Preview PowerPoint slides in Gmail

Google has added yet another document preview button to Gmail. You could already preview Word documents and spreadsheets sent as file attachments using Google Docs & Spreadsheets. Now if you receive an email with an attached PowerPoint presentation, you can view the slideshow in your web browser with no need to download.

The PowerPoint viewer is pretty simple. When you click on “View as a slideshow” a new browser tab opens up with the first slide. You can click back and forth, but you can’t organize the slides or edit them in any way.

Google does plan to add presentations to its online office suite this summer. In April the company purchased Tonic Systems, a company with experience in document conversion and presentation applications. The email preview option is probably just a sneak peak of things to come.

It’s still pretty useful. Most computer users can go their whole lives without ever needing to create a slideshow presentation. But it’s pretty handy to have an application that can read them without shelling out the big bucks on Office. Of course, there’s always Open Office, but if all you need is a presentation viewer, installing Open Office is sort of like swatting at a fly with a shotgun.

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