PowerPivot for Excel
The second new goodie for Excel users is PowerPivot. Whereas Sparklines is a standard feature, PowerPivot is a freely downloadable Excel 2010 add-in that brings more computational power to an Excel sheet and provides fast manipulation on large data sets. In other words, PowerPivot works as a programming tool that can create complex graphs or calculations by pulling data from external sources, such as SQL databases, Microsoft Access, and other data stores. In many cases, PowerPivot can eliminate the need for custom programs or applications, allowing users to create complex analytical scenarios without the help of a programmer or other IT resources.
Knowledge workers who rely on the presentation capabilities of PowerPoint will be awestruck with Broadcast, arguably the most important feature added to PowerPoint since the product's inception. PowerPoint Broadcast allows users to share presentations with almost anyone, anywhere, via just a few mouse clicks.
Broadcast works by using a service, such as Windows Live or a locally configured Broadcast server, to display a slideshow on a remote worker's computer, and it supports one-to-many slide presentations, where a single presenter can present their slideshow to hundreds of users simultaneously. The Broadcast feature has the potential to displace many of the virtual meeting products on the market and can be used in conjunction with videoconferences and VoIP conference calls. It's a great fit for any number of local or remote scenarios where an individual needs to present a slideshow to multiple users, without the hassle of setting up bridges, virtual conferences, or virtual meeting spaces.
Slideshows created under PowerPoint can quickly become bloated, unwieldy files that consume tens of megabytes of space. That problem will only get worse with the new graphics and video embedding capabilities found in PowerPoint 2010. Microsoft has taken a step to address this.
With PowerPoint 2010, users can selectively compress presentations for both size and performance, a task made easy with the Backstage View menu in PowerPoint 2010, where a Media Size and Performance wizard can selectively shrink down the file size of a presentation. Options include Presentation Quality, Internet Quality, and Low Quality. The Low Quality setting can shrink a video-laden presentation down by a factor of 10 or more. For example, it would not be unusual to see a 60MB presentation with high-def video shrink down to just 2MB to 3MB when compressed. The compression tool will solve many problems for both users and administrators by making it easier to email presentations, perhaps even eliminating the need for FTP servers or file-sharing sites to move large presentations around for review.