A list of articles discussing the impact of a reliance on PowerPoint® and bullet-point based communication.
November 2009 update: I started building this list in 1998 and updated it reasonably regularly. However other things in life have taken priority and over time, the amount of news on the evil’s of PPT has diminished. Over the years I’ve received many complimentary emails and requests for further information. I believe the project was included on some college and university required reading lists. It has been fun and I’ve added a final batch of collected links and have taken down the RSS & ATOM feeds and converted to HTML5.
- September 2009 – Jason Santa-Maria: Make Yourself Presentable.
- August 2009 – Frog Design: Design Mind: Power to Prezi!
- August 2009 – BBC: The problem with PowerPoint.
The trouble is that PowerPoint makes it so easy to put detailed written and numerical information on slides that it leads presenters into the mistaken belief that all the detail will be successfully transmitted through the air into the brains of the audience.
- March 2008 – Wired: SXSW: Fun With PowerPoint at BattleDecks II.
- February 2008 – Rands in Repose: Out Loud.
I am reading this out loud to no one in particular.
- April 2008 – Rethinking the Presentation.
- April 2007 – Sydney Morning Herald: Research points the finger at PowerPoint
- April 2007 – Slashdot: PowerPoint Bad For Learning and Information Aesthetics: powerpoint bad for brains
- February 2007 – The Age: Executive Style: Bad PowerPoint
- February 2007 – Juice Analytics: A Breakup Letter.
Sadly, it has come to this: I need to see other applications.
- February 2007 – Presentation Zen: Bullets and “delusional” briefing slides
- February 2007 – Now What: 10 best ways to lie with metrics
- January 2007 – Presentation Zen: Film explores the omnipresent PowerPoint culture in search of its philosophical potential.
- December 2007 – Juice Analytics: 8 Ideas for Better Slides.
- November 2007 – Perceptual Edge: InfoVis 2007 — An encouraging trend.
Another consideration is that PowerPoint or Keynote slides, when filled with text, even in the form of short bullet points, don’t communicate effectively.
- November 2007 – Presentation Zen: Two decades of PowerPoint: Is the world a better place?
A lot of people in business have given up writing the documents. They just write the presentations, which are summaries without the detail, without the backup. A lot of people don’t like the intellectual rigor of actually doing the work.
- August 2003 – David Byrne on PowerPoint with an updated comment on June 22, 2007.
- June 2007 – Juice Analytics: Persuasive Presentations
Flufferpoint def (Withrop Hayes): A presentation that attempts to distract from the lack of substantive content or evidence with use of screenbeans, clip art, and other stock pictures or illustrations. A.k.a. clipterfuge (Todd Moy), clusterpoint (Cathy), The Macy’s Data Day Fluff Parade (Jamel).
- June 2007 – Freakonomics: Don’t Hate PowerPoint; Hate the PowerPointers
- June 2007 – Freakonomics: Really Bad PowerPoint, Part II
- May 2007 – Information Aesthetics: powerpoint presentation humor.
- April 2007 – Presentation Zen: Is it finally time to ditch PowerPoint?
The use of the PowerPoint presentation has been a disaster. It should be ditched.
- April 2007 – Presentation Zen: David Byrne on PowerPoint: Freedom – who needs it?
You can’t blame it on PowerPoint. …You see it on the TV news, everything’s filled with graphics and icons — it has the illusion of content but there’s very little being communicated.
- April 2007 – Presentation Zen: PowerPoint: sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying.
- March 2007 – Soldiers for the Truth: On War #209: Conversations (Google cache)
- Terry Thompson, DO-IT, University of Washington: PowerPoint & Friends: Accessible Slides On The Web
- NC State University: Accessible PowerPoint - Publishing on the Web.
- December 2006 – The Age: Is PowerPoint headed for Question Time?
- December 2006 – Information Aesthetics: powerpoint in parliament.
so it is now dangerous to have slideshows designed by ‘experts in communication’?
- December 2006 – Presentation Zen: Slideshare and the “slideumentation” of presentations.
- November 2006 – Subtraction: Training Keynote Thinkers. How an alternative to PowerPoint rescues the slideshow as a tool for designers.
The Anti-Design Tool — For designers, though, there’s nothing quite as offensive as PowerPoint.
- November 2006 – Daily Athenaeum: Technology isn’t the key to quality education.
- November 2006 – Boston.com: U R not listening.
So a battle is underway: PowerPoint vs. BlackBerry. This is the Iran-Iraq war of passive aggression — whom to root for?
- November 2006 – Moneyweb: PowerPoint pet peeves. Originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal – Cubicle Culture – Jared Sandberg: Tips for PowerPoint: -Go Easy on the Text -Please, Spare Us. Rebuttal at Blogging Stocks: PowerPoint: it’s not that bad!
Another PowerPoint truism inflating its popularity: Your own PowerPoints don’t smell.
- November 2006 – Tim Bray: Making Presos.
- November 2006 – Washington Post: Flaws Cited in Effort To Train Iraqi Forces
I went there with the wrong attitude and I thought I understood Iraq and the history because I had seen PowerPoint slides, but I really didn’t.
- November 2006 – BloggingStocks: PowerPoint: it’s not that bad!
- November 2006 – Guardian: Not OK computer - Whiteboard wizards would be better off with a book.
I am sick, sick, sick to death of PowerPoint, and sick of sitting at inset days being shown a set of slides with bullet points and having them read to me very ... very ... slowly. “Look,” my inner voice shouts, “I am a graduate professional. I can read. Give me the handouts and I’ll have them digested in two minutes. It shouldn’t take the whole school staff two hours in an inferno of boredom for you to make three salient points.”
