It’s that time of the year again, when we update our list of the best powerpoint alternatives on the market for the coming year. There are many, so we’ve only included the top eight.
Our last roundup for 2018 concentrated on the experience of creating presentations (yes, we know, it can be painful). But the point of this post is to highlight tools that make it less painful and, in some cases, enjoyable! We will also look at the different levels of usability, how big the learning curve is, and how professional your presentations look in the end for each type of presentation software.
Depending on whether you work for a small business, startup or larger enterprise, finding a good presentation software program is a must. The powerpoint alternatives here (including some that are free!) will help you create a pitch deck, sales proposal, company overview and more — and at least one of the presentation tools on this list is bound to be just the one you need. We’ve listed each presentation software tool in order of difficulty, and highlighted each option’s unique qualities (aka the “pros” and “cons”), so it’s easier for you to make a decision.
Most of the powerpoint alternatives below have a free tier at the very least, so you can try the product before committing to a paid plan. Some require an upgrade after a free trial period; others limit the freemium level features; and a few are a completely free powerpoint alternative (with options to upgrade later on for additional benefits). Either way, when you find the one that is perfect for your needs, you are better off paying for a subscription so you can get all the available functionalities.
Level of Difficulty: Low (with options for advanced presenters)
Elevator Pitch: Beautiful.ai is smart software that designs your presentations for you in real time.
• It's 100% free (with options to upgrade down the line)
• It’s easy to learn (just remember to take the tour!) and simple to use
• The built-in “design-a.i.” ensures the entire presentation has a continuous, cohesive design theme and color scheme throughout
• The “smart templates” adapt the layout of each page as you add content, to ensure it looks professional
• The desktop app download allows for offline playback
• There are eight customizable themes to choose from
• You can’t control the exact position of every element in the slide layout
• There is no “blank slate” slide layout; just drag-and-drop smart templates
• You can’t import your own custom templates
Beautiful.ai is a free powerpoint alternative that helps you create professional-looking presentations fast. The special "design-a.i." sauce keeps your margins even; the separations between content elements balanced; the text clearly legible; and the alignment on point. The smart templates control the layout and size of your content within each smart template as well, so your entire presentation looks cohesive across every slide. The user simply has to pick the type of smart template that bests suits each subtopic, and the content is optimized in real time as they add in text, images and data.
The Beautiful.ai presentation software also offers a huge library of free photography, icons, graphics and logos to use, which you can easily add in Edit Mode. Each element of content is then placed in that page's layout in just the right position—so it balances any corresponding text or graphics. If the position of the image is changed, the text in the slide adapts automatically to match the new position. It's kind of magical. But don't take our word for it - try it yourself.
Users don’t choose pre-built templates to create a presentation, they choose a Design Theme instead. There are eight different themes to choose from: Minimal, Bold, Gradient, Vignette, among others. When adding a new slide, the user has access to a library of different smart template options. The new slide will automatically appear in the same Design Theme which was chosen at the beginning.
To change things like the fonts, colors and styling, the user can easily customize the theme, which applies those changes to the entire presentation no matter how many slides it has (huge time saver!)
Beautiful.AI is for people who want perfect presentations without spending hours creating them. The "design-a.i." helps any non-designer create a seamless and balanced presentation that looks like it was created by an experienced designer. Why settle for a different paid or free powerpoint alternative with limited capabilities, when Beautiful.ai guarantees a professional presentation every time, in far less time?
Level of Difficulty: Low
Elevator Pitch: Visme is everything you need to tell powerful visual stories.
• Each presentation has integrated, animated transitions
• Tons of customizable data widgets
• There’s a bit of a learning curve
• There is no guarantee your presentation will look good
• The Free Tier limits the number of presentations, size of files, and export options to JPG only
Visme is a versatile powerpoint alternative with powerful design capabilities. Users can create slides from a blank canvas, or choose from the slide library with ready-to-customize sample presentations. There are thousands of icons and images available right inside the editor, along with other visual assets.
All presentations created with Visme include built-in transition animation between slides. Additionally, all elements can be animated individually. To start a presentation with Visme, users choose between two theme styles. After choosing the theme, the slides can be created from scratch, or by picking a template from the extensive slide library. Visme also has a free "Powerpoint Importer" to use a previous powerpoint presentation and edit it.
Visme has a large collection of customizable data widgets of different kinds that will help you auto-visualize your data: tables, charts and scatter plots are just a few. There is also a map engine and a flowchart builder.
Companies can collaborate easily with Visme Teams, and use the integrated Brand Kit. Teams can save brand templates to use for other presentations or projects. Finished presentations can be shared privately with a password or published online. Once it's finished, your presentation can be presented online or offline by downloading it as a PDF, PowerPoint, et cetera.
