PowerPoint product logos through the years (1987 to present)

Happy 35th Anniversary, PowerPoint!

  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on LinkedIn

The year was 1987. Beverly Hills Cop, Platoon and Fatal Attraction were top box-office hits in the theaters. Whitney Houston, Bon Jovi, and Whitesnake sold millions of records (yes, vinyl records were still a thing). A gallon of gas cost 90 cents.

In the tech world, the Macintosh SE and Mac II were both released in March 1987. Microsoft was still on Windows 1.0 (until 2.0 was released in December). And a presentation software program called PowerPoint was released in April. (The program had to be installed on your computer from something called a “floppy disk.” Icon of a computer floppy disk. Those of you under 35 will probably have to look this up!)

Initially created by a small software company called Forethought and released only for Mac, PowerPoint was purchased in mid-1987 by Microsoft (one of the company’s first major acquisitions). A few years later, PowerPoint was included in a newly created suite of products called Microsoft Office.

Happy 35th Anniversary, PowerPoint!

Fast-forward 35 years, and PowerPoint (along with Office) has spread throughout the world, becoming the gold standard for business communications software. Millions of people use it every day to create and deliver compelling presentations for work, school, or just for fun. And the program continues to evolve, with new features being added just about every month (as Office Insiders well know).

To celebrate the 35th anniversary of PowerPoint (officially landing on April 20th), we decided to ask some of the world’s foremost PowerPoint experts (Microsoft MVPs) to give us their thoughts about the best new features released in the last year or so.

Here’s to 35 more years (and beyond) of great presentations with PowerPoint!

Jamie Garroch

Senior Technical Consultant, BrightCarbon


Favorite PowerPoint feature from the last year:

I’d say the Default Theme thumbnail added on PowerPoint for macOS. Why? Because for years Windows users have had the ability to create new, on-brand presentations from a default theme, but macOS users could only create from a blank presentation. This is the simplest, yet most significant feature normalization for the desktop versions of PowerPoint for years. I also vote for it because it was my suggestion to add it!

Screenshot showing default theme template available in PowerPoint for Mac.

Loryan Strant

Product and Innovation Lead, Rapid Circle


Favorite PowerPoint feature from the last year:

I love the premium photos and graphics—they keep getting better and better. It’s not just the stock photos; it’s also things like cutout people. I’ve used those to great effect to tell people-based stories in my presentations, so I can really make it a human-centric story instead of the usual SmartArt content. It’s also the icon library, the videos, the stickers—they all add so many more levels to my presentations!

PowerPoint slide using cutout people, part of the premium content library.

Megan Strant

Principal Consultant, Strant Consulting


Favorite PowerPoint feature from the last year:

I vote for Present in Teams—I love this feature. I showed multiple clients how to use Present in Teams in the last year. It helped them boost their presentations with the ability to translate slides into different languages; be more engaging with the pointer, highlighter, and other cool features; and the different presenter modes (layouts on the screen). It has certainly boosted their meetings and presentations.

Present in Teams from PowerPoint

Michael Blumenthal

Speaker Manager for M365 Chicago (online Microsoft 365 conference)


Favorite PowerPoint feature from the last year:

I would choose Presenter Coach; I like the way this feature listens to your speech and warns you about things you can improve on. It alerts you if you are simply reading your slides, identifies common “filler” words, helps you keep looking at the camera, warns you about certain non-inclusive or offensive phrases, and calculates your speaking speed and slide coverage. Before this feature was available, you had to rely on another person to do all of that, and some of those things are really hard for a person to track effectively.

Rebecca Jackson

Senior Consultant, Workplace Advisory, Avanade


Favorite PowerPoint feature from the last year:

The Accessibility ribbon makes finding and correcting accessibility issues in PowerPoint so easy and clear. I love that the Accessibility ribbon brings these tools to the forefront so that when I’m talking to other people about making their content more accessible, it’s easy for them too.

Screenshot showing the Accessibility ribbon in PowerPoint.

Richard Goring

Director, BrightCarbon


Favorite PowerPoint feature from the last year:

It’s definitely the cameo live video feed. PowerPoint has come a long way from when people used it to create 35mm slides, but despite all the amazing additions, it’s still been a tool that is separate from the presenter.

Cameo completely changes that, allowing you to incorporate yourself into the presentation. Now your audience doesn’t have to look at one thing or the other. The way that you can now present—focusing on particular content and encouraging interaction with the audience—is wonderfully enhanced. I think it’s a great demonstration of how the PowerPoint team is continuing to push this 35-year-old piece of software to be more useful for everyone. Happy anniversary, PowerPoint!

GIF showing the Morph effect in placing a live camera feed into a PowerPoint for Mac slide (cameo feature).

Sandra Johnson

Presentation Design Expert and Consultant, Presentation Wiz


Favorite PowerPoint feature from the last year:

I think cameo is going to change the presenting world. As a PowerPoint-first designer, to be able to stay in PowerPoint, click a button, and have my cameo appear there… I think it’s the first step to remote-presenting greatness for PowerPoint. There are so many cool things you can do with cameo—your camera feed can become the background of the slide, and then you can put text or graphics over it. I absolutely love it.

Be sure to sign up for the Office Insider newsletter and get the latest information about Insider features in your inbox once a month!