoint was named “Presenter”, however, the name had to be scrapped due to Trademark issues and was later changed to PowerPoint in 1987. The developers of the initial release included Dennis Austin and Thomas Rudkin. The same year Microsoft bought the application for $14 million.

PowerPoint 1.0

PowerPoint 97 Releases with major upgrades

It can be arguably said that what made PowerPoint as the most widely sought presentation app was its version 97 release. PowerPoint 97 brought new changes to the old version with major upgrades. Earlier versions had linear presentations, whereas, the incorporation of Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) language allowed users to invoke pre-defined transitions and effects within a non-linear style, similar to a movie. The best part was that these transitions and effects required no programming knowledge by the end user.

PowerPoint 97

Evolution of PowerPoint between 1998 to 2010

From version 97 onwards, PowerPoint came up with new features and better templates that improved according to the different UIs and graphics introduced with the passage of time. Before there was the Modern UI, who can forget Windows 98 or Windows 2000 (especially if you are a child of the 90s), which now seems like a UI for a 16-bit game. However, it was not only the UI but other major features that evolved PowerPoint with the passage of time, including the improved Ribbon UI, better formatting tools, web integration, video and audio embedding features and more. PowerPoint releases for Microsoft Windows between 1999-2010 included PowerPoint 2000, 2002, 2003, 2007 and 2010 , whereas, the Mac versions between 1998-2010 included; PowerPoint 1998, 2001, X, 2004, 2008 and 2011.

PowerPoint From Version 2000 to 2010

PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

The latest version of PowerPoint for Mac (till date) is version 2011. PowerPoint 2011 came with increased efficiency and the ability to present presentations remotely, which was a feature geared towards professional users to help them improve communication and reduce travel costs. This feature is known as Broadcast Slide Show and enables the presenter to present presentations via the web without any other software.

PowerPoint 2011 For Mac

PowerPoint 2013 for Windows

The latest version of PowerPoint for Windows is PowerPoint 2013, which is compatible with Windows 7 and the Modern UI based Windows 8 operating systems. Other than compatibility with the conventional Office Suite, it also comes with the tablet version of Windows 8 called Office RT. You can find out more about PowerPoint 2013 from these posts:

  • New features Of Microsoft Office 2013
  • Download Microsoft Office 2013 Free Trial

Microsoft-Office-2013_thumb

Windows versions of PowerPoint (Timeline)

Below is a timeline of PowerPoint versions for Windows based operating systems, with logos of the most compatible versions of the Windows OS for the given versions of PowerPoint.

Timeline Of Windows Versions of PowerPoint

(Timeline Created With: Arrow Timeline Diagram PowerPoint Template )

Mac versions of PowerPoint (Timeline)

Below is a timeline of PowerPoint versions for Mac.

Timeline Of Mac Versions Of PowerPoint

(Timeline Created With: Free Simple Process Timeline Chart Template for PowerPoint )

PowerPoint for Mobile Devices

Recently, Microsoft has released various mobile variants for MS Office applications, including; MS PowerPoint. You can find out more about these apps from the following links:

  • Official Microsoft App Released For Android
  • Official Microsoft Office App Released For iOS
  • Getting Started With Office Mobile For Windows Phone
  • How To Install PowerPoint 2013 On Mobile Devices
  • Nokia Asha 501: Now With MS Word, Excel And PowerPoint

PowerPoint For Mobile Devices

Fan Facts about PowerPoint

Here are some unbelievable facts that about PowerPoint.

Who created PowerPoint?

PowerPoint was originally developed for Macintosh computers by Robert Gaskins and Dennis Austin in 1984. The name of the company that developed PowerPoint was Forethought, Inc., however, at that time the name was not PowerPoint, it was Presenter.

Who owns PowerPoint?

Since the acquisition of PowerPoint back in 1984, the owner of PowerPoint is Microsoft Corporation.

What was the original name of PowerPoint?

The original name for PowerPoint was “Presenter” and it was later changed to just “PowerPoint” to align with the naming convention of other Microsoft Office products.

When was the first version of PowerPoint released?

The first version of PowerPoint for Windows was released in 1987. In this same year, Microsoft purchased the rights to PowerPoint from Forethought, Inc.

Example of About PowerPoint interface in the first version of PowerPoint

What was the price paid by Microsoft in the acquisition of PowerPoint?

PowerPoint was originally released with the name “Presenter”, and it was available for the Apple Macintosh in 1987. In this same year, Microsoft Corporation ended purchasing the rights to PowerPoint for $14 million from Forethought, Inc.

How many languages are supported in PowerPoint?

PowerPoint is available in over 40 languages.

How many users have PowerPoint?

PowerPoint has over 1 billion users worldwide.

When was PowerPoint created?

Robert Gaskins and Dennis Austin created PowerPoint in 1987. If we consider the first release of PowerPoint as the foundation date, then PowerPoint was first released by Microsoft Corporation on April 20, 1987, and available for the Apple Macintosh computer.

Who created the built-in PowerPoint templates in Microsoft PowerPoint?

PowerPoint’s design templates have been created by professional designers and include over 60 themes and thousands of individual slide designs. Other professional slide templates can be found in sites such as SlideModel.

What was the longest PowerPoint presentation?

The record for the longest PowerPoint presentation is currently held by a group of students from Missouri, who presented for 139 hours straight in 2017.

In 2014, Ryan Allis delivered a presentation titled “Lessons from my 20’s” with 1286 slides ( source ).

The longest ever PowerPoint presentation with more than 1900 slides!

What is the default font in PowerPoint?

The default font in PowerPoint is Calibri, which replaced Times New Roman as the default font in Microsoft Office 2007.

What are some other fan facts about PowerPoint?

PowerPoint has a range of hidden features and shortcuts that can make it easier to use and save time.

PowerPoint has been used for a variety of non-presentation purposes, such as creating animations, designing websites, and even creating art.

The irony of PowerPoint

It’s quite an irony that Robert Gaskins’ PowerPoint attracted the first venture capital investment ever made by Apple, however, after the release of the Macintosh version of PowerPoint in 1987, it became one of the most significant acquisitions ever made by Microsoft. In fact, Microsoft even setup a business unit in Silicon Valley to further develop the application and Robert Gaskins headed the group for five whole years, further enhancing the PowerPoint application. Interestingly, 36 years later, over one billion computers worldwide run PowerPoint.

