Presentation software or presentation package is an effective multimedia tool as it combines text, sound, images and video on one or more slides. Presentation packages are used to create presentations, quizzes, information points and many more multimedia products. Most presentation packages allow you to add text, images, video, animation and sound to each slide to create a sophisticated product. It typically includes three major functions: an editor that allows text to be inserted and formatted, a method for inserting and manipulating graphic images and a slide-show system to display the content.

Presentation software sometimes called “presentation graphics” is a category of application program used to create sequences of words and pictures that tell a story or help support a speech or public presentation of information. Presentation software can be divided into business presentation software and more general multimedia authoring tools, with some products having characteristics of both. Business presentation software emphasizes ease and quickness-of-learning and use. Multimedia authoring software enables you to create a more sophisticated presentation that includes audio and video sequences. Business presentation software usually enables you to include images and sometimes audio and video developed with other tools.

The most widely used presentation software includes:

  1. Microsoft PowerPoint.
  3. Lotus’s Freelance Graphics.
  4. Adobe Persuasion.
  5. Corel Presentations.
  6. Harvard Graphics.


The purpose of presentation software is to enable someone to impart information to an audience in an interesting and effective way.

This is usually done in the form of a visual presentation that the audience views along with a running commentary from the presenter.



A good presentation package has the capability to handle advanced features including sound, images, animation, slide transitions, hyperlinks, hotspots and navigation buttons as well as plain text of course.

Each of these features are intended to add something to the quality of the presentation.

A) Text: Presentation packages come with a large variety of text options such as font style, size and colour. Text enhancements such as bold, italics and underlines help to draw attention to particular pieces of text on a slide.

The choice of text is very important. It needs to be large enough so everyone in the audience can read the slides, even if they are some distance away from the screen.

The font style is selected to reflect the tone of the presentation. For instance the use of ‘Comic sans’ would not be suitable in a formal presentation on a serious topic.

Text colour can also be selected to provide the right look and feel to the presentation. For instance the colour choice may be based on a corporate ‘house style. It is also important to ensure that the text can easily be read against the background. It is also important to ensure that the right amount of text is used on a slide.


B) Images: The old saying of ‘a picture paints a thousand words’ is never truer than when watching a presentation. Slide after slide of nothing but text can become extremely dull for the audience, leading them to lose focus and concentration. Good use of images can help to maintain the audiences attention and help elaborate on a point made by the text.


C) Sound: Sounds in a presentation can be used to:

  1. make an impact.
  2. grab the audiences’ attention.
  3. add more detail about a point being made.
  4. create the right ambience or atmosphere.

The sound may be in the form of music or it may be ‘action’ sounds such as a button press or slide transition noise.

Some common uses of sound within presentations are:

  1. Playing the company theme tune to reflect corporate image
  2. Playing a brief music clip to indicate the start and end of a presentation
  3. To emphasise a point
  4. Special effects such as clapping to indicate an award being made, etc.

Presentation software usually has an in-built library of sounds which can be used in the presentation. These include a variety of music (usually classical) and a number of motion sounds such as clapping, drum rolls, cheers, bells, etc.

It is also possible to record directly using the presentation software. This can enable a voice over to be added to the slides.


D) Video: It is sometimes better to use a video to show something happening rather than trying to explain it in words.

Modern computers are powerful enough to run video sequences within a presentation. The video can be started and stopped manually with a mouse click or it could be set to automatically loop once it has reached the end.

Typical uses of video in a presentation are:

  1. Showing a company advert.
  2. Letting someone make a statement, the chairman perhaps.
  3. Showing how a process works.

Some of the problems of using videos in presentations are:

  1. that they may make the presentation file size large and thus take up a lot of storage space.
  2. presentations containing videos are not easily emailed due to their large file size.
  3. you may need a specific player installed on your computer – without it you may not be able to watch the video.
  4. if you move the presentation or video to another folder, the link to the video on the slide might be lost.
  5. Too many video clips in a presentation are as much of a problem as too many images or sounds.


E) Animation: This is the movement of objects or text within the presentation. For example, bullet points, images, objects and charts can be set to come in individually from the right, drop down from above with a bouncy effect, spin around a number of times before setting on the page, etc.

If used sparingly, animation can be an effective tool to help make the presentation more interesting. But you must be careful not to overdo animations as they can quickly become more of a distraction than a help. Most of us remember the frustration of watching a presentation where the letters drop down one by one onto the slide, taking what seems like an age before you can actually read the text.

Animations can be triggered manually by pressing the mouse button or the enter key. Or they can be set up to happen automatically.

Animations can also be used in conjunction with sound, images or charts.


Uses of animation

  1. Text may be animated to hold the attention of the audience.
  2. Animation may also be used to control what is on the slide at any given time, for instance a set of bullet points could be revealed one at a time to make sure the audience concentrates only on the most recent point being made.
  3. fading objects in or out to provide emphasis when making a point
  4. Other objects on the slide may be animated such as a spinning logo and so on.


F) Slide transitions: Slide transitions refers to the transition effects which come with the presentation software, for example, ‘blinds’, ‘checkerboard’, ‘wipe’, and ‘dissolve’.

Slide transitions are used to move from one slide to the next slide. This can be the default transition of pressing your enter key and the current slide changing to the next without any noticeable effect.

Slide transitions can also be used in conjunction with sound. The speed of the slide transition can be set up within the presentation software.


G) Hyperlinks: Hyperlinks within a presentation are used in a similar manner to those you find on any web page.

The hyperlinks can be in the form of underlined text, an image, an object, chart, etc. When clicked on, they can take you to another slide in the presentation, they can open a document or file or they can direct you to a web page on the internet. The hyperlink can be edited within the presentation software. Hyperlinks have a fairly limited use in ‘standard’ presentations where a speaker projects their slides on a screen. However, they can be used effectively in standalone interactive presentations – in an information kiosk for example, where the reader is in control of navigation. They may wish to click on a hyperlink to see additional information whilst going through the presentation.


H) Hotspots: A special type of hyperlink is a ‘hotspot’. A hotspot is where part of an image is set up as a hyperlink. When hovering the mouse over the hotspot, the cursor usually changes to a hand or something else to indicate that a link is available. Clicking on the hotspot might take you to another part of the presentation or it might pop up a more detailed view of the image.

Examples of the use of hotspots in presentations:

A map of the Nigeria: When you click on one of the states, a more detailed map of that particular state pops up.

An image of the human body: When you click on a section, perhaps the heart, you are taken to a slide containing a video and more information about the heart.

Buttons: These are normally used for navigation. A good presentation package will include a wide range of button styles. Buttons are used to navigate from one part of the presentation to another. There might be a button to take you to the previous slide, the next slide and back to the ‘home page’ (first slide).

Clicking a button is often accompanied by an action sound such as a clicking noise. This makes the control feel more interactive. Buttons can also be used for other things such as starting and stopping an automatic presentation show. They could also be linked to a macro which performs some action upon pressing.

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