Lotus Symphony Presentations
Lotus Presentations is the place in Lotus Symphony to create your presentations. If you have worked with a presentation software before, you will not have too many difficulties in getting used to the application. We do have to say a few things about what is where before going on.
First, the usual page/outline/page sorter/notes views are not presented at the top, but at the bottom right of the slide page in a drop-down box. When you open Presentations, the default view is Page View, with the slide thumbnails on the left and text properties on the right. Second, switching to Master View is done with the two small icons at the bottom of the slide. You can easily miss them. Third, the animation options are not presented in the right pane as you would expect, but under Presentation -> Animation Effects or through the object's right click menu. I would very much prefer these to be easily accessible rather than through menus.
Presentations opens up a tabbed menu where you can define/edit your animations. However, when you apply them, you can not immediately see the effects. You have to select the first tab and click “Preview", which will open up a preview window that will show you the resulting animations. If you have to edit anything, you have to go through the tabbed menus to correct and go back to preview. This is very time-consuming.
The image editing offered in the Presentations application is enough. You can resize, rotate, adjust color, brightness, contrast and gamma values. The graphics properties which you can access by right clicking on the image allows you to put your image precisely where you want to put it by defining coordinates. You can also change color resolution to reduce the size of your images. However, inserting an image is not obvious: You have to go through Create -> Graphic from File menu. In my opinion, this is not very intuitive.
Presentations offers an important usable feature, which is the ability to work with layers in slides. That means, you can put a slide of the kitchen plan in your slide and then put the piping plan on it as another layer and then place the electric equipment - such as the dishwasher- as another layer. This will save you immense time because you will not need to remake another slide for each view. You can access the slide's layers through Edit -> Layer -> Insert.
Presentations has some rough edges in terms of usage, which I described above, but if you leave these aside, it is on the way to replace your current presentation software.
As a final word, the Lotus Symphony suite is well equipped and promising. I can recommend you use the suite in your production systems and I can also recommend you to switch to Symphony from Microsoft Office. Symphony is compliant with all pre-2007 Microsoft Office file formats, but of course, you have to expect minor conversion glitches here and there, which will not, possibly, affect your life at all.