Last week Microsoft officially introduced the new version of Office, Office 2007, which includes a new version of PowerPoint. One of the major differences in the new version is the user interface. The familiar menus and selections have been replaced by a new ribbon interface which makes more options visible in a graphical ribbon across the top of the screen. I showed it to a buddy of mine and he made an observation that was very interesting. When he saw the ribbon, he immediately thought of the extra time people would spend creating presentations because now they would play with so many more settings than before, simply because they could now see that they could play with the settings. This was a very insightful observation and one I had not considered yet. While making more of the options visible to the user, Microsoft may have negatively impacted productivity by giving people too much to "play" with in terms of changing colors, fonts, layouts and art objects. I fear that we will end up with awful looking slides that people think are visually "cool" but are in reality annoying. Remember that even though you see that you can change so many more options, stick to good clean design practices that will make your slides clear and easy to understand for your audience.
I agree that moving from text based slides to more visual slides will improve your presentations, but think first about what visual will support the point you are making. I list fifteen common topics that you may be addressing in your presentation and how to create a visual slide for them in my e-book "Transforming Text Slides Into Visual Slides". Get your copy at http://www.ThinkOutsideTheSlide.com/transformtext.htm