One comment on “ A brief History of PowerPoint (and Facts You Did Not Know) ”

this is good and learn many things

Leave a Comment Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

Sign up to our newsletter

We will send you our curated collections to your email weekly. No spam, promise!

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

How-To Geek

How to view and restore old versions of powerpoint files.

Accidentally deleted something important from a PowerPoint presentation?

Quick Links

Requirements, how to see older versions of your powerpoint presentations.

Microsoft PowerPoint lets you view and switch to older versions of your presentations. If you accidentally deleted something important and it got overwritten in PowerPoint, here's how to restore it.

Before you get started, make sure that you have a Microsoft 365 subscription. The ability to view and restore previous versions of PowerPoint presentations can be accessed only through a Microsoft 365 subscription.

Fortunately, this subscription also gives you access to all other Office apps, along with 1TB of OneDrive storage. You can put the cloud storage to good use by automatically saving your presentations to OneDrive.

Also, enabling auto-save  on PowerPoint is required for accessing version history. To do so, you'll need to create a new PowerPoint presentation and then turn the "AutoSave" switch on in the document's title bar. When PowerPoint shows you a confirmation pop-up, select "OneDrive."

Related: How to Automatically Save PowerPoint Presentations to OneDrive

Now that you've sorted out the basics, open PowerPoint and load any PowerPoint presentation. There are two ways to check version history here, and we'll show you both.

First, click "File" in the menu bar.

In the left pane, click "Info."

Click "Version History" on the right.

Alternately, you can click the file name at the top of the document that you've opened and select "Version History" from the pop-up menu.

No matter which method you choose, a new pane labeled "Version History" will open up on the right-hand side of your presentation in PowerPoint.

Microsoft PowerPoint sorts older versions of the document by date and time here. To load a previous version of the presentation, click the "Open version" button below the version that you need to go back to.

This will open a read-only file that shows an older version of your PowerPoint presentation. Right below the ribbon menu, you'll see a button labeled "Restore." Click it to go back to the previous version.

Note that this will overwrite your PowerPoint presentation. You can always repeat the same steps to visit the modified version of your document in case you want to copy any additional changes to the older version.

If you use Microsoft 365 apps frequently, you might also be interested in knowing how to restore previous versions of Excel workbooks or Word documents .

Related: How to View and Restore Previous Versions of a Word Document

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

Track changes in your presentation

Use the Compare tool in PowerPoint to compare and merge two different versions of a file.

In a collaboration scenario, you could send a review copy of a presentation to other people, collect their changes and comments in that copy, then use the Compare tool in PowerPoint to compare and merge the review copy with your original file. These steps are described in detail below.

Step 1: Send your presentation for review

Before people can review your presentation, it's a good idea to save the original copy, and then post a second copy for them to review. Saving the original will give you something to compare changes with when everyone’s done reviewing.

Create a draft of the presentation and save a hard copy.

Save another copy of your presentation with a different name to a shared location, such as OneDrive or SharePoint .

In OneDrive or SharePoint, right-click the file and select Copy Link to get a link you can send in email to your reviewers.

Ask reviewers to add comments to your slides and to add their feedback to the presentation.

Step 2: Compare and merge two versions of the same file

When everyone is done reviewing the presentation you shared, you can review the changes and merge it with the copy you saved of the original.

Open the original version of the presentation that you saved on your computer.

Click Review > Compare , and then click Compare .

In the Choose File to Merge with Current Presentation box, find the version of your presentation that you saved to the shared location, click it, and then click Merge .

Note:  The Revisions task pane opens to display all comments and changes made by reviewers.

If reviewers left comments in your presentation, you’ll see them under Slide Changes in the Revisions task pane.

Slide Changes

To read the comments in detail, at the bottom of the PowerPoint window, on the status bar, click Comments .

Note:  For details about working in the Comments task pane, see Tips for working in the Comments task pane  below.

If reviewers made changes to your presentation, you’ll see them under Presentation Changes in the Revisions task pane.

Presentation Changes

To see the details about a change in the body of the slide, click each list item.

View a change

Accept or reject changes made by others

To accept or reject a change made by a reviewer, do the following:

A change has been made

To reject a change, do nothing. Boxes that aren’t checked won’t be added to the presentation.

Tips for working in the Comments task pane

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

Need more help?

Want more options.

Explore subscription benefits, browse training courses, learn how to secure your device, and more.

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

Microsoft 365 subscription benefits

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

Microsoft 365 training

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

Microsoft security

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

Accessibility center

Communities help you ask and answer questions, give feedback, and hear from experts with rich knowledge.

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

Ask the Microsoft Community

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

Microsoft Tech Community

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

Windows Insiders

Microsoft 365 Insiders

Was this information helpful?

Thank you for your feedback.

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

Why I Prefer Google Slides to Microsoft PowerPoint

Quick links.

  • Ease of Collaboration
  • Offline Access
  • Integration With Other Google Tools
  • More Storage Space
  • Compatibility With PowerPoint
  • AI Features
  • Provide Detailed Version History
  • Customization Features and Template Options

PowerPoint and Google Slides are two popular options for presentations, but which one is best? As someone who has used both programs for a long time, I've found that Google Slides offers many advantages that make it my go-to choice.

Let's be clear: I'm comparing the web-based PowerPoint and Google Slides versions. It's unfair to compare Google Slides to the desktop version of PowerPoint, isn't it? Here are some reasons why Google Slides is my favorite presentation tool.

1. Ease of Collaboration

Ease of collaboration was the central reason I switched to Google Slides for my presentation needs. As a content creator, I always aim for a seamless collaboration experience while dealing with my clients and team members. Google Slides offered exactly that, and I was in love with it.

So, is Google Slides better than PowerPoint for collaboration? It certainly has advantages that make it an ideal choice for a lot of users.

With Google Slides, you can efficiently work with others and share your work , no matter what kind of computer or phone you use. If you have a Google account and the link to the presentation, you can join in and make changes simultaneously with other members.

