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Microsoft PowerPoint is fantastic. There’s a reason why it’s the standard presentation tool used in schools and businesses all across the country: it’s good, it’s easy, it works, and it has a bunch of nifty features that make presentations simple 7 Tips for Creating Professional PowerPoint Templates 7 Tips for Creating Professional PowerPoint Templates Nobody benefits from a boring PowerPoint presentation. Use these tips to make sure your efforts always grab their audience. Read More .

But there are also reasons why you might not want to use it, the main reason being that you probably shouldn’t buy Microsoft Office 5 Good Reasons Why You Should NOT Buy Office 2016 5 Good Reasons Why You Should NOT Buy Office 2016 Should you buy the standalone package version of Office 2016? We present our case why we think you shouldn't and show you what you can do instead. Read More these days. It’d be smarter to get an Office 365 subscription instead An Introduction to Office 365 -- Should You Buy Into the New Office Business Model? An Introduction to Office 365 -- Should You Buy Into the New Office Business Model? Office 365 is a subscription based package that offers access to the latest desktop Office suite, Office Online, cloud storage, and premium mobile apps. Does Office 365 provide enough value to be worth the money? Read More , but that will still cost you.

Why shell out cash when free alternatives exist? Mind you, none of these are as good as PowerPoint, but many of them are more than good enough. And if you’re in any kind of non-business setting, “good enough” should certainly be good enough.

1. LibreOffice Impress

LibreOffice is the highest quality alternative to Microsoft Office that you’ll currently find. It has improved a lot over the years, putting it on par with Microsoft Office in many ways Is LibreOffice Worthy of the Office Crown? Is LibreOffice Worthy of the Office Crown? LibreOffice is the king of free office suites. It's unlikely to replace Microsoft Office in a business environment, but it's an excellent alternative for casual users. Here's what's new in LibreOffice 5.1. Read More — and the best part is that it’s 100% free, open source, and cross platform, which also makes it a prime candidate for Linux presentations Beyond PowerPoint: 4 Linux Presentation Tools Beyond PowerPoint: 4 Linux Presentation Tools Go beyond LibreOffice Impress, go beyond PowerPoint! Linux has many options for presentations, and these lesser-known desktop apps are lightweight, powerful, and will certainly surprise you with what they can do. Read More .

Impress is the LibreOffice analog to Microsoft’s PowerPoint. With it, you can create all kinds of slide-based multimedia presentations that can be viewed in several ways: regular editing, outline mode, annotated slides, and even a handout mode for printing presentations to paper.

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And yes, Impress supports all PowerPoint formats — PPS, PPT, PPTX — and it also supports a handful of other open formats and standards.

You can also look into OpenOffice Impress, which is the original codebase that was used to create LibreOffice Impress. OpenOffice is currently under Apache management, and while development is slower than LibreOffice, it’s still a valid alternative.

2. Zoho Show

Zoho is another office suite in the line of Microsoft and LibreOffice, but it is more of an in-between for the two. It’s not 100% free and open source, like LibreOffice is, but it does come with a free option. If you want to unlock advanced features, you’ll have to subscribe, like with Office 365.

Zoho Show is the presentation tool in this suite and it’s a web app, so it’s most similar to what you’d find with PowerPoint Online 10 Tips for Using PowerPoint Online 10 Tips for Using PowerPoint Online You can collaborate easily in real-time with PowerPoint Online. Take your PowerPoint experience to the web browser with these tips for better presentations. Read More . The beauty of it is that you can create, edit, and manage your presentations from anywhere with internet access, and you can collaborate in real-time too.

Not only can Zoho Show import half a dozen file formats — PPS, PPT, PPTX, PPSX, ODP, and SXI –, you can also rest assured that every bit of presentation formatting will remain true-to-view, no matter which format you use. No distorted layouts or misaligned images.

Other features exist, such as the ability to publish presentations on the web, as well as the availability of Zoho mobile apps for Android and for iOS.

