Dennis Austin, the principal software developer of PowerPoint, passed away from lung cancer on Sept. 1. He was 76. The Washington Post reports: Released in 1987 by Forethought, a small software firm, PowerPoint was the digital successor to overhead projectors, transforming the labor-intensive process of creating slides — a task typically assigned to design departments or outsourced — to one where any employee with a computer could point, click and rearrange information with a mouse. “Our users were familiar with computers, but probably not graphics software,” Mr. Austin wrote in an unpublished history of the software’s development. “They were highly motivated to look their best in front of others, but they weren’t savvy in graphics design.”

Working alongside Robert Gaskins, the Forethought executive who conceived the software, it was Mr. Austin’s job as the software engineer to make PowerPoint (originally called Presenter) easy to operate. He accomplished this with a

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