Using power point as a text editor
When I am writing, one of my constant quests has been to find a good editor where I can not only write but also organize my ideas. As strange as it might think, my best solution up to now has been not a text editor, but a presentation software. Yes, that is true, I use power point to write text.
One of the things that many users don’t know is that power point can also be a decent text editor and, in some respects, even better than Microsoft Word — just change the font used to “Times Roman” 10pts and you’re ready. There are some reasons why I think it is easier to edit large documents using power point than Word.
First, it provides a clear distinction between pages. Each page is a “slide”. You can create as many pages as you want, and they are independent of each other. You can move then around, and the content will also move around.
It is just like having old and trusted pages of paper.
This solves a major organization problem. When I edit a long text document, sooner than later I have problems with keeping information around. Where to put summaries, plots, notes, research, and many other things I need?
Clearly, one can create separate files for each document, and use a complicated directory structure to keep things organized. Whatever you do, at the end it is always confusing to keep your many ideas in a logical shape.
For example, if you have a new idea you would later want to incorporate into a document, where are you going to write it down? Simple: create a new slide to store it. An individual slide then becomes something hybrid between a file and a page of text. But you don’t have to go through the hassle of creating a new file, everything is stored in the presentation. When you run out of space in one page, create another one. It is as simple as that.
In the end, you are going to have as many sections in your document as you want, and they can be organized easily. You can move then around in the sorting order, and delete the ones you don’t want.
For example, I use the structure of power point to do several things. If I am creating a blog, I use each slide of the presentation to store one post. The slide contains roughly the size of a blog post, so I know that I should keep just one page per post, and the number of pages is the number of posts.
When writing a book, I use a power point file for the whole project, and each slide is a page. Then I use the summary tools to determine what I’m going to write in each page. It is the easiest way I have find to organize my writing — no more papers or simple notes left around.
About the Author
Carlos Oliveira holds a PhD in Systems Engineering and Optimization from University of Florida. He works as a software engineer, with more than 10 years of experience in developing high performance, commercial and scientific applications in C++, Java, and Objective-C. His most Recent Book is Practical C++ Financial Programming.