Differences in Use between Impress and PowerPoint

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This document builds on the information given in General Differences in Use between OpenOffice.org and Microsoft Office by describing specific differences in use between Impress and PowerPoint.

Documentation note.png Impress has undergone a complete overhaul between OOo 1.1.x and OOo 2.0.

Accessing different views

Impress provides equivalent views to those provided by PowerPoint. The main difference is that Impress gives you quick access to all of its views from the main window.

The main window has three parts: the Slides pane, Workspace, and Tasks pane. The Slides pane allows you to do specific things to individual slides. The Workspace is where most of the work is done to create individual slides. The Tasks pane contains a group of four tasks which affect styles, the layout, animation, and transitions between slides in your presentation.

Figure 1: Main window of Impress

The views are summarized in Table 19.

In PowerPoint the buttons for quickly changing the view are in the bottom left corner. In Impress the equivalent buttons are in the top center of the screen.

Documentation note.png The view buttons have moved for OOo 2.0. They are now directly over the main editing area.

In PowerPoint the Notes view is only accessible from the View menu. In OOo, the Notes view is accessible at the top of the editing area.

To quickly access the Master Slide view in PowerPoint, you hold down the Shift key while clicking on the Normal View button. This action can not be performed in OOo.

Documentation note.png In previous versions of OOo, the master view could be accessed easily from a button on the bottom of the window. Now, the only way to access and edit the master slide is to select View > Master > Slide Master.
Documentation note.png The easy access button for layers is no longer present in OOo 2.0. Arranging objects between different layers is accomplished from the context menu.

Impress provides a Handout view for fine-tuning how handouts look. This is equivalent to (but more flexible than) PowerPoint's Handout Master option.

Comparison of view names between PowerPoint and Impress.
PowerPoint name Impress name Main use
Normal Normal To edit the contents of the slide; both text and formatting.
Slide Sorter Slide Sorter To arrange the order of the slide show
Slide Show Slide Show Starts the presentation from the current slide
Outline Outline To edit the text, but none of the formatting.
Notes Page Notes Page To append notes to a slide
Master > Handout Handout Page To change the number and position of multiple slides to be printed on a page
Master > Slide Master > Slide To place and modify those things that are consistent in all slides in the presentation

Color gradients and borders

Impress does not support some of the formatting features that PowerPoint does. For example it does not support three-color gradients, double and triple borders, or round-dotted borders.

When importing PowerPoint slides, Impress changes three-color gradients to two-color, double or triple borders to single and round-dotted borders to square dots.

To improve the results of the import, make any necessary adjustments in PowerPoint before importing files into Impress. Change three-color gradient fills to two-color. Change double or triple border lines to a single border line with suitable width. The round-dotted border lines that are mapped to rectangle-border lines, during import, will closely resemble the original line style in PowerPoint so that manual editing should not be necessary.



Voice-over narration is not supported by Impress.

There are no settings for multimedia custom animations, such as the ability to play a sound for the next few slides.


Sounds can be added in Impress using Insert > Movies & Sound, however sounds only play for the slide they associated with. You can not insert background music for the whole presentation in Impress.

Chart animations

There is no facility in Impress for Chart Effects, as there is in PowerPoint, such as presenting a series or category at a time. On import the charts simply appear. A workaround is to have multiple copies of the chart with each one set up to display as desired.

A feature in OOo 2.0 can be selected from Insert > Animated Image to help in the creation of chart animations. It also allows you to group several still images into one animated image.

Documentation note.png Insert > Animated Image is a new feature that allows you to group several still images into one animated image.

Pack and Go

This feature in PowerPoint allows a PowerPoint file to be saved to a CD, or split up over several floppy disks, and assures that all related files are included. This feature does not exist in Impress, nor can Impress open such files.

Impress can export a show to a Flash file. PowerPoint can not.


Impress date fields are exported as text, so they do not automatically update.

Fields are shown with a gray background when editing so that they are recognizable as fields.

Action settings and interaction

PowerPoint provides action settings (jump to slide, run program) for mouse overs. Impress does not have that option except on mouse click. Therefore PowerPoint mouse overs get mapped to mouse clicks. PowerPoint has an option for highlighting the object on mouse click or mouse over; Impress does not have that so it gets ignored on import. However you can click on Internet hyperlinks during a presentation.