- November 2006 – Ajaxian: TonicPoint: Ajax Powerpoint with SVG/VML
- October 2006 – Times Online: Plagiarism ‘is fault of indulgent lecturers’.
PLAGIARISM and cheating by today’s cut-and-paste generation of university students will never be stamped out unless lecturers stop spoon-feeding them a diet of handouts and PowerPoint presentations, a leading academic said yesterday.
- October 2006 – ScienceCareers.org: Mastering Your Ph.D.: Giving a Great Presentation.
- October 2006 – ars technica: Are teachers and computers responsible for plagiarism?
There is a culture of expectation among today’s students. They just take whatever is put in their hands, be it a handout or a PowerPoint presentation. That way you end up boiling down complex things to three bullet points.
- October 2006 – The University of Western Ontario, Western News: The simple game of teaching.
…I generally believe that PowerPoint is the spawn of Satan. It breeds passivity in the students and it disconnects the speaker from the audience. (It also encourages professors to reduce their deepest, most private thoughts on teaching to a few bullet points.)
- September 2006 – Business Day: Beware: bullet points can kill.
That kind of loss of productivity is usually associated with stress, absenteeism and disease. In fact, at least one CEO thinks PowerPoint is a disease.
- September 2006 – ComputerWorld: Bullet points and how to kill an audience. When pitching to CEOs, the key to success is to not get too technical and to keep slide shows brief, two CIOs say.
- September 2006 – ZDNet.com: HP execs: Hear no evil. See no evil. Have the fun? Interesting article that implies that HP executives routinely ignored or forgot specific PowerPoint presentations prepared for them in the recent board room spying scandal.
- September 2006 – Woman Dentist Journal: Power Writing.
Bullets are one of the most powerful persuaders in a letter. The same philosophy applies to a presentation. Too often, I evaluate presentations that have miles of PowerPoint visuals filled with paragraphs of information. The audience becomes numb from data.
- September 2006 – Russell Davies: five things about powerpoint. Embedded YouTube video (8 minutes 45 seconds) where Russell provides PowerPoint tips from the point of view of an Ad Planner.
- September 2006 – Low Morale: ‘Bapapapap’ PowerPoint Presentation, 457 slides [SWF]. Flash animation that captures the despair of death by PowerPoint.
- September 2006 – Philadelphia Inquirer: For students, lessons in patience.
But the cool graphics, easy bullet points, and animated headings that are so appealing can mask an absence of in-depth reflection on complex material.
- August 2006 – Les Posen: Powerpoint, Obedience and Conformity: Why do smart people feel compelled to use Powerpoint when it’s no longer “best practice”? If it ever was…
- August 2006 – PC World: 78 ways to make software do more: PowerPoint.
- August 2006 – itWorldCanada.com: Seven secrets of power presentations.
- August 2006 – Law.com: Legal Technology – Five Tips to Punch Up Your PowerPoint Trial Presentation.
- August 2006 – Edward Tufte “Beautiful Evidence”: Several articles reviewing Tufte’s latest book and include reference to his views on PowerPoint — Santa Cruz Sentinal: Chris Watson, Bookends: How good design deepens our understanding of the world, International Herald Tribune: Heralding clarity in a cluttered world of information, National Public Radio: Edward Tufte, Offering 'Beautiful Evidence', Slashdot: Edward Tufte Talks information Design and Presenation Zen: Is it broken?
- August 2006 – Edward Tufte: Lousy PowerPoint presentations: The fault of PP users?
- August 2006 – Stanford Daily: All jobs are the same – Trying to think in bullet points.
So, as tedious as the alignment of bullet points is, it still matters. A lot. No matter if you’re talking crap; they’ll remember a sparkling presentation with bells and whistles far more readily than anything resembling genuine innovation.
- August 2006 – Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Thomas E. Ricks. Thomas E. Ricks, the author of Fiasco interviewed by Jon Stewart.
- August 2006 – Arms and influence: Death by PowerPoint. Further detail and analysis on the book Fiasco by Thomas E. Ricks whose WNYC podcast is referred to below. Further comment at Crooked Timber: PowerPoint Corrupts the Point Absolutely and Presentation Zen: PowerPoint printouts used for communicating battle plans?.
- August 2006 – Business Intelligence Network: Beautiful Evidence: A Journey Through the Mind of Edward Tufte. Review of Edward Tufte’s new book Beautiful Evidence including the chapter “The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint: Pitching Out Corrupts Within”.
- August 2006 – Wired: How To: Get Ahead. Rock the Podium: Writer / blogger Cory Doctorow’s pointers for speaking in public – without making a fool of yourself.
3. Don’t read from PowerPoint slides like they’re cue cards. If you must use them, keep the text short (two words and a picture).
- July 2006 – WNYC New York Public Radio: The Leonard Lopate Show: Military Accounts – In Fiasco, Washington Post Pentagon correspondent Thomas E. Ricks describes the frustrations of the senior military officers who went on-the-record with him to criticize the war in Iraq [MP3 download] [MP3 stream]. At the 30:11 point in the podcast there is a short discussion on the ‘PowerPoint-ification of military briefings and why it has had real consequences’.
- July 2006 – Ask ET: Retina communicates to brain at 10 million bits per second: Implications for evidence displays?