In contrast, to collaborate in PowerPoint, you have to consider various external factors, such as the user's working device and storage locations. For example, you might not be able to easily collaborate with someone who has an older version of PowerPoint, or with someone using a PowerPoint mobile due to feature limitations. Some things that are restricted in the free web and mobile version compared to PowerPoint on desktop include limited commenting tags, editing options, and more.

Additionally, Google Slides also has built-in chat and commenting features. This feature allows all your team members to stay on the same page and communicate with each other to streamline editing. In PowerPoint, you're limited to comments only.

2. Offline Access

Another important reason for my switch to Google Slides is the offline access feature. With this feature, you can create, edit, and present presentations to others even without an internet connection. Any changes you apply offline are synced automatically once you're back online, so you can keep working even without an internet connection.

You can activate offline access by checking the offline mode option in your Google Drive settings.

Also, with Google Slides, you don't need software installed on your computer to access your presentations offline. However, Microsoft PowerPoint requires an internet connection to save changes to OneDrive storage. No internet, no autosave!

3. Integration With Other Google Tools

Switching to Google Slides is easy if you already use Google apps like Docs, Sheet, Meet, and Gmail. They all work well together. You can import charts and tables from Google Sheets into your presentations with just a few clicks. Any modifications to the original data in Google Sheets will automatically be reflected in your Google Slides presentation.

For example, on Google Slides, open the "Insert" tab and navigate to the "Chart" option. From there, click on the "From Sheets" option and import a chart from Google Sheets.

Furthermore, you can add Google Keep notes to your Slides and share your content in Google Meet with Smart Canvas without switching between tabs.

On the other hand, Microsoft PowerPoint integrates with other Microsoft tools, but it's not as seamless as Google Slides and has limited integration capabilities. For example, unlike Google Sheets, which updates data automatically in Slides, PowerPoint requires you to manual refresh to update Excel charts. This means you need to copy and paste the updated chart from Excel to PowerPoint.

4. More Storage Space

Google Slides offers more storage space through Google Drive. With a Google account, you get 15GB of storage shared across Google Photos, Drive, and Gmail. This is significantly more than what Microsoft offers with its free PowerPoint Web version, which only provides 5GB of OneDrive storage. If you create large presentations with many images or videos, Google's extra storage space can be a significant advantage.

Additionally, Google offers affordable plans to upgrade your storage if needed. For example, you can get 100GB of storage for a $20 annual fee, which is perfect for those who create and store a lot of presentations. However, it's important to note that pricing for additional storage might be different depending on your region.

For detailed information, it's best to check your plans manually by clicking the "Get More Storage" option in Drive.

5. Compatibility With PowerPoint

I know what you're thinking—what if I need to work with someone who only uses Microsoft PowerPoint? Fear not; Google Slides has got you covered. You can import and export PowerPoint presentations into Google Slides, making switching between the two platforms easy.

This feature has been a lifesaver for me when I work with my clients or colleagues who use PowerPoint. I can easily collaborate with them and edit their files without any hassle. After making changes, I can save the Google Slides file again as a PowerPoint file.

You can add your PowerPoint file to Google Slides by either uploading it on Drive or directly opening it from the File > Open option.

6. AI Features

You can also use Google AI tools like Gemini to improve your presentations. For example, the Gemini AI feature in Google Slides allows users to generate images and slides based on their prompts. You can access Gemini from the Slides side panel and input your prompts, such as "Create a slide about," and it will generate slides accordingly.

This feature lets you quickly add relevant and visually appealing presentation content without leaving the Google Slides platform. Using Gemini AI, you can also generate background images in various styles, such as Vector art, Photography, Watercolor, and others.

In contrast, Microsoft AI feature tools like Copilot are not available on the PowerPoint web version. To use Copilot and other AI features in PowerPoint requires a paid subscription to either Microsoft 365 or Copilot Pro.

7. Provide Detailed Version History

Both Google Slides and Microsoft PowerPoint allow you to view and restore previously edited versions of your presentation. However, Google Slides stands out with its detailed version history feature. This feature groups certain versions of your presentation together if you make multiple changes over a short period. This makes it easy to find and select the version you need. These group versions are displayed under the Version History panel.

Another notable feature of Google Slides is the ability to name the modified versions. This is quite useful when working on large documents with multiple collaborators, as it can take time to find the version you want, among many others. To rename a version, open the "Version History" panel, click the three-dot icon, and then select "Name This Version" from the dropdown menu.

Once you've named important versions of your presentation, you can filter them by selecting the "Named Versions" option from the drop menu. This will highlight only the renamed versions, along with the current version of the document, making it easy to locate the version you need.

8. Customization Features and Template Options

The web version of Microsoft PowerPoint has limited features compared to the PowerPoint desktop app, which can sometimes be helpful while designing presentations. For example, you can't insert charts or equations in the web version. Additionally, you can't add hyperlinks to pictures or shapes. On the other hand, you can add equations, charts, and hyperlinks to images in Google Slides.

While both platforms offer a good selection of templates, I prefer Google Slides because its templates are user-friendly and easy to customize. It also provides more flexibility when working with themes compared to the web version of PowerPoint.

Google Slides isn't a flawless tool, but for me and many other presentation creators, it not only gets the job done but also has some advantages over PowerPoint. Whether you're a student, team, or regular user, you can use it to make clear and effective presentations.

Why I Prefer Google Slides to Microsoft PowerPoint

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

Microsoft Learn Q&A needs your feedback! Learn More

May 20, 2024

Microsoft Learn Q&A needs your feedback!

Want to earn $25 for telling us how you feel about the current Microsoft Learn Q&A thread experience? Help our research team understand how to make Q&A great for you.

Find out more!

Contribute to the Microsoft 365 and Office forum! Click  here  to learn more  💡

April 9, 2024

Contribute to the Microsoft 365 and Office forum!

Click  here  to learn more  💡

PowerPoint Forum Top Contributors: Steve Rindsberg  -  John Korchok  -  Bob Jones AKA: CyberTaz   ✅

May 10, 2024

PowerPoint Forum Top Contributors:

Steve Rindsberg  -  John Korchok  -  Bob Jones AKA: CyberTaz   ✅

  • Search the community and support articles
  • Microsoft 365 and Office
  • Search Community member

Ask a new question

Is there any way to open a PowerPoint presentation file from 1996 using MS Office 365? Or are there other methods?

