PowerPoint History Documents

Robert Gaskins

Documents Referenced in Sweating Bullets:

The documents listed below are unpublished documents about PowerPoint history by various authors, referenced in Sweating Bullets: Notes about Inventing PowerPoint, along with archived versions of a few other referenced documents difficult to consult. Also included is the full text of the book in a free searchable PDF with hyperlinks.

Andreessen, Marc. 2007. “Part 3: ‘But I Don’t Know Any VCs!’ ” Pmarca Guide to Startups. June 25, 2007. Archived at

Austin, Dennis, and Robert Gaskins. 1985. “Presenter [PowerPoint] Design.” 21 August, 1985.

Austin, Dennis, and Robert Gaskins. 1985. “Presenter [PowerPoint] Output Samples.” 21 August, 1985.

Austin, Dennis, Tom Rudkin, and Robert Gaskins. 1986. “Presenter [PowerPoint] Specification.” 22 May, 1986.

Belleville, Cathy, Lucy Peterson, and Aniko Somogyi. 1997. “PowerPoint: The First Ten Years.” 20 April, 1997.

Cortén, Dick. 2008. “ ‘Big Boost from Berkeley’: Inventing Critical Breakthroughs Behind the Personal Computer.” The Graduate, UC Berkeley Graduate Division, Vol. 20 No. 1, 2008.

Gaskins, Robert. 1984. “Presenter [PowerPoint] Original Proposal.” 14 August, 1984.

Gaskins, Robert. 1986. “Presenter [PowerPoint] Marketing Analysis.” 27 June, 1986.

Gaskins, Robert. 1986. “Presenter [PowerPoint] New Product Summary and Review.” 15 July, 1986.

Gaskins, Robert. 1986. “Presenter [PowerPoint] Status Update.” 14 August, 1986.

Gaskins, Robert. 1987. “Forethought Future Business Strategy.” 25 May, 1987.

Gaskins, Robert. 1987. “History of Forethought Since the Restart.” 25 May, 1987.

Gaskins, Robert. 1987. “Lessons from the Experience of the Restart.” 25 May, 1987.

Gaskins, Robert. 1987. “Response to Microsoft.” 1 June, 1987.

Gaskins, Robert. 1987. “Response to Microsoft, Extended.” 15 June, 1987.

Gaskins, Robert. 1988. “Results of Microsoft’s Graphics Business Unit after Our First Year.” 8 August, 1988.

Gaskins, Robert. 1992. “Photos of GBU on Sand Hill Road, 1992” (PowerPoint presentation; “.pps” is a self-running slide show, “.ppt” is a conventional PowerPoint presentation). Includes good photographs of many of the GBU people. 1992.

Gaskins, Robert. 2002. Interview by Peter Day. “Power Mad.” BBC Radio 4, London. 10 February, 2002.

Gaskins, Robert. 2002. Transcript of interview by Peter Day. “Power Mad Transcript.” BBC Radio 4, London. 10 February, 2002.

Gaskins, Robert. 2007. “PowerPoint at 20: Back to Basics.” Communications of the ACM 50, no. 12 (December 2007): 15–17. On the web at

Gaskins, Robert. 2012. “Comments on Dilbert’s History of PowerPoint.” 2012.

Gaskins, Robert. 2012. “PowerPoint 1.0 for Macintosh 1987, T-Shirt 25-Year Re-Issue.” The original pre-Microsoft packaging for PowerPoint 1.0 for Macintosh, as shipped by Forethought. 20 April 2012. Archived design with 25th-anniversary dates at

Gaskins, Robert. 2012. Sweating Bullets: Notes about Inventing PowerPoint. San Francisco and London: Vinland Books, 512 pp. Library of Congress Control Number 2012936438. LC classification T385 .G379 2012, LC Dewey class no. 005.5/8. LC Subjects: Gaskins, Robert, Microsoft PowerPoint (Computer file)--History, Forethought, Inc.--History, Microsoft Corporation--History--20th century, Presentation graphics software--History. Publication formats: ISBN13: 978-0-9851424-0-7 (hardcover) ISBN10: 0-9851424-0-5 (hardcover), ISBN13: 978-0-9851424-1-4 (web PDF) ISBN10: 0-9851424-1-3 (web PDF), ISBN13: 978-0-9851424-2-1 (paperback) ISBN10: 0-9851424-2-1 (paperback), ISBN13: 978-0-9851424-3-8 (ebook kindle) ISBN10: 0-9851424-3–X (ebook kindle), ISBN13: 978-0-9851424-4-5 (ebook epub) ISBN10: 0-9851424-4–8 (ebook epub). 20 April 2012. Archived searchable full text with hyperlinks to unpublished sources at

Gaskins, Robert, and Dennis Austin. 2002. Interview by Steffan Heuer. “The Revolutionaries of the Office.” Brand Eins (Issue 3, 2002). Translated by Susan Grabau.

