PowerPoint: “I heard you liked hidden things, so I hid the hide menu afforandance”

I delivered a company-wide brown bag at work today. I was surprised during the presentation that a slide I’d included wasn’t displayed. I began to question myself. “Did I forget to copy and paste in this slide?” Afterwards, I found out that the slide was marked hidden. But it’s no surprise that I didn’t notice. Observe:

[Image of the right-click menu in PowerPoint, with a very subtle indicator that a slide is hidden

Bad PowerPoint, bad

I actually saw the gray coloring of the slide when I copy-and-pasted it into my presentation, and wondered if that meant it was hidden. I right-clicked on the slide, and expected it to say “Unhide Slide” if it was actually hidden. Since it said Hide Slide, and I didn’t want to hide the slide, I thought I was fine.

I now see that the subtle 1-pixel wide orange border around the icon next to the words “Hide Slide” means that it was hidden. And the slide was therefore skipped during the presentation.

So, there are two affordances used by PowerPoint to show the slide is hidden:

  1. Gray text in the body of the slide in the main display area
  2. A pale orange 1-pixel border around an icon that I never pay any attention

Trouble is, #1 I thought was because the slide’s text was SUPPOSED to be gray. And #2 was way way way way way way too subtle for me to notice.

PowerPoint, I give you an F. See me after class.

4 Responses to “PowerPoint: “I heard you liked hidden things, so I hid the hide menu afforandance””

  1. Michaela Says:

    As a habitual user of hidden slides, the main thing to pay attention to in the slide outline is the slide number being crossed out.

    I *hate* that the TiVo template uses gray text by default and have unrepentantly changed it back to black in all of my research decks. I will apply this slide by slide if I have to.

  2. DaveZ Says:

    Can you please unblur and enlarge that PowerPoint… 😉

    Oh, and, hey Michaela – I miss you and Advisors!

  3. Stephen Says:

    Dave, I promise you, there is NOTHING interesting on that slide. :) Generic ITIL processes.

  4. Stephen Says:

    Michaela: Oooh! I see it now! Neat, thanks.

    And yeah, our template’s default text color is irksome. We should hint to the marketing people that it’s time to redesign everything. They love doing that!

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