An Auckland teenager has been crowned the world's Microsoft PowerPoint champion.
Fifteen-year-old Tristan Mona, an Avondale College student, beat more than 760,000 competitors from over 100 countries in a timed and graded exam to recreate a presentation put together by Certiport and Microsoft.
Since February he has been practising his PowerPoint skills 24 hours per week - around three hours per day, and undertaking 70 practice tests.
Students enter the Microsoft Office Specialist World Championship to prove their master skills in Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
Mona, who was 14 when he took the exam and aspires to be a tech entrepreneur, was awarded the title and a $7000 cash prize at the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista in Florida, US last week.
This is the first time in the competition's 17-year history that a New Zealander has claimed a first place title.
Mona said his college had encouraged him and other students to participate in the competition, but he did not expect to win.
"When I took my exam I knew there was a few things I missed but I tried to push those out of my mind," he said.
Initially, Mona had his sights set on being a Word master.
"At first I was trying to compete in the Word category, trying to compete against others from my school but that wasn't quite working out as well as I hoped it would, so I took a PowerPoint test and it turned out pretty well so I set my heart on trying to qualify for that."
His plans for future include mastering another Microsoft application - but he hasn't quite decided which. "In terms of the competition, PowerPoint is done now as you can't qualify more than once so I'll probably move on to a new application; maybe Word or Excel."
Ray Murray, vice president of IT service management company Pearson VUE, said the competition prepared students for academic study and the workforce.
"The Microsoft Office Specialist World Championship is truly a moving experience – not only because these students are thrilled to compete, but because their lives have been changed by certification," Murray said.
Microsoft Office Skills is the world's largest IT certification program, with 2.3 million certifications delivered annually.
It is the official certification for Microsoft Office globally and serves as an instrument to assess students skills and prepare them for real-world application.
"Every person who earns MOS certification has demonstrated the ability to command the full features and functionality of Microsoft Office, preparing them for future academic or workforce opportunities," Murray said.
"The MOS World Championship allows us to celebrate that accomplishment and motivate students on a global scale."
Next year, Certiport will host the MOS World Championship in New York.
Tristan's tips for creating a great PowerPoint:
Make use of slide markers
Transitions make it interesting
Use different forms of media