From classrooms to product launches, slide shows are the standard accompaniment for lectures and speeches. You cannot give a talk without one.
You will want to take your key points home – and while a picture is worth a thousand words, event attendees are more likely to be able to write down their ideas if they are written on a slide. A good slide show can make your speech more impactful. What is not fun is spending hours on PowerPoint or Keynote, a time that would be better spent preparing your actual presentation.
You need a simpler presentation app. This is the goal of a wave of new presentation software, including simpler online versions of PowerPoint and Keynote. These new tools are easier to use, allow you to collaborate with others – sometimes in real time – and allow you to edit your presentation on any computer connected to the Internet.
The best presentation software
- Google presentations for collaborating on presentations
- Zoho Show for built-in broadcast tools to broadcast presentations
- Slides to share team presentation assets
- Prezi for animated and non-linear presentations
- Microsoft Sway to quickly change your presentation style
- Canva for creative presentations
- Adobe Spark to turn presentations into video
- Swipe for interactive presentations
- Slidebean to automatically create slides from a sketch
- Deckset for easy presentations with Markdown
- Keynote for beautiful models
- PowerPoint Online for a simplified PowerPoint in your browser
What makes a great presentation app?
10/20/30: ten slides, twenty minutes and source of 30 points. That’s what the Apple employee Guy Kawasaki recommends for great presentations.
You may need a few more slides – or less – but the basic idea remains. The best presentations get the most out of a handful of graphics and large text. You want everyone in the crowd to read your slides easily and focus mainly on the talk itself. A handful of slides, each with a clear and concise statement, is your best bet.
And you need software to make this a reality. Something simple focused on facilitating the joining of quotes and images in easy-to-present slides. Something that will take no more than a few minutes to create your slide show. Something to keep your audience’s attention.
The latest versions of PowerPoint and Keynote are better than before, while several new smaller presentation tools allow you to make more exclusive presentations in less time. Here are the best ones to try.
Best presentation app to collaborate on presentations
Google presentations– part of the G Suite family of applications – is a traditional presentation application designed for collaboration. It works like PowerPoint and other presentation applications that you have used in the past, only Google Slides runs in your browser for free. Select a theme for the slide show, add standard slide layouts and insert text, graphics and slide transitions in the menus. The new Explore sidebar can suggest layouts that fit the content of your slide, for an easy way to enhance your presentation. You can present from any browser or the Google Slides mobile apps.
Google Slides really shine when it comes to collaboration. Share a link to your presentation and anyone you want can add details to the slides, write notes for the presentation and anything else they want. Add comments like in Google Docs to share comments and recheck what has changed with the Google Slides detailed review log. It is one of the best ways to collaborate on a presentation.
Google Slides Price: Free; $ 6 / month / user for the Basic G Suite plan with custom domain and trademark
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Best presentation app with built-in broadcast tools to broadcast presentations
The newly redesigned Zoho Show is a clear view of traditional presentation applications. Slides on the left, tools on the right and the slide you are working on in the center. You can add new slides with standard layouts, move text and images on the slides and keep your style consistent with the themes. You can collaborate with your team by adding comments to the sidebar of each slide.
When you’re ready to show your presentation, you can move through the slides in any browser as usual. You can also share a link to your slides so that all participants can download a copy for themselves. Or you can broadcast the slide show by broadcasting your slides online with live chat to chat with participants. It’s an easy way to present your ideas online or in person with the same presentation.
Zoho Show Price: Free; $ 35 / month / user for Zoho One with access to a variety of Zoho apps for your business
Best presentation app for sharing team presentation resources
You know that your boss made a presentation about your blog’s statistics last year, and the same presentation would work this year if you could put on your new company logo and this year’s statistics. Slides was designed to allow everyone on your team to develop from the presentations of others. You can save a shared library of designs, graphics, logos and more to include in presentations and search everyone’s complete slide decks to find the details you want to reuse.
So, when you create new slides, the Slide editor makes it easy to keep things in line with the internal grid. Drag images, text and more, and the editor will ensure that your presentation is not confused. It’s a little more like a website editor than your standard presentation – you can even customize your slide template with CSS and present your slides online.
Price Slides: Free for public presentations that may include advertisements; $ 5 / month for Plano Lite with unlimited private presentations, offline presentations and PDF export
Best presentation app for animated and non-linear presentations
Tired of standard slide shows? Prezi it’s anything but. It is more like a mind map, with a large screen that contains your entire presentation. You can have large graphs that connect everything – perhaps a galaxy, city map, ocean ecosystem or detailed graph – with your points and graphs nested inside. The presentation starts with zoomed out to give an overview, and Prezi zooms in to focus on the details as you go through the presentation, zooming out and returning to a different point as you go (what you can see in Prezi presentation templates.
Editing slide shows in Prezi requires a little more work than in a traditional slide show application. First you add new sections to the main slide and then edit the details within an enlarged part of that section, with text, video and more subsections to further expand, if desired. It is a fractal transformed into a presentation.
Prezi Price: Free for public presentations; $ 7 / month for Standard plan with unlimited presentations and privacy controls
Best presentation app to quickly change your presentation style
PowerPoint’s detailed tools make it powerful – and disturbing. You can create almost anything in PowerPoint, from a slide full of data to a brochure for your company. But that flexibility also means that it can be difficult to get basic presentation text and properly aligned images. Microsoft Sway help by focusing on its content.
