I made the switch from Windows to Mac last spring, a decision for which I have only one regret — that I didn’t do it earlier.
Well, now it’s actually two regrets — that I continued to use PowerPoint for Mac instead of switching to Keynote.
Here’s the short version of my recent pain and suffering. The first wave of pain is actually the simple fact that PowerPoint 2004 (the Mac version) is a pretender compared to the very easy-to-use PowerPoint for Windows. Lots of little goofy things that seem unnecessarily clunky. For example:
1) Go to open a file. Default is to show me “All Readable Documents” rather than PowerPoint documents. I’m running PowerPoint, for crying out loud. How about defaulting to that?
2) Open a PowerPoint file, go to normal view. On the left is the outline view of the text. Long lines of text disappear under the slide pane on the right. Along the bottom of that window is a scroll bar. Grab that bar, slide it all the way to the right. The text shifts left about 1/4 inch, leaving all the rest of the text still hidden.
3) Speaking of the scroll bars, rather than shifting the contents of the window while you slide them, the contents just sit there until you release, and then jumps to the correct spot. Wasn’t that de rigeur like 15 years ago?
I could go on, but you get the idea. (I’ve considered doing a point by point comparison of the two versions. Maybe in the future.) In any case it seems clear to me that there is less commitment on the part of Microsoft for the Mac version of PowerPoint than for Windows. I wonder why that might be?!
But like I said, that was just the first wave of pain. The acute symptoms struck Friday afternoon.
I’m in a massive flow, amazingly productive. The kind of productive flow that you get into after several hours of spinning your wheels before all the lights come on. The kind of flow where you get as much done in two hours as you had in the previous six. The kind of flow where you’re reaching a zenith of productivity, almost completely done with this amazing……
Huh? Shoot. PowerPoint just died.
Totally killed itself. That’s never happened before. Well, no problem. It’s been autorecovering every 10 minutes all afternoon. I’ve seen the little banner message across my screen. The most I’ve lost here is 10 minutes. Painful, but I can manage.
Before relaunching PowerPoint, I look around for autorecover files. I always like to do a little manual maintenance in these situations in case something stupid happens next. No autorecover files that I can find. I can see Word autorecover files, but nothing relating to my presentation. I poke around a bit more. Look in the Preferences… Hmm. In Word there’s a preference for the autorecover folder, but not in PowerPoint. Finally, after dinking around for a bit, I just decide to trust PowerPoint and relaunch. It comes up and shows me the Project Gallery, rather than something about autorecovered files. The help screens tell me that PowerPoint is supposed to give me a selection of autorecovered files when the death thing happens. But it’s not offering up anything. More research. More futility. I finally click on the presentation as an act of ultimate desperation. It’s my version from 2:52 p.m., the last time I manually saved. The version just before all the beauty and productivity gushed forth.
I’m now livid. And depressed. I know, I know. Save frequently. But I’ve been using Word and PowerPoint for Windows for almost 15 years, and ever since autorecover showed up as a feature, I’ve had a good sense of security, and have seldom been burned. Heck, I stayed with Office when I went to the Mac because it’s been such a reliable and usable product. Alas. It appears my PowerPoint days are over. I installed Keynote yesterday and am preparing for a learning curve/paradigm shift of at least modest proportion.
And that’s the story of pain and suffering, courtesy of whoever forgot to actually make the autorecover work in PowerPoint 2004 for Mac. I could continue whining and venting my pitiful spleen, but… I, ah, have a presentation to re-generate.