(Credit: Andrei_R, Shutterstock / Andrei_R)

Slideshow presentations used to be sleep-inducing affairs. Remember sitting patiently while a friend or colleague projected a seemingly endless stream of slides onto a screen? Today, we create slideshows digitally, and slideshow apps make our presentations more dynamic with transitions, effects, video clips, background music, narration, and captions.

While standalone slideshow makers are often feature-rich, they can be costly, not to mention just another app to download on your computer. Before downloading a standalone slideshow maker, check your existing photo apps, such as Google Photos, as well as presentation software like Microsoft PowerPoint to see if they'll fulfill your needs.

If your requirements aren't extensive, you could also pass on the paid apps for a free one, since many free slideshow makers already offer most of the must-haves, such as background colors, captions and narration, background music, and slide sequencing.

SEE: Best to-do list apps of 2018 for managing tasks on Windows

Whether you want to wow your friends with your stellar vacation photos or your boss with your dynamic slideshow presentation, here are seven presentation apps to slide into.

1. Google Photos

Google Photos (Windows), one of our favorite apps for storing and organizing photos and videos, now supports slideshows. Just navigate to an album, tap on a photo, and select Slideshow from the drop-down menu to automatically showcase the enclosed images. To broadcast your slideshow to your TV, Google recommends using a Chromecast streaming device.


2. Microsoft PowerPoint

The Microsoft PowerPoint (Windows) presentation app is a great tool for photo slideshows. Create a new presentation, then add a title and as many slides as you need. Then import your images to PowerPoint and add them to their respective slides. You can then edit and arrange them, add transitions, backgrounds, and music. Then play from your device, broadcast to your TV, or share via the cloud.


3. iSkysoft Slideshow Maker

iSkysoft Slideshow Maker (Windows) enables you to transform your pics and videos into musical slideshows enhanced with 3D effects and share them using your monitor or over YouTube and Facebook.

Download the Windows app and then select Advanced or Standard Mode. If you want to tinker with customization options, go with Advanced. Otherwise, we recommend Standard.

Then add your pictures, videos, and music files and any customizations, if needed. Then save the slideshow to your PC to present it from there or publish it to YouTube.


4. WPS Office

WPS Presentation, a component of WPS Office (Windows), enables you to create, open, and save Microsoft PowerPoint-compatible presentations.

Choose a template, upload your images, video, and audio, and add cool font styles, shapes, text effects, columns and tables, advanced animation, and slide transitions. After saving, you'll be ready to present from your monitor or a projector.

With the extended desktop support feature, you'll gain the ability to view notes, preview ensuing slides, and track time, so you don't run late.


5. Apache OpenOffice

Apache OpenOffice (Windows)'s Impress helps you create and present wow-worthy multimedia slides using the app's templates, dynamic 2D and 3D clip art, special effects, animations, and drawing and diagramming tools.

Lay out your slides, set them to run automatically or manually, and add transitions and interactions. Save your presentations in OpenDocument format, so you can access your presentations from any OpenDocument compliant app or save your slideshow in PowerPoint format.

To run the slideshow, click the Slide Show button on the Presentation toolbar and let it run on its own or run it with your keyboard or mouse.

With the Presenter Screen feature, users can use a second screen to access notes, previews of the next slides, as well as time info, while presenting on a monitor or projector.


6. Prezi

With its easy-to-use interface, Prezi (Web) lets you create your slideshow in a snap. Choose one of the provided templates, customize it with fonts and colors, and add your pictures, videos, and PDFs. Save it in the cloud for easy collaboration with friends or colleagues, or download it to your desktop, so you can work on it and even present it offline. With Presenter View, you can see notes, cues, and prompts on a second screen while you present.


7. Emaze

Emaze (Web) helps you construct and present dynamic presentations, guaranteed to impress your audience.

Choose from one of Emaze's hundreds of professional 2D or 3D templates. Then write and edit your text; upload photos, videos, infographics, live web pages, GIFs, custom effects, and audio; and deliver your presentations in person, remote present, or share via email or social media.


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Joshua is an editor for CNET's He covers the mobile tech and apps that power our lives and interviews celebrities about their favorite apps. Previously, he worked as an editor at Healthline and and as a contributing writer for Mac Directory, MacAddict, SF Weekly, SF Examiner, and SF Chronicle.