www.office.com/setup Blogs: Choosing the best presentation software is a big decision. Your presentation needs to look good, and to make it look good you need the right tool. The presentation software you choose makes a difference.
Presentation software allows you to create professional slide presentations. A slide presentation allows the presenter to share information using words and images. Many current presentation software packages also include audio and animation features. Initially, slide presentations were geared towards live audiences. Now, slide presentations are just as likely to be delivered to a web audience and published online.
No matter which software package you use, one way to ensure professional results is by choosing a quality template. A template determines the look and feel of your presentation. The right presentation template can mean the difference between a dull, lackluster slide show and a truly professional presentation.
In this article we compare three of the most popular presentation packages: PowerPoint, Keynote, and Google Slides. We’ll look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of each package.
We’ll also link to additional resources to help you get started no matter which package you pick. Finally, we’ll point out some strong template choices to help you make the best use of your presentation software, and get started quickly.
The Top Presentation Software Compared
First, here’s a look at how popular each presentation software is, according to Google Trends. Notice how popular PowerPoint has been over time, though it’s trended downwards slowly as competitors have gotten stronger. Also, notice how in the last year Google Slides has had an upward move in popularity, while Keynote has stayed with a consistent, but smaller user base.
Now, in this chart, we break down the main differences between Powerpoint versus Keynote versus Google Slides. Then we’ll dig into each presentation software in more detail in the following section, so you can pick the best one to use to make your presentation with.
|Related Software||Part of Microsoft Office365||Part of the iWork productivity suite||Part of Google Drive’s office suite|
|Export File Types||In addition to various PowerPoint and Office formats, export formats include .pdf, .xps, .mp4, .wmv, .odp, .gif, .jpg, .png, .gif, .bmp, .tif, .wmf, .emf, and .rtf||Includes .pdf, various PowerPoint files, QuickTime, HTML, Images, and Keynote 2009||Includes .pptx, .pdf, .txt, .jpg, png, .svg|
|Audio Import||Yes||Yes||Not at this time, but YouTube videos can be embedded.|
|Animation and Effects||About 50 effects (Entrance, emphasis, and exit).||About 30 different build animations and 40 transition effects.||About 15 effects.|
|Collaboration||PowerPoint 365 files can be shared if saved to OneDrive.||Invite others to collaborate if your Keynote is set up to use iCloud Drive.||Files are easily shared with online collaborators.|
|Offline Access||Yes||Yes, as long as the file is saved on your local device.||Files can be accessed offline using the Google Slides app (link to Chrome web store).|
|Cost||Must purchase through Microsoft.||Free with new Mac, or purchase through the Mac App store.||Free as a part of Google Office. You must create a Google account.|
|Available for Mac||Yes, although some users claim the Mac version is not as robust as the PC version.||Yes, Keynote was designed for the Mac.||Yes, as long as there is an Internet connection.|
|Available for PC||Yes||No||Yes, Google Slides resides in the cloud.|
Let’s take a closer look at each presentation software package.
As part of the Microsoft Office suite, PowerPoint has been one of the most popular presentation software packages for years. It has a large number of themes. Support is widely available, not only through Microsoft but also from third party articles published by its large user base.
Because it’s an established software package, PowerPoint has many advantages for the small business owner. Those advantages include:
- Ease of Use. The navigational structure will be familiar to anyone who uses other Microsoft software. It includes a help system and even some basic tutorial. You can also use Microsoft’s technical support.
- Customization Options. PowerPoint includes a large number of special effects. There are also many themes available, some through Microsoft and some through third parties like Envato Market.
- File Types Supported. This software presentation package can import and export a large number of file types. It’s compatible with files from other Microsoft Office products. It also lets you integrate audio files.
- Community Support. Due to the large number of users there are many articles and books to help you learn how to the use the tool effectively.
Despite its many advantages, there are still some weaknesses:
- Collaboration. Recently, PowerPoint has improved the ability to collaborate in real-time. However, there are still more steps than with Google Docs. To work with another user, you must save the document to OneDrive and invite the people you want to collaborate with.
- Perception. Some users report that PowerPoint leads to less creative presentations. This is probably because many businesses rely on older, basic templates that don’t use the most recent features.
Are you ready to learn more about PowerPoint? There are hundreds of resources to help you out. Our own Tuts+ tutorial, PowerPoint 101: Everything You Need to Make a Basic Presentation, is a great place to start. You can also turn to the MSOfficeForums.com to find answers to your PowerPoint questions.
No matter how much you know about PowerPoint, your need your presentation to look as professional as possible. You’ll want to use a professional template to do that. Envato Market’s GraphicRiver has a large collection of quality PowerPoint templates.
To see some examples of the difference a good PowerPoint theme can make, take a look at this article:
We also have a detailed tutorial on how to customize a PowerPoint template, modifying PPT slide designs, and adjusting Master Slides.
Here’s a closer look at one of our most popular PowerPoint templates, Marketofy, which features a number of slide layout options and the features you’d expect in a professional design.