The average PowerPoint slide contains 40 words, which take less 10 seconds to read. Call that 1000 bits per second, which comes to 1/10,000 of the routine human retina-brain data capacity.
- July 2006 – INQ7.net: The Long View. Rootin’ tootin’ regime.
As our society assumes an even greater technocratic orientation — preferring PowerPoint to the mental exertion required of listening to a speech devoid of visual aids, or reading reports or essays not in the form of bullet points — the idea that leaders can inspire, not by appealing to ideals and non-scientific principles will increase.
- July 2006 – icWales: PowerPoint causes a Tory row in Assembly.
It’s fine for committees, but plenary is sacrosanct and it shouldn’t have this sort of management-course showmanship.
- July 2006 – OhmyNews: At War With the Mother of All Blobs. PowerPoint has become the first resort of slackers and lowbrows.
- July 2006 – Bloomberg.com: Too Bad You̱ve Lived to Experience PowerPoint: Andrew Ferguson.
Like so many technological innovations — think of TV versus newsprint as a means of conveying accurate, or at least testable, information — PowerPoint in practice represents a regression rather than an advance.
- June 2006 – Metropolitan News-Enterprise: Jury Awards $15 Million to Woman Injured in Crash With Sheriff’s Deputy.
Parris said that Atkinson’s PowerPoint techniques, coupled with streamlined themes and language, had an “extraordinary effect” on closing arguments, enabling him to make a highly persuasive presentation about the suffering Marroquin endured and will continue to face.
The closing presentation, which cost over $60,000 to put together, focused the jury’s attention by using just one word and picture per slide rather than a wordy summary of facts in bullet-form, Parris said. Rather than undercut jurors’ focus on objectively analyzing legal issues, the graphic media presentation did precisely the opposite, the lawyer explained.
- June 2006 – Australian IT: No shortcuts to project success.
Long on PowerPoint slides and fluffy advice about what needs to happen (and nine tenths of this guidance consists of recycled flow charts restating the bleeding obvious) but short on evidence and detailed information on how to really do those things, which is of course the hard part.
- June 2006 – Chronicle Careers: Weird Is Good.
Instead of revolutionizing academic presentations, PowerPoint has — and this is a true miracle — dulled them further.
- June 2006 – DNA: Do you suffer from Presentation Burnout?
…survey suggests that most business executives suffer from presentation fatigue, a direct result of the vast amounts of time they spend preparing for and giving presentations each month.
- June 2006 – American Scientist: Taking Pictures. Interview with distinguished research astronomer Alyssa Goodman re: issues in the visual representation of science.
- June 2006 – BusinessWeek: How to PowerPoint Like a Pro.
POWERPOINT POISONING. …I asked him to walk through the entire presentation. I wished I hadn’t. More than one hour and 72 slides later, I thought I was physically going to pass out, gripping the conference room desk to keep from doing so.
- May 2006 – InfoWorld.com: Web-based alternatives to PowerPoint and follow-up articles The politics of presentation software and Web-based presentation software, continued.
- May 2006 – Federal Computer Week FCW.com: Welles: Powering up your points. PowerPoint has forever changed how people give presentations – for good or ill.
Some research shows that many uses of PowerPoint reduce rather than enhance understanding…
- May 2006 – The Boston Globe: Clicking early with PowerPoint. Across the Bay State, grade-schoolers gain a high-tech advantage. Also at IndyStar.com: Kids click and create – Students have fun putting together PowerPoint projects and azcentral.com: Powerpoint replaces poster board in school presentations. More horror stories from the classroom where hooking kids early and ensuring that poor communication is expected as the norm. Photos of the little minds being corrupted particularly sad.
- April 2006 – Advanced Titan (The Student Newspaper of the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh): Professors should be involved, engaged in teaching.
Stop paying so much attention to your slides that you don’t notice raised hands in the classroom.
- April 2006 – PressClipping: Fixing PowerPoint Annoyances: Smart Solutions for PowerPoint Challenges. O’Reilly Books: Fixing PowerPoint Annoyances.
- April 2006 – Indystar.com: PowerPoint view of life leaves much out of focus (also at Winston-Salem Journal).
People who make policy prefer a PowerPoint world.
- April 2006 – TMCnet.com: Software can’t repair sheer hot air: Yet PowerPoint is trendy way to say little at great length. Also at The News & Observer.
- April 2006 – The Daily Princetonian: University’s zeal for technology may intrude on education.
For me, the most troubling application of technology on this campus is the widespread use of PowerPoint in teaching.
- April 2006 – Sydney Morning Herald: Evil power has a point.
No wonder the planet is in trouble. If, on average, each presentation lasts an hour, and each sends 10 people to sleep or stuns their minds with an overkill of multi-coloured pie charts and graphics that makes them think they have ridden a motorbike into a locust swarm, PowerPoint could be reducing world productivity by 300 million man-hours a day.
- April 2006 – LA Times: Making a (Power)Point of Not Being Tiresome. Cliff Atkinson turns ordinary slides into a more engaging tool using a three-act storytelling structure.
- February 2006 – Gary Turner: No Signal. “Think of this as a wholesome, good karma form of industrial sabotage”.
- December 2005 – Guy Kawasaki: The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint.
…I am trying to evangelize the 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint. It’s quite simple: a PowerPoint presentation should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font smaller than thirty points.
- November 2005 – mamamusings: the culture of “the deck”.