The file thumbnail correctly displays the first slide, yet we cannot open it, even using safe mode and disabling add-ins. Thanks in advance!

  • Subscribe to RSS feed

Report abuse

Reported content has been submitted​

Replies (2) 

  • Microsoft Agent |

Apologies for the inconvenience caused and please don’t worry, let’s work together on your concern and move towards a resolution path.

As per the description shared, I understand your concern and to my knowledge, we can open the old format presentations either via double-clicking or File> Open, but since you are not able to open the old format presentation, I would like to request you to share the old presentation with us via uploading it to any cloud location such as OneDrive and provide the link with us to access it.

In addition, I will keep this thread open so that PowerPoint MVPs and experts in this community can share their ideas on this concern.

Appreciate your patience and understanding. Have a great day!!

Best Regards,

Was this reply helpful? Yes No

Sorry this didn't help.

Great! Thanks for your feedback.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback, it helps us improve the site.

Thanks for your feedback.

Steve Rindsberg

  • Volunteer Moderator

Files past a certain age can't be opened in current versions of Office.

If you have a considerably older version available, say PPT 2003, it should be able to open the file, then save it to a new file that current versions can open. Finding 20+ year old software lying around's probably a non-starter, though, so instead try having an online service like Zamzar convert the PPT to PPTX.

ISTR that OpenOffice/LibreOffice can open older version files as well. Worth a try if Zamzar doesn't help.

Question Info

  • For business
  • Norsk Bokmål
  • Ελληνικά
  • Русский
  • עברית
  • العربية
  • ไทย
  • 한국어
  • 中文(简体)
  • 中文(繁體)
  • 日本語

How to create a timeline in PowerPoint

Timeline in PowerPoint 365

You can use a similar predefined SmartArt graphic (see how to create a timeline using SmartArt ):

Timeline using SmartArt in PowerPoint 365

To create a timeline chart like this one, do the following:

   1.   On the Insert tab, in the Illustrations group, select Shapes :

Shapes in PowerPoint 365

   2.   In the Shapes list, in the Basic Shapes group, choose the Moon shape:

Basic shapes in PowerPoint 365

   3.   Rotate the added shape: to do that, select the shape and do one of the following:

Rotated shape in PowerPoint 365

   4.   Add the rectangle shape (from the same Rectangle group) and position it to hide the half of the moon shape:

Two shapes in PowerPoint 365

   5.   Subtract the rectangle shape from the moon shape (see how to combine shapes to create a custom shape ):

Half moon shape in PowerPoint 365

   6.   Add the arrow shape or the triangle shape to create an arrow:

Arrow shape in PowerPoint 365

   7.   Select both shapes and union them. Also, you can add new small round shapes to show the different distances between milestones in your timeline:

Glossy arrow shape in PowerPoint 365

Note: Before adding milestone labels, group all objects for the arrow (when you will add pictures for milestones, you may need to change the arrow by stretching a bit or just moving).

   8.   For each milestone, do the following:

   8.1.   Add a shape from Callouts (on the Insert tab, in the Illustrations group, click the Shapes dropdown list):

Collouts shapes in PowerPoint 365

In this example, it has been used Callout: Line with No Border :

Two shapes in PowerPoint 365

   8.2.   Right-click on the shape and choose Format Shape... in the popup menu:

Format shape in popup in PowerPoint 365

   8.3.   On the Format Shape pane, on the Shape Options tab, in the Fill & Line group, in the Fill section, select the Picture or texture fill checkbox and then click Insert... button:

Insert file in Format Picture pane PowerPoint 365

   8.4.   In the Insert Pictures dialog box, choose the picture location, select the picture file, and then click Open or Insert :

Insert picture in PowerPoint 365

   8.5.   Position the shape and line of the shape:

Collouts line to shape in PowerPoint 365

   8.6.   Add the text box with the year and position it to the appropriate milestone:

Timeline milestones in PowerPoint 365

   9.   Add any other adjustments to your slide.

See also this tip in French: Comment créer une ligne du temps dans PowerPoint .

Please, disable AdBlock and reload the page to continue

Today, 30% of our visitors use Ad-Block to block ads.We understand your pain with ads, but without ads, we won't be able to provide you with free content soon. If you need our content for work or study, please support our efforts and disable AdBlock for our site. As you will see, we have a lot of helpful information to share.

How to create a timeline in PowerPoint

How to create an out of bound effect in PowerPoint

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

Introducing Copilot+ PCs

May 20, 2024 | Yusuf Mehdi - Executive Vice President, Consumer Chief Marketing Officer

  • Share on Facebook (opens new window)
  • Share on Twitter (opens new window)
  • Share on LinkedIn (opens new window)

Copilot plus PC main art

An on-demand recording of our May 20 event is available .

Today, at a special event on our new Microsoft campus, we introduced the world to a new category of Windows PCs designed for AI, Copilot+ PCs.    

Copilot+ PCs are the fastest, most intelligent Windows PCs ever built. With powerful new silicon capable of an incredible 40+ TOPS (trillion operations per second), all – day battery life and access to the most advanced AI models, Copilot+ PCs will enable you to do things you can’t on any other PC. Easily find and remember what you have seen in your PC with Recall, generate and refine AI images in near real-time directly on the device using Cocreator, and bridge language barriers with Live Captions, translating audio from 40+ languages into English .  

These experiences come to life on a set of thin, light and beautiful devices from Microsoft Surface and our OEM partners Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, Lenovo and Samsung, with pre-orders beginning today and availability starting on June 18. Starting at $999, Copilot+ PCs offer incredible value.  

This first wave of Copilot+ PCs is just the beginning. Over the past year, we have seen an incredible pace of innovation of AI in the cloud with Copilot allowing us to do things that we never dreamed possible. Now, we begin a new chapter with AI innovation on the device. We have completely reimagined the entirety of the PC – from silicon to the operating system, the application layer to the cloud – with AI at the center, marking the most significant change to the Windows platform in decades.  

