Microsoft’s PowerPoint is the, by a mile, the most popular tool for creating those important presentations, but while it is everywhere and familiar to many office workers and road warriors, there are a number of other apps and services that are just as capable and less expensive to boot.
We’ve rounded up over half a dozen compelling alternatives to PowerPoint that are cloud-based and run from your browser, so you don’t need to install any software. This article gives you a summary of what these alternatives are and why you should consider them.
WPS Office Suite
Why it's useful: This app not only provides a compelling mobile alternative to Microsoft Excel (featured in our other list), but also offers excellent presentation software. The software is fully compatible with Microsoft PowerPoint files, allowing you to open and edit presentations and save them in the WPS app. You have access to a range of formatting tools, including font styles, colours and support for embedding charts and pictures.
It features over 230 fonts and WordArt effects, including all the slide transitions and templates you expect with Microsoft PowerPoint. What's great is the software supports extended displays, so you can connect your device to a TV or projector and deliver a live presentation controlled remotely. Other features include the option to save to PDF, integration with Dropbox, and collaboration tools to allow other users to leave comments.
Conclusion: Considered one of the best office apps available on mobile devices
Google Docs (Slides)
Price: Free for consumers (Google Apps for Business users pay £3.30 per user per month)
Why it's useful: Anyone with a Gmail account or who uses Google Apps for Business can use Slides to create presentations. As with other Google productivity apps, Slides allows easy collaboration between a number of users and can be used to make presentations of virtually any size.
It comes with a variety of themes and rich animations. Comments can be left for other users to see rather than emailing multiple copies to and fro or having boring telephone conferences. The cloud-based app automatically saves everything as you go along, so there is no need to hit the save button every time – nothing is lost.
Conclusion: This is a great way of building presentations in collaboration with others, but it may be too simplistic for PowerPoint power users.
Price: Free but slides are public, $6 per month for private decks
Why it's useful: This web-based application enables users to create and share presentations using HTML5, so it should work on all devices. Slides are arranged horizontally nd extra slides can be viewed at the side.
While there is a free version, this makes your presentations pubic. You have to pay extra for slide decks that are private.
Conclusion: A good web-based standards-compliant alternative to Powerpoint, but you will need to pay up to keep confidential slides that way.
Price: Basic package costs £7 per month when billed monthly. A Pro account costs £13 per month.
Why it's useful: This cloud-based presentation app allows you to create animated presentations with only a few clicks and drags. It differs from other presentation tools in that you start with a single canvas, then move around that canvas. All text and graphics stay on that canvas; you just move from place to place within it. The whole thing has the appearance of something you’d see on the news rather than a set of slides festooned with bullet points.
Conclusion: The presentations created certainly look snazzy, but at the end of the day you may find this somewhat limiting. With the free account, users can create “Prezis” but these are public. Paid accounts can be kept private.
Price: Free (part of iCloud when you buy Apple hardware or sign up for an Apple ID)
Why it's useful: Available as a beta product until earlier this year, Keynote is Apple’s take on PowerPoint but with Apple’s sensibilities and design cues. Functionally similar to Keynote on a Mac, the cloud-based version offers a simple way of creating presentations. It offers a number of great looking templates to start you off. Presentations are compatible with PowerPoint so you can import and export between the two applications.
Conclusion: A great alternative to PowerPoint and almost as fully-featured as the market leader. The app is backed by iCloud so you get 5GB of storage for free. But media-rich presentations may soon reach this limit, meaning you will have to pay for extra storage - and with Apple that’s not the cheapest on the market.
Price: On Application
Why it's useful: This cloud-based presentation service is aimed at sales people looking to create killer pitches and monitor responses to them. It also enables them to remotely present over the internet to others. Presentations created by the app can be shared among teams within an organisation. Links to slides can be sent via emails and message apps, and presentations can be carried out via screen sharing.
Conclusion: This presentation app is more helpful in the dynamics of giving a presentation, because you can add slides produced in other apps as well as other features such as video clips and screen sharing. It also manages the process of making a pitch and provides analytics of how well it went.
Price: Available for free; Pro version $3 per month for unlimited content presentations and 100 users.
Why it's useful: Bunkr is a presentation slide tool that is very useful for pulling in content from elsewhere in the cloud. Slides can be created that use images from social media and cloud storage services (as well as local files on the desktop). Users can also add YouTube videos and playlists from streaming services to slides, and presentations can be given from the website itself or exported as a PDF.
Conclusion: Bunkr is a modern presentation tool that pulls together content scattered around the web. It is definitely one to consider if you want to get away from the bullet points and tables of a traditional presentation.
Price: Emaze Pro $9 per month; Emaze Business $19 per month
Why it's useful/why you want it? Emaze bills itself as an online presentation platform. It provides a number of templates to get started with, which are arranged to make it easy to find the right template for your slide deck. Then it is just a case of adding graphics, video and text. The tool will also allow you to add sections to presentations and effects to give motion to objects within a slide.
Conclusion: This is a brilliant tool to quickly run up great looking slides if you are still quite the novice to presentations. One drawback is that some templates will limit you to using a particular font. Using the free account will also make slides publically accessible by others, so if you want to keep a set of slides to a particular (private) audience, you will have to pay up for a subscription.
This article was first published on 09/11/2015. It was last updated on 30/11/2016.
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Dale Walker is the Managing Editor of ITPro, and its sibling sites CloudPro and ChannelPro. Dale has a keen interest in IT regulations, data protection, and cyber security. He spent a number of years reporting for ITPro from numerous domestic and international events, including IBM, Red Hat, Google, and has been a regular reporter for Microsoft's various yearly showcases, including Ignite.