There are many things I’ve been delighted and impressed by during the nearly five months I’ve now spent at Microsoft. However, there have also been a few things that I’ve found extraordinarily disheartening. One of the latter has been the organizatational dependence on “the deck“ (that is, Powerpoint files) as the standard mechanism for conveying nearly all information.
- November 2005 – Abstract Dynamics: PowerPoint. There are at least 3 key functions to powerpoint presentations and they are often in conflict.
- November 2005 – Financial Times: Who moved my business book?
The bullet-point architecture has become so dominant that we take it for granted. It is easy to forget that business books have not always resembled PowerPoint presentations.
- October 2005 – Sydney Morning Herald: Bullet for Bullets (requires free registration).
Lessig is a PowerPoint impressionist. He doesn’t hammer his audience with bullet points. He uses single words, or perhaps half a dozen, to illustrate or emphasise a point. The effect is almost like animation, and keeps the audience trained on the continuing exposition rather than getting lost in all those bullet points.
- October 2005 – New York Times: The Ethicist - My Amendments (requires free registration).
Since writing that column, I’ve been told that this teacher also requires PowerPoint for some assignments, melding (if true) bad ethics with worse pedagogy: in lieu of actual thinking, students are perhaps being taught to reduce nuanced ideas to three bullet points.
- 2005 – Till Voswinckel: Presentational Visualisation | Towards An Imagery-based Approach Of Presentation Visuals [PDF]. A scientific treatment of the subject in a detailed thesis from Till – Thanks Till!
- September 2005 – Banner of Truth – Biblical Christianity Through Literature: Powerpoint And All Its Works.
Powerpoint flattens everything to the same emotional level. The thunderings of Sinai, the crossing of the Red Sea, the raising of Lazarus, the cursed anathema and darkness of Golgotha, the furnace of hell, the beseechings of the gospel are all reduced to three bullet points and a bar chart. How will a pulpit that thinks in no more than three bullet points ever move a congregation by the incredible news of the incarnation of God the Son?
- September 2005 – TechRepublic Blog: PowerPoint is the work of the devil. Talks about the productivity issue of content vs. fluff.
- September 2005 – The Oklahoma Daily: Classroom technology overrated. Overview on the use of PowerPoint in the classroom.
- September 2005 – Babson Free Press: The Ten Commandments for Powerpoint Presentations.
- September 2005 – Edward Tufte: PowerPoint Does Rocket Science. An excerpt from upcoming Edward Tufte book, chapter title “PowerPoint Does Rocket Science: Assessing the Quality and Credibility of Technical Reports”.
- September 2005 – gilest.org: I’ll send you a deck.
He sent me a deck - a PowerPoint file, each slide within it groaning with information, fonts squeezed tiny so it would all fit. How anyone could ever take anything from this while watching this guy make a presentation was beyond me.
- September 2005 – Apple Matter: PowerPoint Kills Brain Cells.
- August 2005 – Washington Post: PowerPoint: Killer App?
The deeper problem with the PowerPointing of America — the PowerPointing of the planet, actually — is that the program tends to flatten the most complex, subtle, even beautiful, ideas into tedious, bullet-pointed bureaucratese.
- August 2005 – IT AsiaOne: Putting the power back into PowerPoint.
“This means that 150 million bullet points fly in from the left on a blue background every day. It’s not very effective. We’re not the only ones who don’t like bullet points.“
- August 2005 – Times Online: Guest contributors: When I see the three bullet points I’m off like a shot.
But Powerpoint is utterly arrogant. After a friend gave a Powerpoint presentation at his own wedding, tongue-in-cheek but not quite hilarious, I learnt to give speeches without slides.
- May 2005 – Infectious Greed: Presentation Excellence. Overview of Tom Peters presentation tips including a link to his Presentation Excellence [PPT].
- May 2005 – Mac Observer: Former Apple Employee Uses Keynote to Evangelize Presentation Design in Japan. Interview with Garr Reynolds that is somewhat relevant.
- May 2005 – Stuff: The strain of speaking out.
… don’t put your notes on screen, don’t overload people with text and then talk over it and “banish bullet points” – just don’t use them. Use images and graphics that back up your point.
- May 2005 – The Age: Want to lose the point? Derivative article drawing on Tufte and Norvig (requires free registration).
- April 2005 – Sydney Morning Herald: Technology bites back (requires free registration).
PowerPoint has affected business, substituting real thought with animations and bullet points.
- March 2005 – Marketing Today: The Five Deadly Sins of Presentations.
- March 2005 – strategy+business: Point or Shoot (requires free registration). Why you should learn to love PowerPoint and the 2x2 matrix.
- March 2005 – The Oregonian: David Byrne makes his Point. A rock star aims his creative powers at, of all things, PowerPoint. Further commentary – Toronto Star: The art of PowerPoint, New University: Using PowerPoint Analyzed by Artist & SFGate.com: David Byrne explores the artistic possibilities of PowerPoint in Berkeley lecture.
- February 2005 – The Onion: Project Manager Leaves Suicide PowerPoint Presentation. Humour.
- February 2005 – John F. Raffensperger: The Gettysburg Address PPT, Raffensperger version.
… I thought Norvig’s presentation was trivial, and did not do the software product justice. I casually thought I could make a better presentation of the Gettysburg Address, a PPT that would look a little more refined. I also felt a bit of academic curiosity. How can we use modern PC tools to present complicated information? A friend challenged me to try.
- November 2004 – Jeffrey Veen: Death By AutoContent which references The PowerPoint Presentation and Its Corollaries: How Genres Shape Communicative Action in Organizations [PDF].
