How PowerPoint was created


Originally published at:


Sci-fi writing cue: utopian parallel universe 2017 in which software designers in the 80s made scaling preserve the ratio by default and only unconstrain it with shift held down. :frowning:


Excellent. I now have names to direct my rage towards…


…and meanwhile in Soviet Union, power points at you.


It will always be an underpowered HyperCard, in my opinion.


There were other product out for PC (and maybe even early Windows). Lotus, Borland, and Ashton-Tate, I think, all had presentation tools, but they were very clunky, and based around charts, not bullet points.


So, when selling the product line that let managers bypass the art department, they clearly bypassed their own accounting department. Or was this -before- MBAs?

That’s damn cheap. Even in 1987 dollars.


Whether business people should be attempting graphic design is a question that has answered itself in the intervening decades.


I remember HyperCard! It was fun, which is probably what killed it. How many executives would choose the less-powerful option on purpose, so employees wouldn’t start playing around on the company dime?


I like the use of dark and medium-light backgrounds, to make it hard to find any text colour that’s legible across the whole thing. Now it just needs four bullet points that the presenter will just read verbatim before clicking on to the next slide.


Counterpoint: business meetings have been the same since PowerPoint was rolled out in 1987. Mainly because of PowerPoint.


I see you’ve met my boss.


This is inaccurate. We all know PowerPoint was created in Hell when Satan was constipated. When Satan finally evacuated his bowels, PowerPoint emerged.


Agreed. You couldn’t make Myst using PowerPoint!


Cosmic Osmo? I think not!


Does anyone else remember a lot of early presentations being either blue text on black background or white on blue? Was this an artifact printing eventually to slide negatives or transparencies, or were the people making the presentations I was looking at just crazy/blind?


Forget about how it was created. How do we destroy it? Must we journey through the toxic sprawl of Palo Alto and hurl it back into the source code from whence it was forged?


and @ugh



I hear the Bill Gates, of Mordor, is even harder to get through!


I suspect that you could(at least in slightly later versions; VBA dates back to the early 90s; and more recent versions have enough features to be,horribly, turing complete without VBA or macros); but the misery involved in doing so would be a lesson in why people think fondly of Hypercard.

Powerpoint, like most of Office, doesn’t lack for capability; but the cruel, capricious, insanity gets to you after a while.