Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Isn’t the slide deck where the passengers play shuffleboard on a cruise ship?

It should be! So, why is the file containing the images for a presentation still called a slide deck?

“Slide deck” likely was management consulting slang that escaped into the mainstream. That terminology once made some sense when presenters used overhead projectors. The tall stack of rectangular images (variously called transparencies, viewgraphs, vuegraphs, vugraphs, acetates, films, or foils) actually resembled a gigantic deck of playing cards.

Back then a presenter needed an attaché case just for carrying a slide deck around. Shuffling cards is routine, but shuffling a slide deck would be a disaster. The cart for an overhead projector needed two distinct surfaces for carefully stacking them before and after they were shown.

Last year Christopher Stevenson ranted about Why I Hate PowerPoint and the People Who Love It. He similarly said that:

“I hate anyone who refers to a presentation as a slide deck. I just do. It's not 1973 anymore, we don't have slide decks, we stopped using overhead transparencies over a decade ago. I'm sorry you didn't get the memorandum.”

Can someone come up with a better name for a PowerPoint (or Keynote, or Impress) presentation file?

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