When you think “presentations” is your first thought Microsoft PowerPoint? (Closely followed by an internal groan, dreading how long it’s going to take to pull all your slides together).
Sure, PowerPoint is the most commonly used presentation software, but there are other options. We’ve pulled together a list of some of the more common alternatives, and got them to engage in a little bit of friendly rivalry.
- Mac-based software, so the interface is arguably more intuitive
- The built-in themes and designs are generally considered to be superior to the ones offered in PowerPoint
- As Keynote is less widely used, chances are that your audience won’t have seen the designs a gazillion times already
- Stronger multi-media integration than offered by PowerPoint
- If you are sharing your presentation with other people, unless they are also working in Keynote (and on a Mac), they won’t be able to use and access your slides.
- You can export your Keynote presentation into a PowerPoint format however, there may be compatibility issues
- Doesn’t integrate well with Numbers and Pages, in the same way the MS Office suite works together
- Always on the Cloud and therefore accessible for any machine, anywhere, as long as you have an internet connection
- Real-time data updating – a great tool for collaborative projects
- Without an internet connection, you won’t be able to access your documents.
- Not as feature-rich as other desktop installed software
- Feature rich, well-designed slide libraries
- Easy to use interface
- No need to install software – presentations can be accessed from multiple devices and computers
- Real-time updating of content – extremely useful if multiple users are working on a presentation
- Different pricing plans depending on needs and usage – from a free account, to solutions that support upwards of 100 users
- Limited options on the free version
- Need an internet connection to access your presentation
- As the data is stored in the Cloud, there can be some issues with data loss
- A unique format for presenting ideas – the presentation layout isn’t linear – it is more like a huge sheet of paper where you zoom in and out on your points and ideas
- Good audience engagement
- Easy to use interface
- Simple navigation with mouse clicks while presenting
- The zooming in and out – while adding a unique look to presentations – can be a bit much to look at after a while
- Limited formatting and custom design (but you can upload a pre-designed graphic to create a custom background)
- Only supports Flash and YouTube embedded files
- Open source software – in other words, it’s free (although donations are appreciated)
- Works across the PC-Mac divide
- The interface is similar to MS Office, so if you are used to working with Microsoft products, then it should be quite easy to find your way around
- Although the interface is similar to MS Office, it’s not identical. This can be frustrating if you are used to working with PowerPoint as the slight differences can quickly interfere with your workflow. Muscle memory and typing and clicking habits can be very hard to break!
- Higher memory and CPU usage means a slowdown on your machine when using it
- Limited font choices, and although fonts can always be downloaded from 3rd party sites, if you are loading your presentation onto another machine (say at a conference centre), you will need to upload the fonts as well
- Missing some of the advanced features of MS Office
- Most commonly used presentation software
- Can be worked on across both Mac and PC platforms
- Feature-rich software (of greater advantage to large companies and corporations)
- If you want to work in PowerPoint cross-platform, you have to buy both versions of the software
- As it is so widely used, has gained a reputation for being ‘dull’ and ‘boring’
- The inbuilt templates and designs are generally uninspiring
Which is the ‘best’?
Does one of these presentation software solutions outshine all of its competitors? I would emphatically say no. They all have key advantages and disadvantages, so the trick is to work out which one best suits your needs.
And, of course, all of these are only tools. The most important factor is how you use them, and what you do with them.
What do you think? Do you have a presentation software that you love over all others?