PowerPoint Alternatives: The Top 10 Presentation Software in 2018

by Kasia Perzynska

Today, a corporate meeting without a PowerPoint presentation would be bizarre.

Presentations are the way business people choose to communicate. In fact, more than 120 million people use Microsoft PowerPoint worldwide to create business and educational presentations.

PowerPoint allows you to arrange text and graphics in a series of pages, which you can project slide by slide, from a laptop computer onto a screen, or print as a booklet.

It’s estimated that Microsoft PowerPoint holds a 95% share of the presentation software market and for this reason, it is the indisputable king of presentations.

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The New Yorker compares PowerPoint to “a suit of clothes, or a car, or plastic surgery. You take it out with you. You are judged by it—you insist on being judged by it. It is by definition a social instrument, turning middle managers into bullet-point dandies.”

And there is some truth in this quote.

Over the years, PowerPoint has helped presenters edit ideas, organize information and decide how much information to include. In its early days, it was a revolution. Created as a response to the new corporate world of interdepartmental communication.

The Early Days of Powerpoint

Perhaps you’ve wondered what the story behind Powerpoint is. Interestingly, it wasn’t developed by Microsoft. Originally, it was created by Robert Gaskins and Dennis Austin, who worked for Forethought, Inc.

PowerPoint 1.0 was released in April 1987. It was in black-and-white, available for Macintosh computers only, and sold under the name ‘Presenter.’

Then in 1987, after some trademark disputes, it was called PowerPoint, and the same year Microsoft acquired it for $14 million (today’s equivalent to $30 million).

Back in the day, it was Microsoft’s first significant acquisition that contributed to the creation of Microsoft’s Graphics Business Unit, which continued to grow this software further.

PowerPoint was the first presentation software that actually brought the presentation into the computer age and allowed teachers and companies to shift the way they work forever.

Interesting Facts:

  • PowerPoint 1.0 was released in April 1987
  • Initially was available only for Macintosh
  • The first version was black-and-white
  • Its first name was “Presenter,” and after a trademark problem, it was changed to PowerPoint.
  • In 1990 Word, Excel, and PowerPoint began to be integrated into Microsoft Office.
  • In the mid-nineties, Microsoft learned that some would-be presenters were uncomfortable with blank slides. For this reason, they introduced automatic content.

While PowerPoint still dominates the world of presentations, it doesn’t mean that the future belongs to it or there are no alternatives to it. In fact, PowerPoint is the reason why presentations appear so similar. This makes them often seem stale and boring. Which is why, we should change things up a bit.

After all, there are plenty of presentation tools available online, and they’re getting stronger over time. All you need to do is to discover them and test them out to see how they work for you.

Today, I will discuss all the PowerPoint alternatives that are worth your attention.

The Top 10 PowerPoint Alternatives in 2018

1. Apple Keynote

Let’s begin with the second huge market player, Keynote.

It’s an obvious PowerPoint alternative for Macbook users because if you already use an Apple device and have iOS, you can access this presentation software for free.

Apple always tries to simplify products, which is why it cuts out the clutter and offers you a basic presentation tool that is clean and easy to use.

Basically, you begin with an empty canvas; first you set up the desired template and then you can go ahead and fill out your presentation slide by slide.

As said before, Apple embraces simplicity. They offer pre-made templates with sleek lines and polished pictures.

Here’s a preview:

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And there’s also an online version.

Similar to PowerPoint Online, there’s also Keynote for iCloud. To access it, you need to go to the iCloud website and insert your Apple ID login credentials. The interface is very similar to the app’s mobile version.

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Keynote for iCloud might be a limited version when compared to the desktop iteration, but it’s super-useful for its sync options that allow you to display and edit a single presentation responsively across all Apple devices.

It also includes simple collaboration features, so you can not only create beautiful slideshows on the go but also share them with your team.

Pricing: Free; $0.99/month for 50GB for extra storage.

2. Google Slides

Those who are happy users of Gmail and G Suite can reach for Google Slides as the most convenient cloud-based powerpoint alternative.