Animating a slide show

Custom animations

Impress has custom animations that are equivalent to custom animations in PowerPoint. Applying animations in Impress is very similar to PowerPoint.

Documentation note.png In OOo 2.0 the terminology for animations has changed. What were Effects in OOo 1.1.x are now called Custom Animations in OOo 2.0.

To access custom animations select either Slide Show > Custom Animation or click on the words Custom Animation in the task pane.

To add an animation, select the object to be animated and then click Add. A dialog box, shown in Figure 2, appears.

Documentation note.png OOo Impress 2.0 now has a task pane. From the task pane many of the common formatting options can be accesseds: Master Pages (Slide Designs in PowerPoint), Layouts, Custom Animation, and Slide Transition.

Figure 2: Slide show custom animation dialog

You can choose between Entrance, Emphasis, Exit, and Motion Paths effects. If you scroll down the list you will find Basic, Moderate, Exciting, and Special as categories effects.

Differences in animation effects

On export or import of either Impress or PowerPoint files the names of the effects change. However, the result and appearance are essentially the same. See Table 20.

Documentation note.png In OOo Impress 2.0, you can have multiple animation types in one text box. In OOo Impress 1.1.x, you were limited to only one animation type per text box.
Comparison of animation effects names between PowerPoint and Impress.
PowerPoint Impress
Appear Appear
Blinds Venetian Blinds
Box Box
Checkerboard Checkerboard
Diamond Diamond
Crawl Fly In Slow
Dissolve Dissolve
Flash once Flash Once
Peek Peek
Random Bars Random Bars
Spiral Spiral In
Split Split
Stretch Stretchy
Strips Diagonal Squares
Swivel Swivel
Wipe Wipe
Zoom Zoom
Random effects Random Effects

Slide transition effects

In the same way that object animations have a mapping between PowerPoint and Impress, slide transitions also have different names between the programs as summarized in Table 21.

Table 21. Comparison of slide transition names between PowerPoint and Impress.

PowerPoint Impress
Blinds Horizontal Venetian Blinds Horizontal
Blind Vertical Venetian Blinds Vertical
Box In Box In
Box Out Box Out
Checkerboard Across Checkerboard Down
Checkerboard Down Checkerboard Across
Cover Down Cover Down
Cover Left Cover Right
Cover Right Cover Left
Cover Up Cover Up
Cover Left Down Cover Left Down
Cover Right Down Cover Right Down
Cover Left Up Cover Left Up
Cover Right Up Cover Right Up
Cut No equivalent transition
Cut through Black No equivalent transition
Dissolve** Dissolve
Fade Through Black Fade Through Black
Random Bars Horizontally Random Bars Horizontal
Random Bars Vertically Random Bars Vertical
Split Vertical In Split Vertical In
Split Vertical Out Split Vertical Out
Strips Left Down Random Bars Vertical
Strips Left Up Random Bars Vertical
Strips Right Down Random Bars Vertical
Strips Right Up Random Bars Vertical
Uncover Down Uncover Down
Uncover Left Uncover Left
Push Right Push Right

Fitting text to a frame

Fitting text to the frame, or a text box, in the two programs behaves differently. In PowerPoint, the program automatically resizes the font proportionally as the text exceeds the size of the text box.

In Impress, if the option Fit to frame has been selected, the program allows text to be typed outside of the text box. When you select another object, signifying that typing has finished, Impress resizes the text as if it were resizing a picture. This often leads to compressed and unattractive text.

The best way to avoid this effect is to keep the text within the text box.

To change the Fit to frame property in Impress:

  1. Click on the text frame to select it.
  2. Right-click on the text area and select Text in the pop up menu. The Text dialog opens.
    Figure 3: Changing the "Fit to frame" property
  3. On the Text tab are options to automatically adjust frame size or font size as follows:
    • Fit width to text resizes the text to fit the width of the drawing or the text object.
    • Fit height to text resizes the text to fit the height of the drawing or text object.
    • Fit to frame resizes the text to fit the entire area of the drawing or text object. To be able to check this option the other two options must be unchecked.

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