There’s no doubt that PowerPoint is the most ubiquitous piece of presentation software out there. It’s been around for a whopping 25 years and is said to installed on an unfathomable one billion computers around the world.
And there’s good reason for its endurance: its flexibility and depth mean that with the right skills, you can use it to execute all kinds of creative and interactive presentation ideas. It’s this infinite customisability that’s the reason why PowerPoint is our presentation designers’ forte and the niche that our business is focused on.
But it takes time and commitment to learn how to use PowerPoint well – and let’s face it, the majority of presentations people create in PowerPoint are just bad. Many of us shudder at the thought of dull, cluttered corporate presentations full of stock imagery and black text on white backgrounds.
This improper use has damaged the application’s image, with many condemning it when poor PowerPoint itself hasn’t done anything wrong.
While PowerPoint 2016 definitely feels more modern and approachable, and Microsoft’s Office 365 model means that it can continuously roll out new features, many presenters want to get more creative and find it difficult to express their ideas effectively in the programme.
Whether you’re looking achieve a certain look and feel for your next presentation, or simply want to try something different, try out these PowerPoint alternatives chosen by our presentation designers.
Probably the most popular among PowerPoint alternatives, cloud-based Prezi forgoes the traditional slide deck structure in favour of a more open ‘canvas’. Lay out pieces of content around the page and Prezi can pan and zoom from one piece of information to another. This unique system allows you to present in a very agile and audience-centric way: you can respond to their needs and focus on what interests them, making presenting more of a conversation.
While non-linear presenting is certainly possible in PowerPoint using a system of hyperlinks, Prezi makes this style of presenting feel natural and intuitive.
A subscription to Prezi’s ‘Pro’ option (which allows for offline use) will set you back £8.42 per month.
What is Sway? It’s a new presentation app cooked up by Microsoft that differs from PowerPoint in that it uses an intuitive drag-and-drop interface that adapts contextually to your cues. Place content into the editor and its algorithm will suggest layouts, backgrounds, fonts and transitions.
Sway’s appeal lies in its ability to pull in content not just from your device, but also from web and social services like Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Vine, SoundCloud, Google Maps and even your cloud storage.
Microsoft calls sway a ‘digital storytelling app’, highlighting the intention that it can be used for applications beyond traditional face-to-face presenting – such as personal projects, mood boards and reports. It can be embedded easily on blogs and webpages like this, too:
The best part is that if you have a Microsoft account, it’s free to use.
Keynote is Apple’s first-party presentation solution, which forms part of its iWork suite of productivity tools – its own PowerPoint alternative.
Keynote strips back a lot of the crowded user interface that many feel overwhelmed by in PowerPoint. It’s very friendly when working with multiple types of media and integrates seamlessly for use across Apple’s iOS devices.
It’s noteworthy for its slick, premium animations and transitions (something that PowerPoint’s now catching up to with its Designer and Morph features). As you’d expect from Apple, Keynote’s default themes are also very clean and non-cheesy.
Haiku Deck works well for those situations where you need to pull something simple together quickly and with minimum fuss – and its focus on mobile presenting makes it ideal for those constantly on the move.
Haiku encourages adherence to key rules of presentation design: it focuses on using large visuals to lead the story and limiting content to one point per slide.
You can of course save for offline viewing with Haiku, or easily embed your presentation on blog posts and websites. Subscriptions start from $10 a month, or even less if you’re an educator or student.
Each of the above PowerPoint alternatives offer some fantastic functionality that suits certain applications very well, but PowerPoint remains our presentation designers’ favourite tool.
Our presentation designers maintain that PowerPoint can look incredible in the right hands (*cough, cough*) and hold fast to its flexibility and accessibility. Its sheer depth means that it still leads the field: you simply can’t achieve the high level of customisation that you can in PowerPoint anywhere else.
If you really want to communicate your message in a way that blows your audience away, why not consider hiring professional presentation designers? When it comes to PowerPoint, we’ve seen it all and created the best of it. If you can dream it, our creative team can design and develop it… or even ‘hack’ PowerPoint to make it happen.
And if you do give one of the above PowerPoint alternatives a spin, be sure to let us know how it goes by tweeting to us @Buffalo7.