Photoshop vs PowerPoint

Firstly I would like welcome my new subscribers – I have noticed quite a few of you have signed up and it’s wonderful that there is such interest in this topic out there!

I apologise for the lack of progress in getting things up and running here but a number of things have gotten in the way (such as starting a new job). Rest assured I haven’t forgotten you and I am planning to get things going within the next few weeks.

Anyway, on to today’s topic. I was asked by my new boss to help a colleague with a diagram that needed ‘prettying up’ for a presentation next week. Of course I said yes (especially as it would make a nice change from reading journal articles which I’ve been doing for the past two weeks). But when my colleague said he had prepared it in PowerPoint my heart sank. I don’t yet have Photoshop installed on my new work computer so I had no choice but to do the best I could in PowerPoint.

Now, I understand why PowerPoint is often used by researchers to make diagrams for their presentations, and even for publications. It is familiar, accessible and doesn’t have a steep learning curve. And it tends to just be there – installed on every computer alongside Word and Excel. But the diagrams created with PowerPoint usually leave a lot to be desired, especially if the user doesn’t really know how to make the best use of the program’s features.

So I have always advised students that PowerPoint is for presentations and Photoshop or Illustrator should be used for diagrams.

However, having been forced into using PowerPoint today I discovered at it has a lot of new features that I hadn’t explored before and I was actually able to make a diagram that I was really pleased with. By carefully using lines, gradients, accurate size and position and the alignment tools I was able to greatly improve upon the original image. But what got me really excited with the ability to draw with bezier curves! I had no idea PowerPoint had this feature and, while it’s not quite the Pen tool, it opened up a whole new world of possibilities. Suddenly I wasn’t limited to the available standard shapes but could draw my own cells any way I wanted.

So maybe Powerpoint isn’t all bad when it comes to making diagrams. I would still prefer to use Photoshop any day of the week but when needs must, I guess Powerpoint has some potential too.

Do any of you use Powerpoint for drawing diagrams? Have you experimented with Bezier curves?


2 Comments on “Photoshop vs PowerPoint”

  1. Jaromir Plasek says:

    Dear Jo-Maree,

    would you mind to show us an example of the diagram drawn using bezier curvers, just to help us to appreciate how useful it might be?

    Best rgards

    Jaromir Plasek

    • jomaree says:

      Hi Jaromir, yes – when I was writing this I was kicking myself for not having brought home a copy of the PowerPoint file! Will grab it tomorrow so you can expect a follow up post with examples in the next few days. Cheers!

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