YouTube Video

The fastest, most secure Windows PCs ever built  

We introduced an all-new system architecture to bring the power of the CPU, GPU, and now a new high performance Neural Processing Unit (NPU) together. Connected to and enhanced by the large language models (LLMs) running in our Azure Cloud in concert with small language models (SLMs), Copilot+ PCs can now achieve a level of performance never seen before. They are up to 20x more powerful [1] and up to 100x as efficient [2] for running AI workloads and deliver industry-leading AI acceleration. They outperform Apple’s MacBook Air 15” by up to 58% in sustained multithreaded performance [3] , all while delivering all-day battery life.  With incredible efficiency, Copilot+ PCs can deliver up to 22 hours of local video playback or 15 hours of web browsing on a single charge. [4] That is up to 20% more battery in local video playback than the MacBook Air 15”. [5]

Windows now has the best implementation of apps on the fastest chip, starting with Qualcomm. We now offer more native Arm64 experiences than ever before, including our fastest implementation of Microsoft 365 apps like Teams, PowerPoint, Outlook, Word, Excel, OneDrive and OneNote. Chrome, Spotify, Zoom, WhatsApp, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom, Blender, Affinity Suite, DaVinci Resolve and many more now run​ natively on Arm to give you great performance with additional apps, like Slack, releasing later this year. In fact, 87% of the total app minutes people spend in apps today have native Arm versions. [6] With a powerful new emulator, Prism, your apps run great, whether native or emulated.

Every Copilot+ PC comes secured out of the box. The Microsoft Pluton Security processor will be enabled by default on all Copilot+ PCs and we have introduced a number of new features, updates and defaults to Windows 11 that make it easy for users to stay secure. And, we’ve built in personalized privacy controls to help you protect what’s important to you. You can read more about how we are making Windows more secure here .

Entirely new, powerful AI experiences   

Copilot+ PCs leverage powerful processors and multiple state-of-the-art AI models, including several of Microsoft’s world-class SLMs, to unlock a new set of experiences you can run locally, directly on the device. This removes previous limitations on things like latency, cost and even privacy to help you be more productive, creative and communicate more effectively.  

Recall instantly  

We set out to solve one of the most frustrating problems we encounter daily – finding something we know we have seen before on our PC. Today, we must remember what file folder it was stored in, what website it was on, or scroll through hundreds of emails trying to find it.   

Now with Recall, you can access virtually what you have seen or done on your PC in a way that feels like having photographic memory. Copilot+ PCs organize information like we do – based on relationships and associations unique to each of our individual experiences. This helps you remember things you may have forgotten so you can find what you’re looking for quickly and intuitively by simply using the cues you remember. [7]

You can scroll across time to find the content you need in your timeline across any application, website, document, or more. Interact intuitively using snapshots with screenray to help you take the next step using suggested actions based on object recognition. And get back to where you were, whether to a specific email in Outlook or the right chat in Teams.

Recall leverages your personal semantic index, built and stored entirely on your device. Your snapshots are yours; they stay locally on your PC. You can delete individual snapshots, adjust and delete ranges of time in Settings, or pause at any point right from the icon in the System Tray on your Taskbar. You can also filter apps and websites from ever being saved. You are always in control with privacy you can trust.

Cocreate with AI-powered image creation and editing, built into Windows

Since the launch of Image Creator, almost 10 billion images have been generated, helping more people bring their ideas to life easily by using natural language to describe what they want to create. Yet, today’s cloud offerings may limit the number of images you can create, keep you waiting while the artwork processes or even present privacy concerns. By using the Neural Processing Units (NPUs) and powerful local small language models, we are bringing innovative new experiences to your favorite creative applications like Paint and Photos.

Combine your ink strokes with text prompts to generate new images in nearly real time with Cocreator. As you iterate, so does the artwork, helping you more easily refine, edit and evolve your ideas. Powerful diffusion-based algorithms optimize for the highest quality output over minimum steps to make it feel like you are creating alongside AI. Use the creativity slider to choose from a range of artwork from more literal to more expressive. Once you select your artwork, you can continue iterating on top of it, helping you express your ideas, regardless of your creative skills.

Restyle image

Take photo editing and image creation to the next level. With Restyle Image, you can reimagine your personal photos with a new style combining image generation and photo editing in Photos. Use a pre-set style like Cyberpunk or Claymation to change the background, foreground or full picture to create an entirely new image. Or jumpstart your next creative project and get visual inspiration with Image Creator in Photos. On Copilot+ PCs you can generate endless images for free, fast, with the ability to fine tune images to your liking and to save your favorites to collections.

Innovative AI experiences from the creative apps you love

We are also partnering with some of the biggest and most-loved applications on the planet to leverage the power of the NPU to deliver new innovative AI experiences.

Together with Adobe, we are thrilled to announce Adobe’s flagship apps are coming to Copilot+ PCs, including Photoshop, Lightroom and Express – available today. Illustrator, Premiere Pro and more are coming this summer. And we’re continuing to partner to optimize AI in these apps for the NPU. For Adobe Creative Cloud customers, they will benefit from the full performance advantages of Copilot+ PCs to express their creativity faster than ever before.

Adobe photo

DaVinci Resolve Studio    

Effortlessly apply visual effects to objects and people using NPU-accelerated Magic Mask in DaVinci Resolve Studio.  

DaVinci Resolve Studio screenshot

Remove the background from any video clip in a snap using Auto Cutout running on the NPU in CapCut.  

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

Stay in your flow with faster, more responsive adaptive input controls, like head movement or facial expressions via the new NPU-powered camera pipeline in Cephable.  

Cephable app screenshot

LiquidText  

Make quicker and smarter annotations to documents, using AI features that run entirely on-device via NPU, so data stays private in LiquidText. 

LiquidText screenshots

Have fun breaking down and remixing any music track, with a new, higher-quality version of NeuralMix™ that’s exclusive to NPU in Algoriddim’s djay Pro.  

djay NeuralMix screenshot

Connect and communicate effortlessly with live captions  

In an increasingly connected and global world, Windows wants to bring people closer together. Whether catching up on your favorite podcast from a different country, or watching your favorite international sports team, or even collaborating with friends and colleagues across the world, we want to make more content accessible to more people.   

Live Captions now has live translations and will turn any audio that passes through your PC into a single, English-language caption experience, in real time on your screen across all your apps consistently. You can translate any live or pre-recorded audio in any app or video platform from over 40 languages into English subtitles instantly, automatically and even while you’re offline. Powered by the NPU and available across all Copilot+ PCs, now you can have confidence your words are understood as intended.   