Here’s a preview of the editor:

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Google Slides, similar to its Apple counterpart, bets on simplicity. Therefore, it’s a super-easy, user-friendly presentation solution that will let you create a simple slideshow quickly and share it with others in one click.

Here, you can expect all the most standard presentation software features, including basic animations and slide transitions, plus the interface is easy to understand for rookies.

Google Slides’ collaboration features are at a pro level. All users who have access to a specific file will find it easy to make and display real-time edits. There’s also a built-in chat which lets collaborators discuss ongoing changes.

Revision history is also available, so you can view what edits were implemented, when, and by who. All in all, Google Slides makes group projects easy.

Google Slides Pricing: Free; extra storage from $1.99/month for 100GB

3. Evernote Presentation Mode

When you do a presentation with PowerPoint or Keynote, you often focus so heavily on structuring your slides and the details that you forget to present the information compellingly.

Then you end up reading your slides. That’s a shame because the climax of creating a presentation is to present your content in the best possible light.

And that’s where Evernote comes into play.

As you probably know, it’s primary focus is note taking, work organizing, task listing, and task archiving. Evernote released a presentation tool for its premium plans so that it can be seen as a PowerPoint alternative.

To produce a smooth and elegant presentation with Evernote Presentation Mode, just:

  • take your notes as usually you do
  • finish them up with the relevant formatting (H1/H2/H3) to give an appropriate structure
  • Include visuals, charts, and bulleted lists

and there you go.

Presentation Mode in Evernote

As you can see in the short explainer video above, Evernote will automatically create slides and a table of contents based on your regular notes. And you can easily download the PDF version of a slideshow to your desktop.

The best part of it is that you don’t even need to think of structuring your presentation into slides because it happens automatically. And when you hit the spacebar, the presentation moves from one slide to the next. There’s also a pointer at your disposal, so you can use it to highlight and point out exactly what it is that you’re talking about.

You just click on the slide screen icon in the toolbar. And voila, that’s it.

Although there are no extra bells and whistles, such as colorful templates, animations or transitions available, this tool is just perfect for the basic presenting needs. Just right for when you want to make it as easy as it gets to point out what’s most important.

Evernote Presentation Mode is ideal for small format presentations, especially when you normally use Evernote for notes.

To access presentation mode, you need Evernote Premium, which costs around $100/year.

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4. Canva

Another app that can be considered a strong PowerPoint counterpart in terms of usability is Canva.

In general, Canva is a user-friendly comprehensive DIY design tool for non-professionals who don’t have a designer on board, or just want to create visuals by themselves but aren’t properly trained to do so.

It’s not just a PowerPoint alternative, but a Photoshop alternative for non-designers.

Canva comes with its helping hand whenever you need social media graphics, handmade infographics, a blog cover image, simple charts, a presentation, or literally any kind of visual.

Its strong point is a huge library, where you can choose backgrounds, layouts, pictures, fonts and creative decor elements applicable to your project.

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With Canva, the presentation creation process becomes fun. Its drag-and-drop dashboard provides you with fully-customized, image-focused slides.

Basically, Canva is free, with paid visuals starting at $1.

5. Prezi

Prezi is presentation software that takes slideshow creation to the next level.

It combines information with animation in a non-standard, dynamic, light, visually appealing, fresh and absolutely fantastic way.

It’s excellent for those special occasions when you want to create something spectacular and impress your audience with your creativity and non-standard thinking.

Prezi will surely blow their mind, so it’s worth spending the time and effort.

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Take a look at Prezi’s gallery to understand what we’re talking about.

The limitless zoom-in and zoom-out effect make the presentation experience non-linear and unique.

The only minus could be the fact that, when you’re combining so many tweaks into one show, such a creation can become very labor-intensive. Special effects might get somehow predictable when overused. Therefore, I would keep this software as a dark horse for a big event and only prepare slideshows with Prezi once in a while.

6. Slides

Don’t confuse Slides with Google Slides, because these two are entirely separate products.

Slides is another presentation creator that can qualify as a PowerPoint alternative; this one is an HTML5-based open source tool. Slides allows you to create your presentation deck for free.