Visme is for users that like complete control over their slide design, but also need some design direction. The platform offers a great template library, but also permits full customization. It’s especially appreciated by users who need to present lots of data and don’t want to bore their audience with uninspiring visuals.
#3 : Genial.ly
Level of Difficulty: Low
Elevator Pitch: The platform that brings content to life.
• Interactive features can be added to any part of the content
• There are innovative illustrations and scenes available
• Interactivity (too much of a good thing can sometimes be bad)
• The naming and organization of the interactive elements can get confusing
• The built-in branding may be a bit too young and casual depending on the subject matter (lots of bright pink and colorful characters)
Genially is one powerpoint alternative that is focused heavily on interactive effects and animations. To create a presentation, users can start with a blank canvas or choose from the templates. The program offers free templates mixed in with premium ones, which users can use if they decide to upgrade to a paid pricing tier.
To begin customizing each template, users choose specific content blocks from the Editor menu. There are also lots of high-end professional illustrations and stock photography users can add to their slides. After the content blocks have been added to the slides, they can then be animated in many ways. In addition, there are special add-ons like tooltips, windows, and hyperlinks.
Genially is for people looking for a really colorful and fun presentation, full of characters, interactive elements and unique illustrations. Premium plans include branding systems, offline presenting and advance collaboration capabilities. Disclaimer: The free version automatically defaults to "Public" viewing access. Don't know about you, but we found this a little invasive. The free tier will let you create and present an unlimited number of presentations, but none will be kept private unless you upgrade.
#4: Haiku deck
Level of Difficulty: Low
Elevator Pitch: Beautiful presentations without the struggle.
• Presentations can be created on both desktop computers and mobile devices
• It’s super easy and fast to use
• The templates are basic: either text with a background or a simple graph
• There is no Android App
Haiku Deck is an easy-to-use powerpoint alternative with a simple “no frills” template library. The learning curve is not steep at all, and anyone can get a basic presentation created in less than 30 minutes. One of the good things about Haiku Deck is that you can create presentations on your computer, iPhone or iPad. Presentations can also be viewed on any device as well, regardless of where it was created.
Even though Haiku Deck is easy to use, it is not a free powerpoint alternative. The simple “Pro” paid tier allows for a small set of custom branding options, while the premium plan comes with an analytics dashboard. Haiku Deck is used a lot by teachers and educators, who need to create presentations fast. Each page template has design limitations, which are actually a lifesaver when you need to get things done quickly. For example, the text sizes are limited for headers or text boxes. The position of these is also controlled by the program, so that the person creating the presentation doesn’t really have to think too much about the layout and look of each slide.
Haiku Deck is for people who don’t care about professional-looking designs but do need to create a decent looking presentation quickly and easily. If you’re searching for a free powerpoint alternative that is also really easy to use, Haiku Deck is a good option.
Level of Difficulty: Medium
Elevator Pitch: Create stunning, professional presentations in minutes, not hours
• Lots of sample presentations and templates inspired by real-life successful pitch decks
• View the step-by-step instructions to build slides
• There’s a lot going on in the editor, so it takes a bit of getting used to
• The complete plan is pricey
Slidebean is another powerpoint alternative that helps users with built-in design constraints. The basic editor user interface on Slidebean is intuitive enough to learn quickly, and guides the user through the steps of designing their slides. To get things started, the user can choose between a pre-made template or a blank canvas option. The big difference between the Slidebean blank canvas and other programs is how the system coaches the user, step-by-step, throughout the process of creating a presentation.
Many of the Slidebean templates are inspired by real pitch decks. The most popular of all their templates is the Airbnb pitch deck, which mimics the original Airbnb presentation. Other big name pitch decks which have been used as inspiration are Uber, Buffer, and WeWork. Once the template is chosen, it can be further customized by choosing a theme, font, and color palette. Each change affects the entire slide deck. Additionally, the program also lets the user move elements around with the help of a grid, and "snap-to-grid" function.
Slidebean is for users who appreciate the help of getting beautiful slides fast but also want to have the possibility of extra detailed customization. The pitch deck templates are very popular and can help startups with a fast and good looking presentation.
Level of Difficulty: Medium (in order for it to look professional)
Elevator Pitch: With its powerful tools and dazzling effects, Keynote makes it easy to create stunning and memorable presentations.
• It’s an Apple product
• Easy to use if you are familiar with other "blank slate" authoring tools like PowerPoint or Google Slides
• It’s an Apple product, so not available on PC
• No integrated image database so manual upload is required
Keynote is the native Apple program for creating presentations. As a Powerpoint alternative, it’s one of the most popular — particularly by dedicated Apple products enthusiasts. The program comes included in a new Mac Computer, or can be downloaded for free in the iTunes/App Store.