New and enhanced Windows Studio Effects  

Look and sound your best automatically with easily accessible controls at your fingertips in Quick Settings. Portrait light automatically adjusts the image to improve your perceived illumination in a dark environment or brighten the foreground pixels when in a low-light environment. Three new creative filters (illustrated, animated or watercolor) add an artistic flare. Eye contact teleprompter helps you maintain eye contact while reading your screen. New improvements to voice focus and portrait blur help ensure you’re always in focus.   

Copilot, your everyday AI companion

Copilot screenshot

Every Copilot+ PC comes with your personal powerful AI agent that is just a single tap away on keyboards with the new Copilot key. [8] Copilot will now have the full application experience customers have been asking for in a streamlined, simple yet powerful and personal design. Copilot puts the most advanced AI models at your fingertips. In the coming weeks, get access to the latest models including GPT-4o from our partners at OpenAI, so you can have voice conversations that feel more natural.

Advancing AI responsibly

At Microsoft, we have a company-wide commitment to develop ethical, safe and secure AI. Our responsible AI principles guided the development of these new experiences, and all AI features are aligned with our standards. Learn more here .

New Copilot+ PCs from Microsoft Surface and our partners

We have worked with each of the top OEMs — Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Samsung — and of course Surface, to bring exciting new Copilot+ PCs that will begin to launch on June 18. Starting at $999, these devices are up to $200 less than similar spec’d devices [9] .

Surface plays a key role in the Windows ecosystem, as we design software and hardware together to deliver innovative designs and meaningful experiences to our customers and fans. We are introducing the first-ever Copilot+ PCs from Surface: The all-new Surface Pro and Surface Laptop.

Surface Pro and Surface Laptop

The new Surface Laptop is a powerhouse in an updated, modern laptop design with razor-thin bezels, a brilliant touchscreen display, AI-enhanced camera, premium audio, and now with a haptic touchpad.

Choose between a 13.8” and 15” display and four stunning colors. Enjoy up to 22 hours of local video playback on Surface Laptop 15” or up to 20 hours on Surface Laptop13.8” on top of incredible performance and all-new AI experiences.

The new Surface Pro is the most flexible 2-in-1 laptop, now reimagined with more speed and battery life to power all-new AI experiences. It introduces a new, optional OLED with HDR display, and ultrawide field of view camera perfect for Windows Studio Effects. The new Surface Pro Flex Keyboard is the first 2-in-1 keyboard designed to be used both attached or detached. It delivers enhanced stability, with Surface Slim Pen storage and charging integrated seamlessly, as well as a quiet, haptic touchpad. Learn more here.

New Copilot+ PCs from the biggest brands available starting June 18:

  • Acer : Acer’s Swift 14 AI 2.5K touchscreen enables you to draw and edit your vision with greater accuracy and with color-accurate imagery. Launch and discover AI-enhanced features, like Acer PurifiedVoice 2.0 and Purified View, with a touch of the dedicated AcerSense button.
  • ASUS : The ASUS Vivobook S 15 is a powerful device that brings AI experiences to life with its Snapdragon X Elite Platform and built-in Qualcomm® AI. It boasts 40+ NPU TOPS, a dual-fan cooling system, and up to 1 TB of storage. Next-gen AI enhancements include Windows Studio effects v2 and ASUS AiSense camera, with presence-detection capabilities for Adaptive Dimming and Lock. Built for portability, it has an ultra-slim and light all-metal design, a high-capacity battery, and premium styling with a single-zone RGB backlit keyboard.
  • Dell : Dell is launching five new Copilot+ PCs, including the XPS 13, Inspiron 14 Plus, Inspiron 14, Latitude 7455, and Latitude 5455, offering a range of consumer and commercial options that deliver groundbreaking battery life and unique AI experiences. The XPS 13 is powered by Snapdragon X Elite processors and features a premium, futuristic design, while the Latitude 7455 boasts a stunning QHD+ display and quad speakers with AI noise reduction. The Inspiron14 and Inspiron 14 Plus feature a Snapdragon X Plus 1and are crafted with lightweight, low carbon aluminum and are energy efficient with EPEAT Gold rating.
  • HP : HP’s OmniBook X AI PC and HP EliteBook Ultra G1q AI PC with Snapdragon X Elite are slim and sleek designs, delivering advanced performance and mobility for a more personalized computing experience. Features include long-lasting battery life and AI-powered productivity tools, such as real-time transcription and meeting summaries. A 5MP camera with automatic framing and eye focus is supported by Poly Studio’s crystal-clear audio for enhanced virtual interactions.
  • Lenovo : Lenovo is launching two AI PCs: one built for consumers, Yoga Slim 7x, and one for commercial, ThinkPad T14s Gen 6. The Yoga Slim 7x brings efficiency for creatives, featuring a 14.5” touchscreen with 3K Dolby Vision and optimized power for 3D rendering and video editing. The T14s Gen 6 brings enterprise-level experiences and AI performance to your work tasks, with features including a webcam privacy shutter, Wi-Fi 7 connectivity and up to 64GB RAM.
  • Samsung : Samsung’s new Galaxy Book4 Edge is ultra-thin and light, with a 3K resolution 2x AMOLED display and Wi-Fi 7 connectivity. It has a long-lasting battery that provides up to 22 hours of video playback, making it perfect for work or entertainment on the go.

Learn more about new Copilot+ PCs and pre-order today at Microsoft.com and from major PC manufacturers, as well as other leading global retailers.

Start testing for commercial deployment today

Copilot+ PCs offer businesses the most performant Windows 11 devices with unique AI capabilities to unlock productivity, improve collaboration and drive efficiency. As a Windows PC, businesses can deploy and manage a Copilot+ PC with the same tools and processes used today including IT controls for new features and AppAssure support. We recommend IT admins begin testing and readying for deployment to start empowering your workforce with access to powerful AI features on these high-performance devices. You can read more about our commercial experiences here .

Neural Processing Units

AI innovation across the Windows ecosystem  

Like we’ve always done with Windows, we have built a platform for our ecosystem partners to build on.  

