The playlist is the heart of the automation tools, which is a natural extension of the projection features. When you want to use automation, make sure the Automation column is selected in the playlist (select View:Select Columns).
Any playlist item can be automated. Only song files can include timing data within the song, such as jumping to a specific verse, or wiping text and only leaving the background image. However, ALL playlist items can be set to either play to completion, or end after a specific time.
Powerpoint files are a special case for automation. Some Powerpoint files contain built-in timing data, so that the slide show automatically advances. You can override this behavior, and choose to force the slide show to end early.
The following illustrated screen shot shows how automation details appear on the playlist.