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Office 2010 plays catch-up ... with Apple's Keynote

Microsoft never uttered the "K" word in its Office 2010 briefing with me last month, but it's pretty clear that many of PowerPoint's professional new transitions, animations, effects, and video capabilities were, um, inspired by Apple Keynote. Find out more in my PowerPoint 2010 coverage in the Office 2010 Special Report:

With no mention whatsoever of the Cupertino product that no doubt inspired this work, Microsoft has dramatically improved PowerPoint's transitions and animations. Microsoft describes the transitions as "cinematic," and sure enough there are a number of subtle (fade, wipe) and moderate (checkerboard, blinds) transitions to choose from as well as associated effects for most of them. The animation capabilities have been also been improved, and you can now copy animation effects from object to object using a new Animation Painter that works much like the Format Painter.

PowerPoint has long been able to embed video clips in presentations, but what's been missing is a way to edit those videos. So in previous versions of the product, you'd have to use an external application to edit video. With PowerPoint 2010, you can edit the video right in the application and then compress it so that the underlying presentation isn't bogged down by unused video.

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