Start by adding details to a Plot or topics that can include text, images, links, and more with simple formatting options. Then choose whether you want your presentation to use standard slides or a right-to-left scroll layout, more like a magazine, and choose one of the internal themes to format your content. It’s an easy way to turn a handful of notes and images into a unique presentation, where everything is not forced into individual slides.
Microsoft Sway Price: Free with an Office 365 account
Best presentation app for design-focused presentations
Want more personalized slides, without having to create graphics on your own in Photoshop? Canva was designed to create all types of documents focused on design: book covers, menus, magazine covers, posters, resumes and more. Among these options is a Presentation complete format with a tool to present your final presentation directly in the design application.
Canva is built around specially formatted images, backgrounds and text boxes and page layouts that help you create polished and image-focused slides. It is also easy to customize the graphs, with pre-made layouts, in which you can add labels and numbers in a table to adjust the graph of your data. Search for any required item, drag it to the slide or document and click on that item to adjust your options in the menu at the top of the page. You can then share the presentation publicly or present it directly in Canva.
Canva Price: Free for individuals with a selection of free templates and design types; $ 12.95 / month / user for Pro Plan with custom templates and brand management.
Best presentation app to turn presentations into video
Presentations don’t have to be individual slides that you click on one at a time. They could be an animated video – and Adobe Spark simplifies the creation of a PowerPoint. Designed to create graphics, web pages and video stories, it is the ultimate tool that is a useful way to make a presentation, especially if you want one that runs on its own.
Each slide is built around a graphic, which you can upload or find online by integrating Spark with Unsplash and other popular free photo sites. You can adjust the image design with filters, add text on the images and define how long this slide should be displayed in your presentation. Add each of your other slides and, in a few clicks, you will have a presentation video ready for automatic playback during your talk.
Adobe Spark price: Free for the main features; from $ 9.99 / month Individual plan for custom branding, custom themes and no watermark
Best presentation app for interactive presentations
Do you already have what you want to put in your presentation – a report in PDF, video on YouTube or Vimeo, image, GIF or a text outline? Swipe you can turn them into a presentation in seconds. Drag your files into the editor and Swipe will add each one to its own slide. Add one Markdownformatted text file – or add a new Markdown slide manually and enter your text – for a quick way to turn your class notes into slides. It is not as customizable as other presentation applications, but Swipe makes it so quick to transform existing files into a presentation that is worth the simplicity.
You can then add a Voting swipe with multiple choice questions for a quick way to get feedback from the audience. Share a link to your presentation at the beginning of your talk, and attendees will be able to scroll through PDF files, watch videos and see everything else in your presentation as you speak. They can also play their answer on the poll slides, with responses being displayed in real time on the big screen.
Theft price: Free for 5 presentations; from $ 20 / month Pro plan for unlimited presentations, analysis, password protection and secret links
Best presentation app to automatically create slides from a sketch
If you want to skip the tedious slide formatting process, but want to create detailed presentations that combine multiple items on each slide, Slidebean it’s right in your alley. All you have to do is write an outline of sorts, type titles, upload images and insert details for graphics. Then select a theme and Slidebean will create a presentation for you, complete with formatting.
Slidebeam’s automated slides will try to organize everything on the slides for you, or you can rearrange the elements by dragging them across the grid. Click on an item to edit it, if necessary – or return to Sketch mode to add more details. It’s an effective way to make presentations faster and include more data on each slide than you could easily in most other presentation applications.
Slidebean Price: Free to access free and pre-created templates; $ 8 / month (charged annually) for Initial plan with collaboration and privacy settings
Best presentation app for quick presentations with Markdown
Most presentation applications help you design your slides. Deckset was developed to help you write them. Write your ideas in any writing application with Markdown formatting and add a line break (three dashes or asterisks) between each slide. You can include images, links, video embedding and more – with text commands to organize items As you wish.
Then open that text file in Deckset and it will automatically turn it into a presentation. You can choose between your internal themes or customize your own custom code-based themes in the latest version. It is one of the fastest ways to turn your ideas into a presentation.
Deckset Price: One-time purchase of $ 35.00 per personal leave; $ 140 for a team license
Best presentation app for beautiful animations
Ever wanted to make a presentation similar to Steve Jobs’? Keynoteis the answer. The Apple presentation app is free with all new Apple devices and is like a simplified PowerPoint, full of beautiful templates and typography. You can even use it online at iCloud.com to give presentations in Keynote even on a PC and share them with others to get feedback.
Keynote is best known for its smooth animations, with enough options for you to create a new app in Keynote and make it look like you are actually using the app instead of watching a demo in a presentation. When you’re ready to present, you can use an iPhone to remotely control your presentation from the Mac, or present online for free with Keynote Live presentation streaming.
Keynote for iCloud Price: Free with an iCloud account, available on any new Mac, iPad or iPhone
Best PowerPoint presentation app simplified in your browser
The free PowerPoint Online you can open any PowerPoint file in your browser and includes tools to make new presentations with the main text, formatting, image and graphic tools. It’s all you need to make a presentation in a more streamlined application.
PowerPoint runs anywhere today with iOS and Android apps, along with the traditional Microsoft Office for Mac and Windows. And they all work together. Create a presentation in PowerPoint Online, edit it on your work PC, share it with your team so they can add comments or edits to any PowerPoint application, examine it on your phone on the way to the meeting and share one link to this with everyone in the audience. The original presentation app may still be what you need.
PowerPoint Online Price: Free online and with limited resources on mobile apps
Editor’s note: This post was originally published on October 28, 2014 and most recently updated on March 26, 2020 to include the latest prices. Zapier’s Danny Schreiber freelance writer Andrew Kunesh contributed to this post.