- November 2004 – UC Berkeley News: Bullet-point cinémathèque. What to do with a technology that trivializes content and bores people rigid? Make art! (See November entry “Berkeley University: Powerpoint to the People™”).
- October 2004 – BBC Radio 4: Microsoft PowerPoint and the Decline of Civilisation [MP3]. Thanks to K. Yost for helping out with this entry.
- October 2004 – Berkeley University: Powerpoint to the People™, a PowerPoint competition.
- September 2004 – CIO.com: How to Wow Your Board of Directors.
- August 2004 – The Chronicle Review: The Scholarly Lecture: How to Stand and Deliver summarised by Signal vs. Noise.
PowerPoint is for sissies ... PowerPoint is the triumph of the quick “fact” over the art of argumentation.
- August 2004 – The Straits Times Interactive: Powerpoint is > just bullets and text.
- August 2004 – Signal vs. Noise: A little Tufte recap.
Don’t use bulletpoints.
- August 2004 – HR Gateway: A infinite number of management guru monkeys.
When you meet these people at conferences and seminars, they smarmily say: ‘I’ve just written a new book’. No you haven’t you prat! You’ve produced another book of lists, which are a print version of your PowerPoint slides that you’ve just finished boring us with!
- August 2004 – Intelligent Enterprise: Common Mistakes in Data Presentation.
- August 2004 – The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century: The Breakup Style of PowerPoint with comments by Clay Shirky at Many-to-Many.
Of the people who told me that they were dumped via email, all of their boyfriends worked white-collar jobs in which they either sat through or made PowerPoint presentations.
- August 2004 – Ray Unger: PowerPoint mentality masks good news.
- August 2004 – The San Diego Union-Tribune: Successful leaders use stories to engage employees.
- July 2004 – eWeek: Brainstorming Tool Puts PowerPoint to Shame.
It’s an accepted fact that using Microsoft PowerPoint during a meeting immediately lowers the IQ of all present by about 20 points.
- July 2004 – informIT: Creating Presentations with OperaShow.
- July 2004 – PC Magazine: Showtime Follies.
The PowerPoint road show presentation lives on, despite maltreatment of the art form by occasionally clueless presenters.
- June 2004 – Times Online: Death by bullet points.
- June 2004 – Patti Wood: Six Trade Secrets For Great Speaking.
3. Don’t use PowerPoint on the computer as the first step in the creative process to write your speech. The little dot is not inspirational. The sequential bullet steps actually engage your critical left hemisphere. The left hemisphere loves to edit old information and the critical brain makes it harder for you to come up with new information.
- June 2004 – MediaPost Communications: Einstein’s Corner: Square Pegs in Round Holes.
The question centers on what our default reliance on it does to our ability to communicate little but critical things like nuance and personality. Or truth.
- June 2004 – StarTribune: Wilbers: Making your point more powerful.
- June 2004 – New York Lawyer: The Perils of Pestering Partners With PowerPoint.
...am I the only one who just can’t get enough of these all too rare PowerPoint presentations?
- May 2004 – Fortune: How Much PowerPoint Is Enough?
- May 2004 – Fortune: PowerPoint Secrets: These tricks will earn you props at your next sales presentation.
- May 2004 – SearchCIO.com: Face-off: PowerPoint vs. PowerPoint.
PowerPoint has become the enemy of clarity.
- May 2004 – norman.walsh.name: Color Me Un-Impress-ed.
Instead I point, click, drag, type, point, click, drag, type, pull-down, click, pull-down, click, type, pull-down click, pull-down, point, click, type, point, click, type, return, tab, type, return, type, return, untab, type, point, click, point, lash around clicking wildly with the mouse because I can’t figure out how the %*&#@!? to get a hold of the object I want to delete, click, delete, point, click, delete, pull-down, click. click. Scream! That’s the first few lines of the first slide written.
People get work done this way!? Madness!
- May 2004 – Chicago Sun Times: NASA scientists told to bite the bullet point.
- May 2004 – KVOA 4: For many kids, technology seems elementary.
PowerPoint presentations? Can’t be any harder than an X-Box game.
- June 2004 – Worthwhile Magazine: The Real Role of PowerPoint.
- June 2004 – Harvard Business School: PowerPoint, Robomanagers, and You: The Growing Intimacy of Technology.
- April 2004 – MCPmag.com: How PowerPoint Is Like Melvin.
- March 2004 – “Die Macht der bunten Bilder” [GERMAN] with an English summary “The Power of Colored Pictures”.
- March 2004 – beliefnet: Survey: Protestant Churches Becoming More Contemporary with more at The Baptist Standard: Worship survey shows changing trends.
Just 5 percent of Protestant churches used computer graphics presentations such as PowerPoint at least once a month five years ago. Today, such displays are used in 36 percent of churches.
- March 2004 – Undercover Media: David Byrne Wins Award For Powerpoint Presentation.
- March 2004 – The Seattle Times: Apreso extends the reach of ubiquitous PowerPoint.
It should be clear that PowerPoint will soon become the primary method we use for telling stories, making pitches and even teaching children.
- March 2004 – Sydney Morning Herald: Beyond the blackboard.
“Some of my students were getting C’s and D’s in previous years,” he says. “But with the use of PowerPoint, they can get B’s and A’s – especially the boys, who are often more visual.”
- March 2004 – Corporate Board Member: How Directors Should Redesign Their Job.
