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Stuff that matters

Microsoft’s Presenter Coach, which helps you practice presentations, has been available on the web version of PowerPoint for a while now, but it’s finally coming to the desktop and mobile versions of the app. According to Microsoft, the feature will now be available on Mac, Windows, iOS, Android, and, of course, the web.

PowerPoint Presenter Coach listens to you while you practice a presentation out loud — it analyzes what you’re saying, and can warn you if you’re talking too fast or slow, using filler words like “um” or “ahh,” or just reading the words off the slide (a personal pet peeve of mine). Trying it out on both PowerPoint for Windows and iOS, it worked shockingly well, doing pretty much everything Microsoft says it should. At the end it gives you a little report, telling you what you need to practice.

Along with the expanded availability, there are also some new ways that the feature can try to make your presentation better: it can look at body language (how close you are to the camera, if you’re making eye contact or putting things in front of your face), and warn you if you’re repeating words or saying them wrong. And yes, it still tells you not to swear in your presentation.

When I tried it, the feature didn’t show up in the Mac version of the app, but I was able to use it on iOS. Microsoft said the Presenter feature would be rolled out to all Mac users by the end of the month.

Microsoft also said that the processing for the feature is done on its servers, but is not stored. It is worth keeping in mind that this means you won’t be able to use the feature without an internet connection.