Everyone knows that a good Powerpoint presentation can make or break a meeting and at Liquid11 we find ourselves using them all the time.
Powerpoint however, has barely changed since I first started using it in school about 12 years ago. It still has the same array of effects, pretty similar controls and other than some new adaptations for bigger screens and the presentation mode I wonder if maybe Microsoft have once against taken their user’s loyalty for granted and not bothered spending any time on continuing development for a product that is by no means perfect.
Whatever the case, the last time I designed a presentation I found the tools unnecessarily clunky and the whole experience quite limited so I started shopping around. Below are a few alternatives that I quite liked and we are looking to use more often at Liquid11.
Keynote (Apple’s presentation software)
To start with I will admit that I fall in the Apple Macintosh fan base over PC so all of the software I have been using is based on a mac. This shouldn’t make a difference when using software as multi platform support is a must in the modern age but I will nod my head to the fact that in this area Keynote is obviously going to perform better on the mac.
However, it is not just mac based use that impressed me with Keynote. For starters Apple have completely adopted the Cloud attitude with keynote and because of that you can create and edit slides directly on your computer, an iPhone, an iPad or even on a web browser. The tools are varied and limited depending on which device you use but the convenience of being able to edit a presentation anywhere and using any device is more than a little handy.
The other thing that impresses me with Keynote is the range of effects and professional tools available for creating unique and creative presentations. There is an enormous array of effects that include ones with cinematic and 3D quality that look stunning without looking cheesy. The ability to create custom and even interactive graphs of all styles in app is a definite tick in their pro column. They even come up with a wider range of templates that have a lot more going for them and cater to modern screen dimensions.
On top of all that it keeps up with the full range of features offered by Powerpoint but it also adds a lot more that I have yet to discover.
Prezzi is a staggering bit of software that I absolutely loved using. The developers at Prezzi have come up with a completely new way of looking at presentations and they have refused to stick to the normal slide-by-slide system that most (if not all) of its competitors use.
The idea is that you are given a single working platform/art board and you place all of your images and text onto this platform in different sizes and at different angles. Once you set the order you want your presentation to play in it will automatically create custom animations that creates an almost cinematic style presentation that feels completely unique. There is a lot more freedom with this software to create really creative and imaginative presentations and thanks to the ease of use anyone can create stunning looking visuals for a presentation in no time.
On my very first outing with Prezzi I created a presentation that looked better than anything I had done on any other software and I did it in just half an hour. It was fantastically simple to use and best of all, the basic web based software is completely free.
This one is a lot of fun and it is worth going to their website and having a look what you could do.
Google Drive Presentation
We of course couldn’t have a look at new presentation software without looking at Google’s offering.
Google Drive is posing a serious threat to paid office software out there and with good reason. The other products offered under Drive are very good and though they might be missing a few key functions here and there, for the layman user this is going to be a must. Then of course there are the standard cloud and multi user features that come with Google Drive and it is easy to wonder if maybe Google Drive might actually be better than what Microsoft is currently offering.
In terms of a presentation tool it is another good bit of kit, especially considering it’s free. It may not have the incredible style of Keynote or the unique functionality of Prezzi but it offers you pretty much everything that Powerpoint offers but with a lower price tag and a more simple interface thrown in as well. This is very easy software to get your head around and if you are already familiar with presentation software then it’s going to be even quicker and easier to deal with the small learning curve. I particularly like their slide layout tool that automatically formats each slide individually to different layouts without loosing the overall theme or design on other slides.
Google have done what they do best, take something complicated and make it simple and then offer it to the world for free.
Overall there are some good alternatives to Powerpoint out there and these are just three of our favourites. The truth is that there are a lot more to look at and in all honesty there is very little reason to still be using Powerpoint. It is over priced, lacking in features and it is becoming quite out dated.
If you are looking for really crisp, traditional and beautiful presentations then you can’t go wrong with Keynote, though that one does come with a price tag. If you are just looking for a free alternative to Powerpoint then we would recommend Google Drive’s Presentation tool.
But at Liquid11 our new presentation software of choice is Prezzi. It’s fun, easy to use and you can create some really unique presentations that look really stunning. It is limited in that it needs flash to work so there is no good mobile support but for presentations running off a computer, there is no better choice.