Articles on PowerPoint frequently start by saying that 30 million presentations are given each day, and 1.25 million each hour. Some examples include:
- PowerPoint guru Dave Pardi articles (1, 2)
- Levasseur and Sawyer’s article in Review of Communication
- CEO of SlideManager’s software website,
- Associated General Contractor’s of America website.
Where does this come from? Following the tangle of citations leads back to a single sentence in a critical evaluation of PowerPoint (Parker 2001).
According to Microsoft estimates, at least thirty million PowerPoint presentations are made every day.
Parker also says in the same article that 250 million copies of PowerPoint are installed. This suggests that, on average, that every computer with PowerPoint installed on it is used in a presentation every 8 days.
A second source is often found in Mahin 2004:
Yet no one disputes the importance and pervasiveness of PowerPoint. At a conservative estimate, PowerPoint can be found on 250 million computers worldwide. According to Microsoft, 30 million PowerPoint presentations take place every day: 1.25 million every hour.
This sounds suspiciously similar to the Parker quote, and contains no additional information that could be used to find how this number was generated.
An anonymous Microsoft representative is probably not the most reliable source. Who is this person, how did they arrive at that number, and how that figure has changed in the decade since Parker’s article was published?
As critical researchers, we need to stop receiting a decade old ‘fact’ with this little support. No one would dispute the importance and impact of PowerPoint; repeating old facts does not help build anyone’s case.
Mahin, Linda. 2004. Powerpoint Pedagogy. Page 219-222 in Business Communication. Quarterly. Vol. 67. No. 1, March 2004. Excerpt can be found at www.questia.com/googleScholar.qst?docId=5006184796
Parker, Ian. 2001. “Absolute Powerpoint. Can a software package edit our thoughts”. Page 76ff in The New Yorker, 28 May (Annals of Business Section).