19 Free Presentation Tools to Wow Your Audience

by 58 05/28/2013

Can you believe it? It’s been more than 25 years since the launch of PowerPoint.

In that time, people have both loved and hated it. However you feel about it, most business people need some way to deliver a presentation. The good news is that you’re no longer limited to PowerPoint for this purpose.

There are dozens of online tools that either work with PowerPoint files or let you start from scratch to create and deliver presentations that will wow your audience.

This roundup includes tools that are free (or have a free level) and excludes tools whose primary purpose is creating video. Here’s the roundup.

SlideShare

SlideShare logo

SlideShare has recently gained attention as one of the best business presentation sites around. To use it, you import a source file from PowerPoint, Word, PDF or other formats (and you can also import video with the paid pro version).

With SlideShare, you can gussy up your plain PowerPoint with an embedded YouTube video or audio file to make it a more media-rich experience for viewers. And once it’s done, you can embed or share it widely and share automatically to your LinkedIn account.

Analytics rounds out the reason why SlideShare is worth including here. For more on using SlideShare, read our recent roundup of SlideShare resources.

Google Presentations

Part of Google Drive, Google Presentations gives you a tool that mimic PowerPoint, but it has the advantage of being online.

You can import an existing PowerPoint presentation for editing, or start from scratch with Google’s own templates. And there are 450+ fonts you can use too. You can embed images and YouTube videos, but unfortunately not sound, which may limit its utility for some users.

Once your presentation is done, you can publish to the web, embed or share. The killer feature: multiple people can work on a presentation at once.

Prezi

Prezi onlline presentation tool

Prezi is one of the most exciting presentation tools in this roundup. Although you can import PowerPoint, the best way to experience it is to create a Prezi from scratch.

You start with a canvas, some transformation tools and some whizzy templates with exciting transitions. Group ideas in frames and add symbols, shapes and diagrams.

A screenshot does not do justice to a finished presentation so it’s a good idea to check out some of the examples on the site. Though using the tools can be challenging, if you stick with it, the result will be like no presentation you have ever seen.

See 7 Outstanding Presentations Using Prezi for inspiration.

SlideRocket

SlideRocket has just been acquired by ClearSlide, so it remains to be seen how long it will stick around.

One of the early contenders in improving online presentations, one of the killer features is the ability to embed interactive content, such as from your Twitter feed. You can also add effects to almost any element of your presentation. A pro feature is the use of interactive forms within the presentation.

Interesting transitions include flipping, rotating and reflecting images and the animations are stunning. Killer feature: the ability to show your presentation online to up to 50 people too.

Zoho Show

Zoho Show screenshot

Zoho Show is easy to use for anyone familiar with PowerPoint. It includes master slides, templates, customization, the ability to insert video and images, transitions and animations.

Interesting features include inline image editing, shape effects and easy flowchart building. The app allows simultaneous presentation editing by more than one person, broadcasting over the web and the usual sharing and embedding features. Zoho Show also has automatic version tracking.

NOTE: At first glance, formatting choices seem limited in comparison with some of the other tools in this roundup.

AuthorSTREAM

authorSTREAM

AuthorSTREAM has both a web and a desktop app and allows you to upload PowerPoint slides so you can do more with them..

The tool includes public, private and social media sharing and the ability to password-protect presentations so that only those people you choose can see them. It includes live broadcast, analytics, the creation of multiple customized channels, multiple video formats and uploads to YouTube, Vimeo and others.

Other Online Presentation Tools

Still not satisfied? In addition to the options listed above, the tools below may also prove useful alternatives:

