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digital information technologies, information technology, presentations


A presentation is an electronic document that conveys information to an audience. Robert Gaskins got the idea of software to create “slides of text and graphics in a graphical, WYSIWYG environment, then outputting them to 35-mm slides, overhead transparencies, or video displays and projectors... [t]he presentation would spring directly from the mind of the business user, without having to first transit through the corporate art department.” Before working on PowerPoint, as a student Gaskins had worked in the computer lab at Berkeley as a graphics consultant. Gaskins began working on the software, initially called Presenter, in July 1984, and continued working on it with two colleagues, Dennis Austin and Tom Rudkin, and released PowerPoint on April 20, 1987, for Mac computers. Three months later, in July 1987, Microsoft bought their company, Forethought Inc, for $14 million. 5 years later in 1992, Microsoft released PowerPoint 3.0, which in Gaskins’ words, realized his initial vision for the product. The first public presentation from a laptop to project video from PowerPoint took place on February 25, 1992, in Paris. Since then, presentation software is used at virtually all business meetings to improve communication. Students use presentation software in a variety of creative ways to create flyers, brochures, and other electronic documents.

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