Visually speaking, it looks a lot like PowerPoint and Google Slides. With the new OS Mojave, Keynote also has the dark background version, which is great for people who suffer from the usual bright white. Keynote doesn’t include an integrated image search like other powerpoint alternatives. Users have to upload images from their own device. What the program does have is plenty of icons and customizable graphs and tables.
Presentations can be created on the Keynote desktop app or the Cloud-based app, and can be viewed online or offline after downloading in one of the many available formats. The templates are a bit limited, but do offer a unique sizing option with the "widescreen" aspect ratio. Also, there are some template "downloads" available online to use with Keynote that are created by professional designers — just like the free powerpoint templates available for Powerpoint on Etsy or Microsoft.com. Videos cannot be embedded, but there are some add-ons and integrations which can help.
Keynote is for those users that love Apple products and just can’t get enough of them. Collaboration is easy via a controlled link, but there aren’t team plans or custom branding. This powerpoint alternative is good, but it’s not exactly life-changing.
Level of Difficulty: Medium (in order for it to look professional)
Elevator Pitch: Create a new presentation and edit it with others at the same time — from your computer, phone or tablet.
• It’s free to anyone with a Google account, and it’s super easy if you already use Docs on a regular basis
• It’s good for collaborating with a team. All your work is automatically saved to Google Drive
• There’s no custom branding available
• The design possibilities are limited, especially the animation
Google Slides is part of the Google Suite of business solutions. It’s completely free to use — be it personal projects or to collaborate with your team. This free powerpoint alternative is great for those who love Google products and feel comfortable with them. All Google Slides presentations are saved in Google Drive for easy access on both desktop and mobile devices.
Google Slides is a lot like PowerPoint in the way it looks, but a lot simpler when it comes to designing slides. Some templates are a bit innovative, like the “Yearbook” one, but most are simple and unassuming. The fonts available are pretty much all Google fonts that exist, and that’s a lot! Even if the design capabilities inside Google Slides are limited, there are tons of Add-ons which can help improve the overall design. Flaticon, one of the leading icon banks, has a Google Slides integration.
Google Slides is for users that value instant and real-time collaboration. Many people love Google Slides for that one aspect. Being able to edit one slide in the presentation while someone else is editing another is pretty cool stuff. If high tech, great looking or innovative design is more important though, then you best look elsewhere.
Level of Difficulty: High
Elevator Pitch: Presentation software that uses motion, zoom, and spatial relationships to bring your ideas to life and make you a great presenter.
• The design-forward templates are unique and engaging
• Advanced animations will truly wow any crowd
• Significant learning curve and onboard training required
• It’s not super customizable
Prezi, now known as Prezi Next (the latest version) is a unique powerpoint alternative, known for its "zooming" animation feature between topics and subtopics. Presentations are created with a set of topics on the first slide, and then each topic has subtopics inside it. A completed presentation looks more like an animated video than a regular slide deck.
There aren’t any "blank canvas" options on Prezi Next, but there are some templates. All of them have the topic-to-subtopic zooming feature. The user really only needs to insert their content and make some minimal adjustments if necessary. The templates are optimized out of the box, if the user moves things around too much, the zooming functionality can get convoluted or overwhelming (and yes — there have been rumors of motion sickness during Prezi presentations).
To add graphics, Prezi Next offers a selection of icons and illustrations — but no image bank. Images must be uploaded and already edited and cropped. Videos cannot be embedded either. Prezi Next doesn’t have a branding functionality, but a template can be created with the correct assets and then reused as a brand template.
Prezi Next is for users who want to create a presentation fast that looks innovative and engaging. It’s a favorite in the education space, as kids love the interactivity of the zooming feature. Designing a presentation with Prezi Next can take a bit to get used to the first couple of times, but after that, it gets easier every time.
The only other challenge is the lack of a true free pricing tier. They advertise a "Basic" version that's free, but it doesn't allow you to do much more than use their most basic templates. You won't be able to share your presentation, export as a PDF, present offline, or use their image library. With other free powerpoint alternatives that offer all this at no charge, it's a tougher sell to those who don't need all the "bell and whistle" animation features.
As you can see, there are plenty of powerpoint alternatives currently on the market to choose from. You can either go with what you are familiar with, or try something completely new and innovative in order to save time or make your presentations more engaging.
So, which presentation software is best for you? We suggest trying each to see. You'll need at least 5 minutes in each tool to gauge whether or not it will fit your needs. Will it be a free powerpoint alternative featuring "design-a.i." like Beautiful.ai, or an interactive and illustrative option like Genially? Or will you choose a classic approach like Google Slides? Let us know in the comments if your favorite isn’t here, and maybe it will be featured in our next round up!
Bonus Tip: If you are presenting at events on a regular basis, you could also try the Glisser app to make sure your audience is seeing your slides on their devices in real time. A great time and paper saver! Not only that, Glisser can record the engagement analytics of attendees, and let viewers take notes about your presentation right in the app.