  • Empressr has the standard presentation features and allows the use of video and audio. Collaboration and sharing are included, as are analytics. It’s hard to tell whether the tool is supported, because the blog hasn’t been updated since 2010, but it remains a popular choice for those looking to improve their PowerPoint presentations.
  • HelloSlide creates automatic audio for your presentation from your typed text and can translate it with the click of a button, giving your content even greater reach.
  • Jux is an image based storytelling tool that looks great on a tablet or large screen. It could be useful for companies with great visuals. Update: Jux has announced that it will close from August 31, 2013.
  • myBrainShark enables the addition of URLs, polls, surveys and more to an existing PowerPoint presentation as well as some editing of slides, transitions and effects. These are limited in the free edition.
  • Knovio allows users to upload static PowerPoint presentations and add video and audio online. It’s the baby brother of an enterprise tool, KV Studio.
  • myPlick has a three-step process for uploading slides and audio, syncing and publishing/sharing. It does not appear to have any additional customization options.
  • PresentMe lets users import a presentation file and deliver and record the presentation using their webcam. The tool then combines them so that you can share to social media or view on a mobile device. It provides analytics too.
  • PreZentit is a browser-based tool which allows easy presentation creation, collaboration and sharing. Each presentation exists as HTML, allowing for manual editing if you need it. The current tool is unsupported as a new version is supposed to be on the way, but it is still online and usable.
  • SlideBoom is available in two versions. The ad-supported free version includes audio, video, animations and the ability to make graphical annotations on your slides. Analytics, private group sharing and additional security are Pro features.
  • TimeGlider is not a presentation tool but a timeline creator with a free version so it could be the right web tool for time-based presentations. It works best for short timelines; those with a lot of content can end up looking crowded.
  • Vcasmo allows you to upload slides and audio or video narration and combine them in a single presentation. It does not appear to include collaboration features, though you can stream your video from its content delivery network. Exporting your video, embed protection and customized branding are paid features.
  • Vuvox allows you to create dynamic media-rich interactive presentations by collating images, audio and video via its Collage tool.
  • Zentation syncs slides and video to provide a presentation video you can upload to YouTube.

Now you… Have you got any other favorite online presentation tools? What would you add to this list?

About 

Sharon Hurley Hall is a professional writer and blogger. Her career has spanned more than 20 years, including stints as a journalist, academic writer and ghost writer. Connect with Sharon on her website.

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58 COMMENTS

Kathryn Aragon

Great list, Sharon! I’ve seen Prezi and really like it. Talk about a step up from PowerPoint! One of these days, I’ll make time to play with it.

May 28, 2013 Reply

Sharon Hurley Hall

Thanks, Kathryn. I love how Prezi looks, though it’s so different from most other tools that I spent a lot of time learning the ropes the first time round. Still, the end result was great!

May 28, 2013 Reply

    Magdolna

    Yes, I agree, Sharon: Prezi can be tedious to work with in the beginning, though after a certain amount of raging out in front of the blank canvass one’ll get the hang of it. It happened to me many times though that it was just not the tool for a quick slideshow. But afterall, the looks of it, wow… And you’ll be so proud after your first Prezi-presentation hits the big screen! :)

    March 7, 2014 Reply

Kapil Jekishan

Excellent list Sharon. I’ve recently converted a Prezi into a video which looks far better than your traditional PowerPoint slideshow.
Kathryn – while Prezi is a great tool from a visual standpoint, try and pick a “calm” day to work on it ….it can get frustrating but once you’ve got the hang of it, you’re all good.

May 28, 2013 Reply

Arpit Daniel Das

This is a great article Sharon! Really appreciate these tools you have shared.
A special thanks for covering authorSTREAM.
Arpit
authorSTREAM Team

May 30, 2013 Reply

Robin Good

Good job Sharon. Thanks for sharing it.

Please note that:
-> Jux is closing.
-> MyPlick seems not accessible anymore.

For synchronizing presentations with video you may tap also into this 11-toolset:
http://pinterest.com/robingood/synchronize-slides-with-speaker-video-best-tools/

May 30, 2013 Reply

    Sharon Hurley Hall

    Thanks, Robin. Just goes to show how quickly things can change. I’ll update to reflect the change in Jux’s status, though I’m getting to myPlick just fine

    May 31, 2013 Reply

Tara Tyler

These are great! I have been experimenting with different platforms and while Prezi is definitely awesome for creating interesting “slides”, if you want more of a “video” try GoAnimate.com or PowToon.com. I have used both and love them. They are perfect for making demo/explainer videos for your landing pages. And (warning: shameless plug coming) you can get a professional voice over for your presentations quickly, easily, and really, really affordably at VoiceBunny.com. (I’d be happy to give you a gift code as well). Thanks again for the article! There are many here I haven’t tried yet. :)

May 31, 2013 Reply

    Sharon Hurley Hall

    Thanks for the link to the video presentation tools, Tara, and for the intro to VoiceBunny. I’ll check it out.

    May 31, 2013 Reply

Docs9 Administrator

Docs9 is a much better alternative, and best of all it’s the easiest, simplest to use in my experience so far.

https://docs9.com

I could have a live presentation ready to share in a matter of seconds. The coolest part was everything from Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, Excel to OpenOffice Writer, Impress, Calc even Google Docs is handled in the exact same way. Because this works purely in a browser, most of my participants enjoyed watching my presentation on their iPhones, Androids, even iPads. Few yet were impressed they could use their old browsers, and for first time had nothing to setup or configure at all!