However, then the access to your slides is public (your content will be publicly available and searchable, so you won’t be able to use sensitive data) unless you upgrade and go for the Pro or Team plan.

Here’s a dashboard preview:

slides-editor-powerpoint-alternatives

People appreciate this presentation software for its simplicity and because it just makes making presentations fun. With Slides, you don’t need to dig through drop-down menus to get the necessary tools.

According to the reviews on Capterra, the learning curve is not bad, as the way it works is pretty similar to PowerPoint. As a result, you can learn it quickly. Especially since once you sign up, you’re taken right to a clean, user-friendly interface, and the step-by-step tutorial starts to guide you through all the buttons and views.

Also, Slides offers Google Analytics integration that allows you to analyze where the traffic to your presentation comes from and how it flows through your slides.

Plus, there are tons of functionalities available. Presentations created with Slides are responsive so that you can preview them both on the desktop, and mobile devices. Slides also makes presentation sharing and collaboration as convenient as it gets. It’s like link sharing, easily accessible wherever you go, offline and online.

Although Slides offers many functions, one disadvantage is the limited number of templates. Of course, you can easily upload your media of logos, icons, and pictures to the library, and in this way enrich your slideshow.

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Also worth mentioning is its forking feature. Forking is an option to reuse other people’s layout or design as templates for your presentation. This way, if you like one of the public presentations available on the site, you can just take it and adapt it to your needs. This makes creating your own slideshow so easy peasy.

Also, Slides offers code syntax highlighting and the ability to add custom CSS to your presentations for easy styling and branding. This makes it specifically useful for developers and designers.

Okay, as I said before, there’s a plethora of features available, so if you’re attracted to the tool, go ahead and check it out for yourself.

And what’s the pricing?

It starts with a free plan – that means public access to your files, but there are three other affordable plans to upgrade to.

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7. Zoho Show

Another PowerPoint alternative worth mentioning is Zoho Show.

As you may already know, Zoho is a popular suite of online productivity tools and SaaS applications. It’s a trusted company, currently used by approximately 30 million people worldwide.

To become even more competitive, Zoho released an Office Suite and Docs some time ago that operates as a Microsoft Office and Google Docs counterpart.

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And Zoho Show is a part of this suite.

Zoho Show includes everything you could wish for from a presentation software. It’s cloud-based, offers an offline presentation mode, secures your data, and enables easy sharing and collaboration.

It’s compatible with PowerPoint, so you can easily import your slides from Zoho Show to PowerPoint, and export from PPT to Zoho Show slides. However, it doesn’t end here. Zoho Show works well with various file types, so you can import and export .ppt, .pptx, .pps, .ppsx, .odp, and .sxi.

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The strongest feature of Zoho Show is broadcasting. This feature lets you present your slides online to a selected audience remotely and in real-time. You just need to share a link directly or through email to view the broadcast.

And what about pricing? Zoho Show is free, but the extra features and storage starts from $5 a month.

8. Visme

Visme calls itself ‘not another boring presentation software.’ For this reason, let’s have a closer look at it and see whether it is, in fact, not boring. 😉 This is how the interface looks for a new user, right after you sign up:

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At first glance, the editor looks quite similar to Canva → clean and friendly. And it seems that Visme’s approach to presentation (and infographics) is much alike.

Visme, with its wide variety of formatting tools, elements, fonts, and templates, lets you deal with presentations with an open mind and create attractive presentations with ease. You have many graphics, charts, theme colors and text blocks at your disposal to fit into your slides. Also, there’s a library for your uploads.

Moreover, Visme delivers useful analytics features that provide accurate and up-to-date information on the visitors and their behavior. Here, you can monitor the traffic your presentation generates, the number of unique visitors and the time spent on your content by each visitor.

A simple interface makes presentation making a pleasant experience. So go ahead and test Visme. Perhaps it’s a PowerPoint counterpart you could go for.

Visme Pricing starts from $0 on a basic plan. So you can test it out for free and see if it works for you.

