PowerPoint. It’s the standard, go-to presentation tool. And we’ve all used it at some point or another.
It’s kind of like Tostitos salsa. It’s effortless, reliable, and it’s been around since the dawn of time. But let’s face it, while Tostitos may be a party staple, it’s never going to throw your guests’ tastebuds into a wild frenzy. PowerPoint is the same. It gets the job done, but it lacks a certain spice and freshness.
If you want to impress your colleagues, professors or clients, PowerPoint just isn’t going to cut it. PowerPoint presentations can be quite transient if you ask me, and you want your project to leave a lasting effect. You’re not going to do that with text-heavy slides. Luckily, there are dozens of creative and compelling presentation tools and software that trump PowerPoint.
Blow your audience away with these five powerful PowerPoint alternatives.
Advantages: SlideShare is about as simple as you can get. (And it’s free!) Remember, work smarter, not harder. Not only can you upload your PowerPoint presentations to SlideShare, but you can easily share them with others and embed it in websites. In addition to PowerPoint, it accepts PDFs, Keynote and OpenDocument presentations. One other bonus is that you can choose to make your presentations private or public. Keep your trade secrets hush hush or show off your company’s culture for all the world to see!
Disadvantages: Our one major caveat with SlideShare is that if you find you make a mistake, you can’t just correct it in SlideShare. You must change the presentation in the program you designed it and re-upload it.
Advantages: Prezi has been around for a while, but that doesn’t make it any less potent. It’s got some major pizazz. With this dynamic web-based tool, you can utilize zoom and transition elements to visually boost your presentation and show your presentation on multiple devices. Like with Slideshare, you can make the presentation public or private. You can also edit a Prezi presentation simultaneously. It’s proven a big hit with businesses and students.
Disadvantages: Prezi can be a bit tricky to pick up, but once you get a presentation or two down, it’s like second nature. (Training is available on their site.) Unfortunately, Prezi isn’t free, but it is cost-effective if you frequently create presentations. But if you find yourself prone to motion sickness, you may want to experiment with one of our other suggestions.
Advantages: Haiku Deck has been praised for its inspirational and innovative presentation software. It’s even been deemed the “Instagram for pitch decks” by Mashable. And it’s a cinch to use. You can create presentations online or on your tablet. Choose from more than 40 million royalty-free images and thousands of templates.
Disadvantages: It’s not fully customizable as you cannot change the size or color of the text. It’s also not free. You cannot edit the presentation offline either. In addition to the free version, users can choose from three pricing tiers, Public, Pro, and Premium. However, it does offer discounts to non-profits, students, and educators.
Advantages: PowToon is PowerPoint’s cool cousin from the city. It’s flashy, fancy and fun. With PowToon, you aren’t delivering a presentation — you’re telling a story. Swap boring bullet points with vibrant animated characters and mundane text with entertaining voiceovers. Another perk of this interactive presentation tool? It integrates smoothly with Google Drive.
Disadvantages: If you don’t mind cheesy, stick with the free version. However, it can also be a little difficult to maneuver. If you’re looking something more streamlined and professional, upgrade.
Advantages: Google Slides is Google’s version of PowerPoint, so if you are boycotting Microsoft but want a presentation tool just like PowerPoint, here’s your free solution. It boasts many of the same features as Google Drive, such as simultaneous editing, revision history and the ability to comment and tag other contributors.
Disadvantages: Templates are limited, and transitioning from slide to slide while trying to edit can be frustrating.
These are just five of countless presentation tools available. Which ones are your favorite? Tell us the comments section below!
Editor's Note: This blog was originally published in 2016. It has been updated for freshness and accuracy.