PowerPoint 2013 on Surface RT – What’s NOT Included

Power Point 2013
Limitations of PowerPoint 2013 RT

So, you bought a Surface RT?  Excellent!  It is light, battery lasts a long time, and it is pretty inexpensive – good choice.

However, now you may be asking yourself: can I use it for more than checking email, surfing the web, and playing games? And the answer is: Yes you can!

One of the things that you may be interested in is doing presentations with your MS Surface.  If that is your goal, you need to be aware of a couple of things:

  1. Surface RT comes preinstalled with Office 2013 RT – it includes PowerPoint 2013 RT. Since PowerPoint still holds the market in presentation software, this is good news.  Buy it for PC: Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013 (1PC/1User) [Download]
  2. PowerPoint 2013 RT has some limitations.  It is almost the same as Office Home & Student 2013.  In fact, it contains most of the features that average users would need.  But tablets have special needs for mobility and security, and hence a few things are not included.

So, what specific elements are not available?

  • Macros, Add-Ins, Forms, and other custom programs written by third parties.  For all these you will need a PC or a Surface Pro.
  • SkyDrive Sync Integration.  We’ve already written a post on this, check it out for details: SkyDrive Offline.  It is supposed to be fixed with the new 8.1 version of Windows RT but it is not yet released.
  • Equation Editor 3.0.  This is the legacy (older) equation editor used in previous versions of MS Office.  You can still view the equations but you cannot edit them.  However, a new feature for editing equations is included in PowerPoint RT.  So, you will be able to create new equations on the RT.
  • Slide Library ActiveX ControlSharePoint Slide Library toolbar is not supported but you can use the Slide Reuse pane instead.
  • Legacy Media Formats. You will need to use modern video media formats like H.264 and Advanced Audio Coding instead.
  • Flash Video Playback. No videos designed for Adobe Flash Player can be inserted or played back in PowerPoint RT.
  • Recording Narrations. You will not be able to use the Record Narrations feature on your Surface RT.  Again, for those you will need a PC.

Here is the Good News:

PowerPoint 2013 RT is free on your Surface RT.  And most presenters will never need the above unavailable features.  If you have older presentations that you must use, however, there are some workarounds. Most of them will involve the use of a PC. However, the ease of use and new features of PowerPoint 2013 RT far outweigh what is unavailable.  But that is a topic for another post.

You may also like our posts on Travel with Surface RT and Netflix on Surface Review.


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