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 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.
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 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 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 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 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. [Editor’s note: Vuvox is no longer available. It was shut down October 2013.]
- 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?