Upload, and Share.

Some corporate organizations might want to take a look at support for Visio, and Microsoft Project as well. It was a relief not having to ask my participants if they have Visio, or Project installed.

It seems to have grown quite popular amongst young entrepreneurs who collaborate ideas, some self-employed individuals such as teachers, but some corporate organizations seem to favor Docs9 coupled with Skype for most of their online meetings. It has been a huge time saver for many.

June 7, 2013 Reply

    Kathryn Aragon

    Sounds like a great resource. Thanks for the heads up.

    June 7, 2013 Reply

    Sharon Hurley Hall

    Thanks, sounds like a useful upload tool – it wasn’t clear if it offered any editing tools once uploaded.

    June 7, 2013 Reply

      Docs9

      Kathryn,
      Glad you are positive about it.

      Thanks Sharon,
      Good question. :-)

      Docs9 take on collaboration is a fresh one. Our research shows most effective discussions happen when focus centers around a main host with one single topic. This gives a complete different perspective to what other online presentation tools fall short of providing. Docs9 aim is to let people express their ideas, get across a point. This is what differentiates Docs9 from just being another online presentation tool.

      In many ways Docs9 is trying to break free of today’s online collaboration platforms, and most of who have used it have been very impressed by the concept, and the possibilities introduced with Docs9.

      I’d like you to give it a try, and see it for yourself.

      June 15, 2013 Reply

Paula

Thanks for the great reference tool. Great summer practice for my students. I’ll pass it along.

June 17, 2013 Reply

Julian

Hi Sharon. This is a very good list. I’d also share another platform to share PowerPoint and PDF presentations online. It is SlideOnline.com – We have extensively used it to showcase our free PowerPoint templates available on SlideHunter.com – This is also a free resource for PowerPoint presentations with free business templates and diagrams for MS Office 2010 and 2013.

July 4, 2013 Reply

Alaa Sadik

Sharon, I am very pleased to share with you our PresentationTube project http://presentationtube.com for producing and sharing video presentations. Very useful for e-learning purposes. Received the World Summit Award 2013

September 10, 2013 Reply

Cindy

Thanks for the list.
I also been using a web app called EWC Presenter; This is a great tool to create visual and interactive content. Using Presenter anyone with little to no design knowledge can create professional Presentations, Presumes, Infographics, Interactive Resumes and everything in between.

September 27, 2013 Reply

Peter

Many fine tools here. Tyvm.
I used POWTOONS a few times.
Fun and easy to work with, and great results.

October 28, 2013 Reply

look

PLS remember that FLASH still alive ;)
best regards :)

November 2, 2013 Reply

Hostings

Nice article. two of tools I am ready to use.

December 27, 2013 Reply

Shetima I.

I think Powtoon is also really cool. It turns your presentation into a fun cartoon.

December 30, 2013 Reply

Prachi

Thank to all for sharing such a usefull list.
It will help me out for creating my company presentaion.
I want to upload my company presentation on my company website, can you suggest which software will be best.

January 20, 2014 Reply

Veronika

I have been experimenting with different platforms and Prezi is awesome for creating interesting content but if you want to slide sharing goes social during the presentation try an audience respose systeme like sopreso.com for exemple, which is one of the best ones.
I I’ve already used it and I love it. I mean it’s the perfect way for getting feedback during and also after your presentation and it’s fun and easy to work with.

Thanks again for the article!

January 22, 2014 Reply

    Magdolna

    Hey Veronika, I like that you mentioned Sopreso because you can use all of the softwares mentined above and still see the benefits of Sopreso since it is just an additional tool. You don’t need to install it, learn the mechanics of it, spend hours and hours on understanding it, you just run it in sync with your presentation and then pretty much that’s it.

    The thing it does is sharing your presentation with your audience in real-time. I guess, now they relaunched their website, it looks awesome. I used it for one of my university projects and it made my life so much simpler. You don’t have to wait in awkward silence for someone to ask a question because they can post their inquiries online and anonimously if they wish directly to the slides. After the presentation you can project the questions and answer them in order without the “raise your hand if you have any more questions”. So elegant. I liked using it.

    March 7, 2014 Reply

estebanturo

I think this is an interesting tool to make video, and it’s very easy to use wideo.co

February 6, 2014 Reply

presenter

very good tools. Some of them I always use for my presentions.