9. Haiku Deck

The next presentation software that’s worth your attention is Haiku Deck. It’s another tool that’s trying to make the presentation making the experience less painful, and for this reason, embraces simplicity and clarity.

Haiku Deck’s library is massive and covers over 40M beautiful, royalty-free images & backgrounds! That’s quite a lot, and you can also upload your images and custom design.

The design structure makes it difficult to create an ugly presentation.

But, the software’s features are limited. This makes Haiku Deck minimalistic from a usability standpoint and includes only tools that you’ll actually use.

It’s considered to be the mobile version of the PowerPoint, so it’s a perfect tool, for instance, for traveling salespeople.

All the Haiku Deck features work awesome on the go. You can easily access the editor from your iPhone, iPad, MacBook or PC to make changes or create a presentation from scratch with a touchscreen.

The charts included in Haiku Deck are also unique. There are three types of charts: bar chart, pie chart and statistic chart → all of them are perfectly manageable from your iPhone.

Also, there’s also an option to export presentations to PDF, PowerPoint or Keynote.

Haiku Deck’s Pricing starts at $9.99/month

10. SlideCamp

This one isn’t exactly software and not quite a PowerPoint alternative, but rather a supplement. It’s a place where you can:

  • get inspired by designs provided by presentation experts and professional designers
  • download ready-made templates for PowerPoint or Keynote
  • edit the text on templates offline on the desktop
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  • adjust the slides visually by replacing icons, adding images and changing the colors

Afterward, you can bring them back to the SlideCamp library and store your collection of presentations and documents in the cloud on your private account, which is accessible only to you and your team.

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SlideCamp allows you bring your focus back to the content, while professionals make sure your design is breathtaking.

Whenever you don’t see a proper template design for yourself or you lack some slides, you can always request a custom design to be created just for you. SlideCamp’s in-house presentation designers will prepare it within 48 hours.

This is a presentation solution that big enterprises such as McDonald’s prefer.

Key Features:

  • Unlimited storage
  • Beautiful business templates
  • Custom design

Pricing ($69 lifetime access for one person, or team plan)

Improve Your Presentation with Templates

On the other hand, you can stick to PowerPoint and just improve your presentations with custom templates.

Improve Presentation is a site where you can get beautiful templates for any occasion that are helpful, in particular, when you run out of time.

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Whenever you need to create a sound case study, company presentation, pitch deck, portfolio, project status report or investor update, you’ll find relevant, editable and clean templates for your project that will bring you new ideas and guide you through some basic presentation aspects:

  • How to structure your presentation
    Ready-made templates consist of all the necessary slides for the specific type of presentation, so you know exactly what information to include. Default content is used to suggest, slide by slide, how a template should be filled out. As a result, you have the examples before your eyes and just need to replace the placeholders with your text and data.
  • How to organize information on slides
    Organizing information on your own can be painful. Therefore, Improve Presentation tries to make it easier for you.Templates are well-thought out, so customizing them is effortless and can be done whenever you run out of time, but are still trying to deliver an excellent job.
  • Advice on what charts to use
    Often times, you’ve got the data, but you don’t know how to present it in a clear, readable and interesting manner.Templates offered by Improve Presentation are here to show you how to use charts to make your information visually appealing and simply outstanding.

Presentation templates available on Improve Presentation are compatible with PowerPoint, Keynote and Google Slides. They are created by a team of professional designers, so if you (for any reason) can’t find the right template for your project, you can always request a custom design.

What Makes Presentation Software Great?

Okay, I can say this list of presentation tools looks good and is enough for the time being. I’m pretty sure you’ll come across a PowerPoint alternative that meets your expectations. All in all, let’s just review our findings and determine what makes a presentation software great:

  • Simplicity
  • Responsiveness
  • Broadcasting features
  • User-friendly dashboard
  • Modern and clean design
  • Sharing options
  • Collaboration features
  • Beautiful templates

How do you like my selection? Have a favorite presentation software that’s not listed but can be a strong PowerPoint alternative? I’m going to expand it over time, so I’d love to hear your voice in the comments below!

By the way, check out the PowerPoint Templates from designers behind over 100 Ted Talks!