Remember when photocopying was referred to as Zeroxing – because of my advanced years, I can even remember when photocopying machines entered schools – and suddenly we were freed from the dreaded purple Ditto copies which faded almost as soon as they were run. The new copiers were so popular that every classroom teacher was reproducing documents at such a fast pace we were all put on a paper diet. The name of the first photocopying machine became a verb or the process – in the same way that Kleenex now means paper tissue – and everyone knows how to ask for one from toddlerhood.
So it’s interesting that one – but only one Microsoft software program – has reached the same iconic status. I’ve just received an invitation to a meeting where I am told there will be a PowerPoint presentation. That is more than enough to keep me away – but do you notice that a presentation still must be preceded by PowerPoint. At the same meeting there may be some documents or spreadsheets distributed but they don’t need the imprimatur of Word or Excel as prefixes to give them credence. There is still some reverence for PPT in spite of the fact that it nearly always displays a canned document – not an engaging screen. So even if you like the software – which I actually do – for heaven sake start with a blank page, an image and a maximum of about six words. Otherwise Death by PowerPoint will still hold sway.