For many of us, creating a slideshow is the go-to way of sharing information with other people, particularly in a working environment. It's not surprising, because slideshow presentations have many advantages.
Slideshows are easily created and can incorporate words, pictures, animations, video and other media. They can be saved in standard formats like PDF for sharing widely, and printed as takeaways in styles that include facilities for people to add their own handwritten notes against individual slides. Speaker notes can be attached to slides, so there's no need to write separate notes to remind you want to say when you stand up in public. It is easy to reuse individual slides from a presentation, and so a bank of information can be built up easily. And that's just the start!
The popularity of slideshows as a way of sharing information has been in large part created by Microsoft's PowerPoint (download for Windows and MacOS), but there are plenty of presentation competitors to PowerPoint. Here are a few PowerPoint altnenatives to consider if you want to try something different.
Like other Google productivity apps, Google Slides (download for Android and iOS) is made for collaborative work, and if you are familiar with Google Docs or Sheets, then working with Slides should present no difficulties. It is easy to add and edit slide content and comment on slides, including working as a group in real time. Because collaborative work can evolve quickly, Google Slides saves automatically, and it keeps a revision history so if the current working version goes awry you can backtrack to an earlier one.
You don't need to start with a blank screen and wait for inspiration to strike. There are lots of templates to use as a starting point, as well as premade presentations and pitches that can be easily customized.
Google slides can be used from any device: laptop, tablet or phone. Just download the app -- or open a browser on MacOS and Windows -- to get started.
Canva doesn't tout itself as a slideshow maker. Instead it focuses on helping out with creative design of anything from posters to Instagram posts, logos, newsletters and lots more. There are templates to build on, fonts, graphics, photos and icons to work with. The drag-and-drop interface is really easy to get to grips with, and the templates mean anyone can produce well designed projects within minutes.
Pay the monthly fee and there's access to even more, including personalized brand colors and fonts, access to saved templates and priority support. Anyone in a business or community organization might find these features useful.
One of the publishing options is "present." Pick this, and you can present your series of created images right from within the application -- as a slideshow.
If you find moving from slide to slide in a linear fashion rather dull, then Prezi might be just what you're looking for. With Prezi presentations, you can zoom in and out to see the detail. Think of it like having a single slide that's the point of entry and then being able to go deeper into whatever area of information interests you the most at the time, moving in and out of layers of information.
This approach allows for a more tailored use of information that's flexible for a range of audiences. It might take a bit of time to get used to how things work at first, because you're not designing a presentation in an A to B to C way, but more in a starburst kind of way. Prezi makes use of template presentations that will help you get to grips with the system and save you from having to design from scratch.
Zoho is a comprehensive suite of online applications that run on the desktop and on mobile devices, and Zoho Show is the slideshow part of the suite. Individual slides are easily created and brought together into a slideshow. Themes help you create slides -- even if you are short on inspiration -- and there is a collaboration element to the tool, so that others can comment on and edit your creations, including in real time.
There are lots of options for sharing slideshows. They can be shared with other people by sending them a link, you can do a broadcast presentation to an audience that's spread around in different locations, or shows can be presented to an in-person audience in the traditional manner, from a tablet or phone.
Apple's Keynote lets you create elegant, powerful presentations. It's available on the Apple platform (download for MacOS and iOS) and through iCloud, and it's hard to argue against using it is you live in Apple's world.
However, while Keynote is in most ways on equal footing with Microsoft's powerhouse presentation software, its lack of a Windows version can be a disadvantage for those who work in a multiplatform environment.
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