We would like to see less time taken up with the ubiquitous PowerPoint presentations, carefully rehearsed by the executive group, because we feel such show-and-tell sessions don’t allow the directors to really engage in a discussion, nor do they permit the board to assess the caliber of the executive running the business.
- February 2004 – Sydney Morning Herald: PowerPoint rules university’s self-paced training.
- February 2004 – The Dartmouth Online: High-tech classrooms irk some profs, delight others.
- February 2004 – Jeffrey Veen: Seven Steps to Better Presentations.
Be sober - Not kidding. No lunch time martini’s. Save the celebrating for after the presentation.
- January 2004 – The Financial Express: Of The Medium And The Message.
“I need someone well versed in the art of torture,” the interviewer says. “Do you know PowerPoint?”
- January 2004 – sociable media: Don Norman on PowerPoint Usability: Interview with Cliff Atkinson via IDblog: Norman on PowerPoint (which has a pointer to this resource – thanks!).
- January 2004 – infosophy / mentor: Does PowerPoint make us stupid? — using actor-network theory.
Maybe it is the immediate relevant context (organization, corporation, society, etc) that has been dumbed-down enough that simple presentation tools like PowerPoint suffice?
- January 2004 – David Byrne’s PowerPoint Art.
- January 2004 – MarketingProfs.com: How to Gain Control of Your PowerPoint
- December 2003 – Associated Press: Talking Heads singer finds unlikely inspiration in PowerPoint (with same story at CNN: Does PowerPoint make us stupid?) and Slashdot thread.
- December 2003 – The Globe and Mail: A Christmas Carol: What is it. We present the quintessential Christmas tale in the quintessential modern format: A PowerPoint Christmas Carol.
- December 2003 – MSNBC: The Epistemology of David Byrne. The man behind a new book and PowerPoint presentation is not your average Talking Head.
- December 2003 – ADTmag.com: PowerPoint Doesn’t Make You Dumb and Slashdot thread.
- December 2003 – New York Times: PowerPoint Makes You Dumb (requires free registration) (CHINAdaily syndication).
Perhaps PowerPoint is uniquely suited to our modern age of obfuscation – where manipulating facts is as important as presenting them clearly.
- December 2003 – The Australian: Give gobbledegook the bullet point.
Last week, my nine-year-old got a certificate for “giving a confident PowerPoint presentation.”
- December 2003 – Wired: Turning Heads With PowerPoint.
- December 2003 – eWeek: Perception Is Reality.
The space limitations of PowerPoint promote a telegraphic style that paves the way for ambiguity.
- December 2003 – MarketingProfs.com: PowerPoint Presentations Online: No! Stop! Don’t!
- December 2003 – PowerPoint – Good or Bad?
- November 2003 – Office of Arts and Sciences Information Services (Oasis): PowerPointless Presentations.
- November 2003 – MAYA Design: Evil Genius (The Good Side of PowerPoint).
- November 2003 – Inf@vis: PowerPoint: anathema or boon? See Conceptual Presentations (April 2003) and Information Graphics (January 2002) for more information.
- November 2003 – Slashdot: The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. Review of Tufte’s book that includes commentary on his criticism of PowerPoint.
- November 2003 – Canadian Business Magazine: PowerPoint of no return.
To millions of execs, it’s a helper, a security blanket, a teleprompter. But if powerpoint is so great, why do so many presentations stink?
- November 2003 – Toronto Star: Countering ‘death by PowerPoint’.
- November 2003 – Colorado State Collegian: PowerPoint presentations has potential to hurt education.
- November 2003 – azcentral.com: Here’s how to polish your presentations.
- November 2003 – Design Observer: The Dispassionate Statistician – Part I and The Dispassionate Statistician – Part II.
- November 2003 – itbusiness.ca: The politics of PowerPoint.
For the most part, we just don’t need slideware. It’s redundant, distracting and coercive. It eliminates what little interaction remains between the speaker and the audience, and makes it far too easy for both parties to stop paying attention.
- November 2003 – Australian Financial Review: Death by slides: say it, don’t show it.
These slide outlines are dumbing down corporate prose because few people can write an insightful analysis in brief bullet points.
- November 2003 – The Australian: Give us verbs, not dot points.
- October 2003 – Communication Partners: “The Great Man Has Spoken? Now What Do I Do?” A Response to Edward R. Tufte’s The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint.
- September 2003 – New York Times: The Level of Discourse Continues to Slide (requires free registration).
Is there anything so deadening to the soul as a PowerPoint presentation? When the bullets are flying, no one is safe..
- September 2003 – Business 2.0: Kung Fu Secrets of the PowerPoint Masters (subscription required).
Most slide presentations are as excruciating as a badly dubbed chopsocky action flick. So we sought help from the black belts of this mysterious craft.
- September 2003 – Contact Sheet – The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint. Analysis of Tufte’s essay including ‘Tufte Versus Nielsen’, ‘User-centered design’ and ‘Tufte & The Columbia Accident Investigation Board’.
- September 2003 – Wired: PowerPoint Is Evil
Power Corrupts. PowerPoint Corrupts Absolutely.
- September 2003 – Wired: Learning to Love PowerPoint. For artist and musician David Byrne, the medium is the message. David discusses Envisioning Emotional Epistemological Information, a book of artwork done with the ubiquitous presentation software PowerPoint. Edward Tufte responds.
- August 2003 – rodcorp: Powerpoint Bad/Good.
- August 2003 – Inc.com: Grist: More Power Than Point via Techdirt.
Which came first on the evolutionary ladder, stupidity or PowerPoint?