The first Copilot+ PCs will launch with both the Snapdragon® X Elite and Snapdragon® X Plus processors and feature leading performance per watt thanks to the custom Qualcomm Oryon™ CPU, which delivers unrivaled performance and battery efficiency. Snapdragon X Series delivers 45 NPU TOPS all-in-one system on a chip (SoC). The premium integrated Qualcomm® Adreno ™ GPU delivers stunning graphics for immersive entertainment. We look forward to expanding through deep partnerships with Intel and AMD, starting with Lunar Lake and Strix Point. We will bring new Copilot+ PC experiences at a later date. In the future we expect to see devices with this silicon paired with powerful graphics cards like NVIDIA GeForce RTX and AMD Radeon™, bringing Copilot+ PC experiences to reach even broader audiences like advanced gamers and creators.  

We are at an inflection point where the PC will accelerate AI innovation. We believe the richest AI experiences will only be possible when the cloud and device work together in concert. Together with our partners, we’re setting the frame for the next decade of Windows innovation.  

[1] Based on snapshot of aggregated, non-gaming app usage data as of April 2024 for iGPU-based laptops and 2-in-1 devices running Windows 10 and Windows 11 in US, UK, CA, FR, AU, DE, JP.

[2] Tested April 2024 using Phi SLM workload running 512-token prompt processing in a loop with default settings comparing pre-release Copilot+ PC builds with Snapdragon Elite X 12 Core and Snapdragon X Plus 10 core configurations (QNN build) to Windows 11 PC with NVIDIA 4080 GPU configuration (CUDA build).

[3] Tested May 2024 using Cinebench 2024 Multi-Core benchmark comparing Copilot+ PCs with Snapdragon X Elite 12 core and Snapdragon X Plus 10 core configurations to MacBook Air 15” with M3 8 core CPU / 10 Core GPU configuration. Performance will vary significantly between device configuration and usage.

[4] *Battery life varies significantly by device and with settings, usage and other factors. See aka.ms/cpclaims*

[5] *Battery life varies significantly based on device configuration, usage, network and feature configuration, signal strength, settings and other factors. Testing conducted May 2024 using the prelease Windows ADK full screen local video playback assessment under standard testing conditions, with the device connected to Wi-Fi and screen brightness set to 150 nits, comparing Copilot+ PCs with Snapdragon X Elite 12 core and Snapdragon X Plus 10 core configurations running Windows Version 26097.5003 (24H2) to MacBook Air 15” M3 8-Core CPU/ 10 Core GPU running macOS 14.4 with similar device configurations and testing scenario.

[6] Based on snapshot of aggregated, non-gaming app usage data as of April 2024 for iGPU-based laptops and 2-in-1 devices running Windows 10 and Windows 11 in US, UK, CA, FR, AU, DE, JP.

[7] Recall is optimized for select languages (English, Chinese (simplified), French, German, Japanese, and Spanish.) Content-based and storage limitations apply. Learn more here .

[8] Copilot key functionality may vary. See aka.ms/keysupport

[9] Based on MSRPs; actual savings may vary

Tags: AI , Copilot+ PC

  • Check us out on RSS

history of microsoft powerpoint presentation

COMMENTS

  1. Microsoft PowerPoint

    It is a presentation program capable of reading and editing Microsoft PowerPoint presentations, although authoring abilities are limited to adding notes, editing text, and rearranging slides. It can't create new presentations. ... PowerPoint release history Date Name Version System Comments April 1987: PowerPoint 1.0 Macintosh Shipped by ...

  2. Complete History of PowerPoint & Versions (2022)

    Contents. On April 20, 1987, the first version of PowerPoint was released. Because we love the software so much (and we know many of you readers do, too!), we wanted to celebrate PowerPoint's 33rd birthday with a whole article dedicated to its origins, history, and use cases! 95% of presentations are created with PowerPoint, 30 Million ...

  3. Microsoft PowerPoint

    Microsoft PowerPoint, virtual presentation software developed by Robert Gaskins and Dennis Austin for the American computer software company Forethought, Inc. The program, initially named Presenter, was released for the Apple Macintosh in 1987. In July of that year, the Microsoft Corporation, in its first significant software acquisition, purchased the rights to PowerPoint for $14 million.

  4. A Brief History of Microsoft PowerPoint: Origination & Where it Is Today

    The first version of Powerpoint - first called Presenter, but later renamed because of copyright issues - was developed by Bob Gaskins and Dennis Austin, a University of California-Berkeley PhD student in 1984. The startup he worked for at the time was acquired by Microsoft soon after in 1987, and the first version of the software under the ...

  5. PowerPoint Version History and Evolution To This Day [2022]

    3. PowerPoint version history. PowerPoint has undergone a metamorphosis over the years and that's obvious. A lot of things have changed and clients have become more demanding. Let's see how each version looks like. Pre-Office Era. PowerPoint's time before it was added to the "elite group" of Microsoft Office tools was very interesting.

  6. Presenting: PowerPoint, a retrospective

    As Microsoft 365 celebrates ten years of Office apps on the cloud, let's take a look at the history of PowerPoint, one of the cornerstones of Microsoft's software suite.. What was the point of PowerPoint? When PowerPoint came onto the scene, most group presentations in classrooms and conference rooms used overhead projectors.

  7. Slide Logic: The Emergence of Presentation Software and the ...

    Oral history interview with Shawn Villaron, PowerPoint manager at Microsoft, date, forthcoming/in process. Indeed, a wonderfully helpful list of presentation software offerings from 1986 compiled by Robert Gaskins, the initiator and architect of the original PowerPoint project, can be found on pages 131-134 of his painstakingly detailed and ...

  8. The Improbable Origins of PowerPoint

    The technology in question was PowerPoint, the presentation software produced by Microsoft. The speaker was Colin Powell, then the U.S. Secretary of State. The speaker was Colin Powell, then the U ...

  9. How Microsoft PowerPoint Began: A Brief History on PPT

    Microsoft PowerPoint happened. Its revolutionary and innovative approach to creating presentations gave it an edge over its more than thirty competitors. Its timing with the booms of both the Apple and Windows operating systems—primitive as they were—cemented its growth. And its fundamental function hosted other uses it wasn't intended ...

