There’s no doubt that PowerPoint is the most ubiquitous piece of presentation software out there. It’s been around for a whopping 30 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 presentations. It’s this infinite customisability that’s the reason PowerPoint is Buffalo 7’s forte and the niche that our business is focused on.
But, like any other design tool, it takes time and commitment to learn how to use PowerPoint well. We all shudder at the thought of dull presentations, cluttered full of stock imagery, stretched logos, endless bullet points…..i could go on.
This improper use has damaged the application’s image, with many condemning it with terms like ‘death by PowerPoint’. However, as our Creative Director Rich has said before, “It’s what goes in the presentation that makes it amazing or terrible, not the software.”
That being said, while we are firmly in #TeamPowerPoint when it comes to presentation software, there are some nifty PowerPoint alternatives out there should you want to try something new.
Our presentation designers like to try out other software on a regular basis. Here’s their pick of the bunch of PowerPoint alternatives.
Probably the most popular PowerPoint alternative, 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 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.
Pricing: Prices start at £7 per month for Prezi but if you’d like to use it offline you’ll need at least the ‘Plus’ package which is £19 per month.
Check out a previous blog post we wrote for a detailed comparison of PowerPoint and Prezi.
Microsoft Sway is a 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 too.
Pricing: The best part is that if you have a Microsoft account, it’s free to use.
For more information check out our previous blog post ‘Sway vs PowerPoint: What’s the difference?’
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.
Pricing: Free with all Macs and iOS devices.
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.
Pricing: Subscriptions start from $7.99 a month, or even less if you’re an educator or student.
If you’re a heavy Google user that uses Gmail, Google Docs, has an Android phone then you may be tempted to try out there presentation offering. Google Slides is accessible anywhere and requires no software installation whatsoever. You don’t have to worry about saving your work as that’s all done for you and there a shareable at the click of a button. Pretty great right?
There are a few drawbacks to using Google Slides which we cover in more detail in our ‘Pros and Cons of Google Slides‘ piece.
Pricing: Totally free.
Each of the above PowerPoint alternatives offer some fantastic functionality that suits certain applications very well, but PowerPoint remains our presentation designers’ favourite tool.
We 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.