- August 2003 – Ask ET: Report of Columbia Accident Investigation Board: The Boeing PowerPoint Slide.
The Board views the endemic use of PowerPoint briefing slides instead of technical papers as an illustration of the problematic methods of technical communication at NASA.
- August 2003 – sippey.com: stop blaming the tool.
- August 2003 – Ask ET: PowerPoint and Military Intelligence.
- July 2003 – tesugen.com: Two entries relating to Richard Feynman’s observations on the use of bullets in communication - I’m reading Richard Feynman’s What… & From Feynman’s What Do You…
- July 2003 – VentureBlog: Putting the “Power” in PowerPoint.
Larry is one of the most extraordinary PowerPoint virtuosos I’ve seen. It’s not just the white-on-black typewriter font. He uses phrases as anchors into his talk: the slides are signposts that let you glance up and pull out key words and ideas from his talk.
- June 2003 – Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu: Bullfighter: Stripping the Bull out of Business. PowerPoint plug-in software that works like the spelling and grammar checker that focuses on jargon and readability.
- June 2003 – Textism: Stalin’s Bullet Point (re: Tufte).
But, as a hilarious collection of pot-shots at the ludicrous meatgrinder of ideas that is PowerPoint, it is one satisfying read.
- May 2003 – PowerPoint Remix: Edward R. Tufte’s “The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint” presented in the form of a PowerPoint presentation.
- May 2003 – Rant, Rant, Rant.
The problem I have with PowerPoint (PP) is when people use it to archive information, because not only is that not PP’s strong suit, it is, in fact, antithetical to PP’s goal as a tool (which is to help real-time human communication).
- May 2003 – Business 2.0: Unplug That Projector! Edward Tufte says PowerPoint has ruined business presentations (subscription required).
- May 2003 – The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint by Edward Tufte. [GOOGLE].
- April 2003 – VentureBlog: PowerPoint: Just Don’t Unimpress Us.
- March 2003 – Ask ET: Edward Tufte on Columbia Evidence—Analysis of Key Slide. [GOOGLE].
- March 2003 – To Do or Not To Do: PowerPoint.
My take on this is that PowerPoint doesn’t kill creativity; people kill creativity.
- February 2003 – Ask ET: Dilberts’ PowerPoint poisoning.
On the left Dilbert says “As you can clearly see on slide 397 ...” Finally, Wally diagnoses: “PowerPoint poisoning!”
- February 2003 – Powerpoint is evil.
- January 2003 – Julia Keller: Is PowerPoint the devil? with commentary here. [GOOGLE].
- January 2003 – Wired: Military Faces Bandwidth Crunch.
"“Some say that 70 percent of that bandwidth was consumed by PowerPoint briefings,” Lord joked.
- January 2003 – notes on powerpoint.
- January 2003 – Classic PowerPoint Presentations.
- 2003 – Think Outside the Slide: What is the REAL Cost of Poor Presentations? and Are We Wasting $250 Million per Day Due to Bad PowerPoint?
- October 2002 – The power of Point and The PowerPoint Anthology of Literature.
- September 2002 – Boxes and Arrows: Understanding PowerPoint: Special Deliverable #5.
- September 2002 – Wired: Of PowerPoint and Pointlessness.
One of the criticisms that’s been raised about PowerPoint is that it can give the illusion of coherence and content when there really isn’t very much coherence or content
- September 2002 – Microsoft: Ten Tips for Creating Effective PowerPoint Presentations.
- June 2002 – Ask ET: Satirical treatment of Powerpoint which links to The Chaser’s Executive presents PowerPoint eulogy at mother’s funeral.
- June 2002 – Noise Between Stations: PowerPoint
The text will be at a typeface impossible to read from the audience, wherever that is, so people will be forced to either listen to me or daydream.
- June 2002 – click to add title: PowerPoint as God Intended is a PowerPoint competition. The rules can be found here [PPT]. A description of the competition is at A Powerful Point. The challenge at I Am The Best Artist. Additional coverage at Bruner Blog: Truth, Beauty and PowerPoint, kottke.org: The PowerPoint battle is joined, dive into mark: The Tao of Powerpoint, Aaron Swartz: It’s a fight to the...er...boredom?, Boing Boing: PowerPoint Tennis, vanderwal.net, mrbarrett.com, The Shifted Librarian: Ding Ding and Standing in a Virtual Line for Front Row Seats!, harrumph, prosaic*.
- April 2002 – Ask ET: Powerpoint.
Remember when you were at school – ‘Death by Blackboard’ ......... then came ‘Death by Overhead Projector’, and now we tend to go for Death by ‘Powerpoint’. It has the same effect.
- 2001 – Seth Godin: Really BAD PowerPoint (and how to avoid it) [PDF].
- December 2001 – Presentations.com: Don’t force PowerPoint to do another program’s job.
- November 2001 – dooce.com: PowerPoint Me to the Nearest Sledgehammer
- October 2001 – The Wired World of Brian Billick: Part I, Part 2 & Part 3. Related discussion at Metafilter.com: PowerPoint invades the NFL.
- October 2001 – Power! Point? Make it work for you! by Ian Shoales.
- October 2001 – Fast Company: Can This Off-Site Be Saved?
Sin #3: Investing too much power in PowerPoint.
“If I could, I would enforce a worldwide ban on that software,” Thompson says. “Every time we work with executives, we try to get them to do without slides. It’s like getting a toddler to give up his blanket.”