Gaskins, Robert, and Laura Gould. 1972. Snobol4: A Computer Language for the Humanities. Berkeley, CA: University of California, 1972. On the web at

Gates, Bill. 1991. “Market Share of Applications in the United States.” 19 February, 1991.

Gold, Rich. 2002. “Reading PowerPoint.” In Working with Words and Images: New Steps in an Old Dance, edited by Nancy Allen, 256–270. Westport, Connecticut: Ablex Publishing, 2002. (Gold’s chapter was written in 1999). Archived at

Graphics Business Unit, Microsoft. 1989. “GBU Map and Driving Directions.” 10 November 1989.

Lucky, Robert W. 1998. “The World According to PowerPoint.” IEEE Spectrum, January 1998: p. 17. Original IEEE copy at
Archived at

Maples, Mike. 2004. “An Interview with Mike Maples (OH 387).” Edited by Nathan Ensmenger. Charles Babbage Institute, Center for the History of Information Processing, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. 7 May, 2004.

Microsoft Corporation. 1987. “Microsoft Letter of Intent for Forethought.” 13 May, 1987.

New York Times. 1987. “Microsoft Buys Software Unit.” 31 July, 1987.

Rudkin, Tom. 1987. “Appearance of PowerPoint under Windows and Presentation Manager.” 5 October, 1987.


PowerPoint 25th Anniversary:

Sweating Bullets front cover

“PowerPoint was the first presentation software designed for Macintosh and Windows, received the first venture capital investment ever made by Apple, then became the first significant acquisition ever made by Microsoft, and is now, twenty-five years later, installed on over one billion computers worldwide.”

“Robert Gaskins (who invented the idea, managed its design and development, and then headed the new Microsoft group) has written this book to commemorate the twenty-fifth anniversary of PowerPoint, recounting stories of the perils narrowly evaded as a startup, dissecting the complexities of being the first distant development group in Microsoft, and explaining decisions and insights that enabled PowerPoint to become a lasting success.”

Published by Vinland Books 2012,
Hardcover 6" x 9", 512 pp., $35.00
 (ISBN: 978-0-9851424-0-7)
Full PDF searchable, 512 pp., Free
 (ISBN: 978-0-9851424-1-4)
Paperback 6" x 9", 512 pp., $17.99
 (ISBN: 978-0-9851424-2-1)
Ebook for Kindle (all platforms), $2.99
 (ISBN: 978-0-9851424-3-8)
Ebook EPUB (Google, Apple, Nook), $2.99
 (ISBN: 978-0-9851424-4-5)

Where to Buy

Hardcover and paperback formats are available worldwide at Amazon.com, Amazon UK, Amazon France, Amazon Germany, Amazon Spain, Amazon Italy, Amazon Canada, Amazon Japan, Amazon China, Amazon India, or buy from Barnes and Noble, or buy from booksellers around the world via Abebooks, or find the book from a local independent bookstore via Indiebound, or order online with free worldwide shipping to over 100 countries.

Ebook formats are available worldwide through Amazon Kindle stores (US, UK, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Canada, Japan), Google Play stores (US, UK, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Russia, Spain), and Apple iTunes stores (US, UK, France, Germany, Canada, Australia).

Full PDF format (fully searchable and with links to references) is available worldwide for free download here, www.robertgaskins.com/powerpoint-history/sweating-bullets/gaskins-sweating-bullets-webpdf-isbn-9780985142414.pdf.
PowerPoint 1.0 1987 t-shirt
PowerPoint 1.0 1987 t-shirt design

The original pre-Microsoft packaging for PowerPoint 1.0 for Macintosh, as shipped by Forethought on 20 April 1987. Now re-issued as a T-shirt for the 25th anniversary of PowerPoint.

T-shirts by American Apparel; choose any of 21 T-shirt colors, light or dark, in sizes and styles for men and women. High quality printing by RedBubble.

Order from RedBubble for $20.98
plus shipping, available worldwide.
Buy Sweating Bullets book from Amazon
Buy PowerPoint 1.0 T-shirt from RedBubble

You can get a free personalized bookplate, hand-signed by the author, to be pasted into your book. Just send an email note and request to , and include (1) the name and address to which you want the bookplate sent, and (2) if you’d like any (necessarily brief) inscription.

About the Author:

  • “Robert Gaskins was the visionary entrepreneur who in the mid-1980s realized that the huge but largely invisible market for preparing business slides was a perfect match for the coming generation of graphics-oriented computers.”
    —Lee Gomes, 20 June 2007,
      The Wall Street Journal
Robert Gaskins, author of Sweating Bullets
  • For much more information about Robert Gaskins and about PowerPoint history, see:
    Robert Gaskins Home Page www.robertgaskins.com


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