February 26, 2014 Reply

peter marshall

pls, Sharon Hall I want you to help me to how to answer this question givinig to me by my lecture.
‘ Presentations are best forms to selling products and services. It adds graphical impression, combined text, video, audio and images to make a complete advertisement to convince a potential customer. Discuss the various tools to make a presentation achieve the features described above.

February 26, 2014 Reply

guney eksen

How do I add backgrounds in prezi from : pptbackgrounds.net/category/border-and-frame-ppt-templates.html here?

Is it possible?

March 4, 2014 Reply

Jenifer

Great list! A new tool that enables to create engaging presentations out of live web content was featured on TechCrunch today – techcrunch.com/2014/03/04/roojoom-seed/

March 4, 2014 Reply

Katiee

Thanks for this article! Nowadays here are a lot of presentations tools.
Here comes a new website – you should also have a look on it: slideee.com/
I hope that it will be useful. I really looking forward to it! :)

March 5, 2014 Reply

Dan

For those of you using Prezi, you can get free and paid Prezi templates at dragfix.com — new templates every week!

Cheers,
Dan

April 9, 2014 Reply

    Bonita

    Thanks, Dan! I look forward to trying these out once I start using Prezi (which will be soon!).

    April 16, 2014 Reply

PaMela Godswill

I know you posted a while ago, but, this info is right on time for me. I needed a way to add my narrated powerpoint to my portfolio site. Just noticed I may not be able to use my Google Drive account. I’ll ck out Slideshare.

Thanks for sharing!
PaMela

April 16, 2014 Reply

    Kathryn Aragon

    So glad you found the information useful, PaMela! Let us know how it works for you.

    April 16, 2014 Reply

Manahil Sikandar

thx a lot Kathryn, this really helped xx

April 17, 2014 Reply

Sean Doran

Thanks for writing this list, it saved me time from doing it myself. It covered tools that I didn’t even know about myself.

Just letting you know, I linked to it in a post I wrote about how to improve presentations » http://bit.ly/1tVKlkm

April 28, 2014 Reply

    Kathryn Aragon

    Glad you found it helpful, Sean! Thanks for sharing it with your readers.

    April 28, 2014 Reply

    neil

    Sean, glad we could help. Thanks for reading. Looking forward to hearing more from you :)

    April 29, 2014 Reply

jessica

Hey great article, it helps me alot!:)

May 2, 2014 Reply

    Kathryn Aragon

    Glad it helped, Jessica! Thanks for commenting.

    May 2, 2014 Reply

    neil

    Jessica, glad you found it helpful. Thanks for sharing :)

    May 2, 2014 Reply

Raccoon

Thanks! this helps a lot :)

May 6, 2014 Reply

    Kathryn Aragon

    Glad you found it useful, Raccoon.

    May 6, 2014 Reply

    neil

    Raccoon, glad we could help. Please let us know if you need help with anything else :)

    May 6, 2014 Reply

demian

Wideo is an excellent free tool to create video presentations. You can upload your videos to youtube

May 12, 2014 Reply

Cote Bruce

Its really nice & informative blog ..You have shared such a valubale post with us and it is very helping to me …I was looking for some free sharing websites…..

June 27, 2014 Reply

    Neil Patel

    Cote, glad we could help. Thanks for the feedback :)

    June 27, 2014 Reply

      Emilija

      I searched a lot of information about interactive presentation and your article was very useful. Before I didn’t know soch a thing as Zoho Show. It seems easy to use. For a moment I am very interested in Close Loom Marketing (CLM), to get and gather feedback from my clients while I am doing presenation and after to use that information for next communication. Now I am trying Cluum, interactive presentation tool. It works with CLM function. What do you about it? Do you know something else what can help to collect feedback?

      July 8, 2014 Reply

        Tobin

        Great article. Lot’s of offerings here, lots of different angles.

        Would be interested in hearing opinions from anyone using any of these solutions in a face to face sales scenario, and thoughts on strenghts / weaknesses. Morso if anyone uses agencies to prepare their sales materials, and has to put materials through legal compliance.

        July 8, 2014 Reply

Zirk

Hi Sharon, I love to use Slideshare to feature some of the PowerPoint templates we offer on showeet.com. Prezi is a great tool, but I personnally quickly abandonned it as I am not found of too much animation on a single presentation…

September 12, 2014 Reply


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