- October 2001 – Really Bad PowerPoint (and How to Avoid It).
- July 2001 – PowerPoint: How to Avoid Overkill By Carol L. Schlein.
- June 2001 – The Word Spy – PowerPointlessness.
- June 2001 – Darwin Online: Is PowerPoint Too Dumb for Words?.
Microsoft’s ubiquitous presentation software, is coming under fire from critics, who say it:
- Dumbs down presentations
- Discourages thoughtful discourse
- Bores people to tears.
- June 2001 – Asiaweek.com: PowerPointless.
- May 2001 – Absolute Powerpoint – Can a software package edit our thoughts [PDF] by Ian Parker. See also buzz.weblogs.com, Textism I, Textism II, peterme.com.
Before there were presentations, there were conversations, which were a little like presentations but used fewer bullet points, and no one had to dim the lights.
- May 2001 – Edward Tufte sounds off on PowerPoint.
- May 2001 – New York Times: PowerPoint Invades the Classroom (requires free registration).
Learning, One Bullet Point at a Time; Pupils Who Can’t Even Spell ‘PowerPoint’ Can Use It as Slickly as Any C.E.O.
- March 2001 – Baltimore City Paper: PowerPointless
I know a woman who disciplines her children with PowerPoint briefing charts.
- February 2001 – Fortune: Ban It Now! Friends Don’t Let Friends Use PowerPoint from 2001. Related discussion at Metafilter.com: Powerpoint.
- April 2000 – ZDNet: Pentagon cracks down on ... PowerPoint from 2000.
“This is my PowerPoint. There are many like it, but mine is [PowerPoint] 97. ... I will learn it as a brother. I will learn its weaknesses, its fonts, its accessories and its formats ... My PowerPoint and myself are the defenders of my country. We are the masters of our subject. We are the saviors of my career.”
- October 2000 – Star-Telegram.com: Are we entering an era of ‘slideware’? from 2000.
“Really, all hell has broken loose,” said Douglas Eymer, the creative director at Partners & Simons, a Boston-based marketing communications firm that works with many startups. “It used to be that designing a business presentation was a slow, deliberate process. Now anyone can create a PowerPoint presentation very quickly, and the design standards have really been dulled down.”
- September 2000 – Scoring Power Points.
- May 2000 – PowerPointless: Unrealistic Backlash or Valid Gripe?
- May 2000 – abcnews.com: The ‘PowerPoint’ Bug. – Army Battles Own Computer Problem: AV Enthusiasm. See also The PowerPoint Ranger Creed (animated) and The Power Point Creed (text).
Many senior military officials recount tales of “mind-numbing” briefings consisting of dozens of Powerpoint charts which nobody in the room really understands.
- February 2000 – Presentations.com: PowerPoint: What’s wrong with it? (Power pointless).
“It’s like alcohol in the hands of a drunk,” says Bill Wheless, an executive trainer and coach in Greenville, S.C., who occasionally has to restrain clients from an overzealous use of PowerPoint. “What we need is moderation.”
- February 2000 – Presentations.com: PowerPoint: Why we love it. Why we hate it.
- May 1999 – USA Today: PowerPoint obsession takes off.
“It does help lay out thoughts in a coherent manner,” he adds, “but it breeds a dependency the likes of which I’ve only seen in heroin users and Starbucks coffee drinkers. Has anyone seen Microsoft salespeople hanging around school yards yet?”
- April 1999 – New York Times: Words Go Right to the Brain, but Can They Stir the Heart? Some Say Popular Software Debases Public Speaking (requires free registration).
“It gives you a persuasive sheen of authenticity that can cover a complete lack of honesty” said John Gage, the chief scientist at Sun Microsystems.
- December 1998 – Wired: The PowerPoint Amateur Hour.
PowerPoint is just a tool, and like so many readily available tools, Simon said,
- “a lot of people
- really don’t know
- how to use it very well.”
- August 1998 – Doc Searls – It’s The Story, Stupid Don’t Let Presentation Software Keep You From Getting Your Story Across
Companies hold meetings because they cannot actually masturbate — Dave Barry
- June 1998 – Harvard Business Review > Ideas at Work > Strategic Stories: How 3M Is Rewriting Business Planning. This article doesn’t mention PowerPoint directly, however it discusses use of narration as opposed to bullet points.
- Circa 1995 – Edward Tufte’s Presentation Tips: Craig S. Kaplan & Ted Romer (Web Archive).
- November 1863 – The Gettysburg PowerPoint Presentation and The Making of the Gettysburg PowerPoint Presentation. Related discussion at Metafilter.com: Powerpoint. [GOOGLE].
- Teacher Created Materials: PowerPoint, Not PowerPointless!
- Cluetrain Clues You Can Use: ! Destroy your PowerPoints.
Try to do at least one presentation a week with nothing but a stack of blank transparencies and a black pen. You may start to get your voice back.
- ArsDigita: WimpyPoint (Web Presentation Manager) – a replacement for desktop bloatware such as Microsoft PowerPoint.
- Technology for Teachers: Creating presentation and teaching materials using PowerPoint.
- ZDNet India PowerPoint Special. Includes how to’s and layout tricks.
- Impress and Motivate with a Quality Powerpoint Presentation. Outsource your presentation needs.
- Microsoft: Hands-on Tutorial Packs – Office XP in the Classroom – Preview PowerPoint Presentation.
- About.com Entrepreneurs: The Seven Deadly Sins of Powerpoint Presentations.
- About.com: Animation: PowerPointless.