  10. PDF Beginnings of PowerPoint

    They started building the software system from the ground up: operating system, graphics, user interface toolkit, and even fonts. Robert Campbell, president of Forethought during the development of PowerPoint. Rob and Taylor Pohlman founded Forethought in 1983.

  11. A brief history of PowerPoint

    By 2010, Microsoft announced that PowerPoint had been installed on a billion computers worldwide. A study done in 2012 reported PowerPoint held approximately a 95% share of the presentation software market, eclipsing competitors such as Apple Keynote, Google Presentations, and Prezi. PowerPoint's continued domination may be down to the ...

  12. The History of PowerPoint

    So here's the history of PowerPoint, from 1987 to present day. But first let's jump ahead a bit…. It's 2003. The then U.S. Secretary of State, Colin Powell, walks onto the stage to deliver a speech to the United Nations Security Council. Using PowerPoint as a tool of persuasion, he presents a compelling argument in support of the Bush ...

  13. What Is Microsoft PowerPoint?

    Microsoft PowerPoint is a slideshow presentation program first developed by Forethought, Inc. for the Macintosh computer in 1987 and purchased by Microsoft in 1990. Microsoft has released several updated versions, each offering more features and incorporating better technology than before. The most current version of Microsoft PowerPoint is ...

  14. The history of microsoft

    The history of microsoft. Jan 21, 2014 • Download as PPTX, PDF •. 18 likes • 15,862 views. Jo Patrick Mabelin. The history of microsoft. Education Technology Business. 1 of 35. Download now. The history of microsoft - Download as a PDF or view online for free.

  15. A Brief History of Microsoft PowerPoint

    Microsoft PowerPoint is the world's number one presentation software with a 95% market share, but it wasn't always this way. It was originally created by Sil...

  16. Before PowerPoint: The Evolution of Presentations

    When PowerPoint was introduced in 1987, presentations changed forever. It wasn't long before the presentation software took over and tools like overhead projectors and slide carousels became storage room trash. Before slides were designed on computers, they were made by hand. It took several days to design a slide deck and it was really ...

  17. PDF the History of PowerPoint

    A P R I L. PowerPoint 1.0 for Mac was black-and-white-only, and was rst available on 20th April 1987 (on oppy disk of course). Two days after release, all 8000 copies in stock had been sold ...

  18. A Brief History of PowerPoint (and Facts You Did Not Know)

    PowerPoint was developed by a former Berkeley Ph.D. student known as Robert Gaskins. His idea was to develop an easy-to-use presentation program based on a series of slides. As is the case with most successful ventures, PowerPoint had the most humble beginning from a place one wouldn't have fancied as the best place to make the most ...

  19. PowerPoint Version

    PowerPoint version is the version of Microsoft PowerPoint, which we have to date. MS PowerPoint is a presentation application made by Robert Gaskins and Dennis Austin in a Software Company Forethought Inc. and was released on April 20, 1987, for Mac Operating Systems. ... and history of powerpoint along with an explanation. You may also have a ...

  20. The History of PowerPoint

    A brief pictorial timeline of the history of PowerPoint - the program we at Slidesho adore.

  21. How to View and Restore Old Versions of PowerPoint Files

    There are two ways to check version history here, and we'll show you both. First, click "File" in the menu bar. In the left pane, click "Info." Click "Version History" on the right. Alternately, you can click the file name at the top of the document that you've opened and select "Version History" from the pop-up menu.

  22. Track changes in your presentation

    Click Review > Compare, and then click Compare. In the Choose File to Merge with Current Presentation box, find the version of your presentation that you saved to the shared location, click it, and then click Merge. Note: The Revisions task pane opens to display all comments and changes made by reviewers. If reviewers left comments in your ...

  23. History Powerpoint Templates and Google Slides Themes

    Transport Your Audience With Free History Presentation Slides. Medieval Europe, Ancient China, feudal Japan-whatever your time period, there's a template for it in this stunning collection. Cruise through the annals of culture and context with lively slides that drive your points home and spark curiosity in learners.

  24. Why I Prefer Google Slides to Microsoft PowerPoint

    Both Google Slides and Microsoft PowerPoint allow you to view and restore previously edited versions of your presentation. However, Google Slides stands out with its detailed version history feature.

  25. Microsoft PowerPoint

    PowerPoint es uno de los programas de presentación más extendidos. Es ampliamente utilizado en distintos campos de la enseñanza, los negocios, entre otros, según cifras de Microsoft. 1 . Es un programa diseñado para hacer presentaciones con texto esquematizado, así como presentaciones en diapositivas, animaciones de texto e imágenes ...

  26. Microsoft

    Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational corporation and technology company headquartered in Redmond, Washington. Microsoft's best-known software products are the Windows line of operating systems, the Microsoft 365 suite of productivity applications, and the Edge web browser. Its flagship hardware products are the Xbox video game consoles and the Microsoft Surface lineup of ...

  27. Is there any way to open a PowerPoint presentation file from 1996

    If you have a considerably older version available, say PPT 2003, it should be able to open the file, then save it to a new file that current versions can open. Finding 20+ year old software lying around's probably a non-starter, though, so instead try having an online service like Zamzar convert the PPT to PPTX.

  28. How to create a timeline in PowerPoint

    You can use a similar predefined SmartArt graphic (see how to create a timeline using SmartArt ): To create a timeline chart like this one, do the following: 1. On the Insert tab, in the Illustrations group, select Shapes : 2. In the Shapes list, in the Basic Shapes group, choose the Moon shape: 3. Rotate the added shape: to do that, select the ...

  29. Introducing Copilot+ PCs

    New Copilot+ PCs from Microsoft Surface and our partners. We have worked with each of the top OEMs — Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Samsung — and of course Surface, to bring exciting new Copilot+ PCs that will begin to launch on June 18. Starting at $999, these devices are up to $200 less than similar spec'd devices [9].

  30. Microsoft Word

    Microsoft Word est un logiciel de traitement de texte publié par Microsoft . La version la plus récente est Word 2021 . Sa première version a été distribuée en 1983 sous le nom de Multi-Tool Word (« Multi-Outil de traitement de texte ») pour le système d'exploitation Xenix qui était une version du système Unix à la fin des années 1970. Des versions ultérieures furent écrites ...