If you’re anything like me you cringe when there is any mention of PowerPoint. Admittedly I might be a presentation snob, but with GOOD REASON. I’m a creative person and aesthetics matter as well as the tools I use. I’m not trying to say that PowerPoint is incapable of being used to create beautiful presentations. Quite the contrary, I have seen some SPECTACULAR PowerPoint presentations! But for every GOOD PowerPoint there are a million awful ones. And the blame isn’t all on PowerPoint.
However having been forced to work in PowerPoint from time to time I can tell you that no matter how beautiful it is on MY screen when I finish it, as soon as I hand it off to be presented on another computer it turns into a steaming pile of doo doo. Fonts get swapped and layouts change… and if someone doesn’t really know what they are doing links get broken. Sometimes the presentation just isn’t compatible. And before you go yelling saying I’m some sort of Microsoft hater Apple fan-boy… I can assure you I hate everyone equally.
But I digress. This post isn’t meant to be a rant about my abhorrence of PowerPoint. It’s meant to offer OPTIONS!
Here’s a quick rundown on why you would possible want to switch from PowerPoint to something else:
Why to switch:
- Fonts swap out
- Issues opening up files
- It costs money
- Clunky interface
- You’re tired of it
- It always looks and feels like PowerPoint
Why to stay:
- You will be presenting on a computer without internet access
- You’re familiar with it and don’t want to learn anything new
- It’s required
- You’re sadistic and love to torture yourself and others
So without further ado here is the list of my favorite readily available choices for creating presentations:
- Adobe Slate
- Google Slides
- Slide Share
- Apple Keynote
- Microsoft PowerPoint
Adobe Slate: The free products you’ve NEVER heard of.
I recently discovered Adobe Slate and immediately saw how easy and cool it was. It’s almost impossible to create something that looks bad with it… but they achieve that by restricting the customizations a LOT! Which to me isn’t a bad thing. Look here’s a video I made about it.
If you’re the type that WANTS a lot of control then Adobe Slate isn’t for you. But if you are like 99% of people using PowerPoint and struggle to make something that looks good… I would HIGHLY recommend Adobe Slate.
Plus you can open it on virtually any device connected to the internet and have it look just as good no matter what. I’m not going to write about all the features as I think the video does a much better job at showing rather than telling. So yeah, watch it.
While I do love Adobe Slate here’s a realistic Pros/Cons list:
- Impossible to make something look bad
- Easy to use
- Has built in photo search library
- Responsive (works on any device)
- Requires a connection to the internet
- Extremely templated
- Has adobe branding on top and bottom
- Different style of presentation (not “slide” based)
Adobe Slate may not be the best option for you. In fact you might HATE it because it requires you to tell your story a bit differently (I think that’s actually a really GOOD thing).
But before I end this blog post I just want to touch on the other options I listed:
Super cool linear/non-linear story telling that can work across devices. Has free and paid options. It has some of the same pitfalls as PowerPoint in that to make a GREAT looking presentation it requires much more creative thinking and planning to execute. There are a lot of really bad Prezi’s out there, but when done right can be amazing! Also the tool to create them has a bit of a learning curve.
Admittedly I don’t have a lot of experience with Slide Share. I know people love them and you can create pretty stuff with them, but it seems pretty hit and miss with the quality. Requires some talent to make them look good.
Apples attempt at making an Apple-esk PowerPoint. It’s alright. Has some neat things, but I’ve never seen one that gave me a wow factor. Big downside… you have to use a Mac. (I’m pretty much only work on Macs but I like my tools to be hardware agnostic).
It’s like a dumbed down version of PowerPoint, but I ranked it higher just because it has Google fonts and at least you know what it’s going to look like when you open it up on a different computer. It gets the job done, no frills. It’s free. It’s cloud based so you can get it on almost any device.
Anyway that’s kind of the rundown of PowerPoint alternatives that I know about and have a bit of experience with. If you know of others that I should be checking out or just want to tell me how wrong I am leave a comment below!