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Using the new Backstage

From: PowerPoint 2010 New Features

Video: Using the new Backstage

One of the most noteworthy changes that span the entire release of Office 2010 is the new Backstage view. Here you will find commands and features related to managing your presentation file, including printing, sharing, and opening. When we open up PowerPoint initially and pull down the File menu, we see the Backstage view. Here, a list of files that we have recently worked on are displayed. However, if we are currently inside a file, pulling down the File menu, displaying the Backstage view, gives us information about the document that we are currently looking at.

Using the new Backstage

One of the most noteworthy changes that span the entire release of Office 2010 is the new Backstage view. Here you will find commands and features related to managing your presentation file, including printing, sharing, and opening. When we open up PowerPoint initially and pull down the File menu, we see the Backstage view. Here, a list of files that we have recently worked on are displayed. However, if we are currently inside a file, pulling down the File menu, displaying the Backstage view, gives us information about the document that we are currently looking at.

There is a lot of interesting features here that we can use; for example, we can access the permissions of the file, controlling who is able to access that document, change it, modify it, share it with others. We can also check the file for issues. For example, we can look and see if there is hidden documents, hidden information, anything that we might not want other people to read. This is especially important when working with confidential documents. Also accessible from the Info tab of the Backstage view is Manage Versions. If our file sharing system allows us to control multiple versions of the document, this pulldown menu will allow us to see them.

On the far right of this Info screen, we see the document Properties: the Size of the file, how many slides it has, information about when it was last modified, and who has worked on it. Going back to the menu on the left, we can save this file, save it as, giving it a new file name, or changing the file type, open a new one, or close it. The Recent section shows us files that we have recently worked on and allows us to pushpin that particular document. When a document is pushpinned, it will always be available on the list. As you will probably recall from prior versions of Microsoft Office, documents that you've worked on automatically appear on this list, but they also fall off as you work with new files.

If a document is important to you and you plan to use it frequently, you can pin the item to the list. It will stay there permanently until you've unpinned it. Also new to Office 2010 is the Recent Places. Just like it shows you recent files that you have worked with, on the right-hand side of the screen, you will see recent folders. This includes shares on the network, as well as your My Document folders, USB drive, CDs, and other accessible media. One of the most useful features of the Backstage view is the brand-new Print section. From here, you will see all the common Print Settings, including how many copies you want to make, what printer you want to set to, as well as Orientation, Collation, and Color Settings.

What's great about this is it gives you a live view of exactly what it's going to look like. This combines the prior features of Print Preview and Print into one menu. This forces you to look at what you are going to print it before you actually print it. It's a great feature - helps you save paper. Another section available to us on the Backstage view is Save & Send. This feature is great for collaborating with others. It allows you to instantly send the file to others, using e-mail, using the web, using a variety of different methods. For example, if I click Send Using E- mail, I can then send the document as an attachment, as a PowerPoint file, or I can send it as a link, assuming that the file is available on the network share and that I am sending it to people on my network.

I can send the document to others as a PDF, converting the document to a PDF and then attaching it. There is also a variety of other options, including sending it as an Internet fax, and sending it as an XPS File. You will see that if we return back to the left of the Save & Send menu, I can also save this to the web, I can save it to a SharePoint server, I can broadcast it, which we will talk about later, and I can publish slides on a SharePoint server. Through this menu I can also change the file type, convert it to a PDF and save it to my computer, create a video out of this, which we will discuss later, package it for a presentation, and create handouts.

Finally, we will point out that you can access PowerPoint options through the Backstage view. By clicking on Options in the Backstage view, you will be able to personalize your experience with PowerPoint; for example, you can activate and deactivate features of the spell check and grammar checker, change save preferences, change your language, a few other commands, and you can even customize the Ribbon. While the Backstage view may take some getting used to, I think you will find it a pleasure to work with, and a significant leap forward for the Microsoft Office system. And if any of this seems cumbersome to you, remember that nearly every feature you would use from Backstage, such as Print & Save, can be added to your Quick Access toolbar, for, well, quick access.

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PowerPoint 2010 New Features

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David Diskin
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