Not all of us can afford expensive Adobe programs or have computers capable of running them. Programs like GIMP are free, but have a similarly steep learning curve to Photoshop or InDesign. There is, however, one program that likely came with your computer that you can use for posters, newsletters, social media posts, and much more: Microsoft PowerPoint.
Most people are surprised that PowerPoint has such vast capabilities beyond slide show presentations. Work created with the program can look as professional as if it were made with Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop:
- PowerPoint’s slide size can be changed to the size of whatever poster or flyer is necessary.
- Different iterations or pages can be added as new slides.
- Shapes can be used to create pops of color or make text stand out.
The limitations of PowerPoint as a visual design program are few, depending on the creator’s intentions. Most plans can, however, be modified to fit those limitations and still achieve a great end product.
With Powerpoint, you still do really creative things with fonts and images. Good design principals should be followed no matter which tools you are using.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Powerpoint over other Programs
There are many pros and some cons to using PowerPoint over Adobe or even free programs. These are not exhaustive lists, just enough to show benefits and limitations:
• It is cost-effective and likely already on many home and office computers.
• The application is easy to learn and master, taking weeks instead of months. Most people already have some experience.
• PowerPoint is not difficult to handle for most computers, even with many slides and images.
• Images can be added and edited to suit most projects from within the program, including removing backgrounds and changing transparency.
• The same system and installed typefaces that can be used on any program are also available. No additional programs are necessary to manage them.
• Multiple pages of a booklet or newsletter can be added as additional slides.
• Duplicating slides allows for small changes to be made to one slide and easy comparison between them.
• Creating eye-catching designs can take less time and effort when compared to other programs.
• Objects can be moved and snapped in line with other objects in the document.
• Backgrounds can be added when necessary, including various gradients.
• Images can be rotated and moved independently of text.
• Objects can be easily arranged to move some objects forward or back in the document.
• Documents can be exported as PDFs, which has many uses, including ease of printing or sending them via email.
• More expensive programs, or copycat programs like GIMP, are more powerful and have a lot more features.
• PoweverPoint has limited ways images can be edited within the program.
• DPI (Dots Per Inch) or the number of pixels cannot be set or changed.
• There are no layers where changes can be made without altering the rest of the document.
• Exact colors can be more difficult to match without the eyedropper tool.
• While there are optional rulers, getting objects to be at a specific measurement can be tedious.
• A. bleed option does not exist for PowerPoint, so documents that must be cut after printing must be cut exactly.
• Text cannot be made into an image to be moved or resized as desired.
• Converting documents to .jpeg or other file types would require a separate program or website.
While there are cons to using PowerPoint as a design program, for a graphic designer first starting out or for a business that has occasional graphic design needs, the benefits certainly outweigh them. Before spending hundreds of dollars on expensive design programs and months gaining experience with them, first try PowerPoint. You may just be surprised!