3. Google Slides

For people who need to give presentations from anywhere at any time How to Give an Online Presentation from Anywhere How to Give an Online Presentation from Anywhere Do you work with a global team or from home? The ability to give a presentation in real-time is a professional need. Here are five tools to present from anywhere in the world. Read More , Google Slides has been a solid answer for several years now. (Prior to 2012, it was known as Google Presentations.) Just as with Google Docs and Google Sheets, Google Slides is an online web app.

Slides is 100% free, supports templates, allows you to create/edit/manage from anywhere with internet access, comes with mobile apps for Android and for iOS, supports real-time collaboration and annotations, and converts flawlessly back and forth with PowerPoint.

presentation-tool-google-slides

Although it might seem like Slides has less development priority compared to Docs and Sheets, it’s far from being abandoned. In fact, some of the best updates made by Google in 2016 The Top Google Updates in 2016 You'll Want to Know About The Top Google Updates in 2016 You'll Want to Know About Google has introduced quite a few changes to many of its products over the last 4-5 months. We decided to round up some of the more useful ones that you might want to know about. Read More were for Slides, like saving and sharing presentations in JPG, PNG, and SVG formats.

Highly recommended for anyone who’s already embedded into the Google cloud environment. In other words, if you’re already a big user of Google Drive 7 Tips & Tricks To Get The Most Out Of Google Drive 7 Tips & Tricks To Get The Most Out Of Google Drive Google Drive is a great service, but installing the Google Drive application and synchronizing some files is just the first step. These tricks will help you take advantage of Google Drive, both on the desktop... Read More , you may as well use Slides, too. Why not?

4. SlideDog

Maybe options like PowerPoint and Google Slides are too complex for what you need. Or maybe they’re too traditional and stuffy. SlideDog is the presentation tool for anyone who wants an alternative that’s modern, yet easy.

With SlideDog, you can take all kinds of media formats — images, videos, PDFs, websites, and even PowerPoint or Prezi files — and stitch them together in a seamless way. It’s perfect for simple and straightforward image-to-image presentations.

What’s even cooler is that you can liveshare your SlideDog presentation and anyone can watch over the internet in real-time. In fact, they can ask questions, comment on slides, and even vote in polls. It’s an awesome way to get immediate feedback on what you’ve presented.

The lite version of SlideDog is free indefinitely. Advanced features (e.g. custom backgrounds, dual screen mode, liveshare, and audience interaction) cost $99 per year or a one-time $249 lifetime account.

5. Visme

Visme isn’t a dedicated presentation tool, but you can certainly create presentations with it if you desire. The goal of Visme is to make it easy for you to translate ideas into engaging content — presentations, infographics, reports, and more.

Visme comes with its own online editor and hundreds of templates to get you started in just minutes. You can change everything — fonts, backgrounds, colors, images — and you can publish your results on the web, offline, or even save as a PDF.

The downside is that you can’t import from PowerPoint or export to PowerPoint. Also, while anyone can publish online, free accounts can only download projects as JPG — PNG, PDF, and HTML5 are for paying customers ($7 per month for Standard, $16 per month for Complete).

6. Sozi

Sozi is a unique free tool that doesn’t use the slideshow concept that seems so fundamental to presentations. Rather, you’re given a large canvas that you can design however you want — whether by drawing or embedding content — and then you transition from area to area.

presentation-tool-sozi

It’s actually really cool once you give it a try. Is it professional grade? No, not yet. You’d be better off using something like Adobe After Effects, if you wanted to do something like this on a professional scale, but for simple presentations, where dynamism is important, Sozi rocks.

7. Haiku Deck / Prezi / Slid.es

These three web tools are actually independent and unaffiliated with each other, but I’m grouping them together because they’re all alike in one way: their free versions only allow for public presentations that are published online and searchable.

Whether you choose Haiku Deck, Prezi, or Slid.es, all you have to do is use the respective online editor to build your presentation. In the case of Haiku Deck, audience members can even view your presentation through a mobile app.

Obviously these aren’t the best choices for business or otherwise private projects, but if you don’t care whether or not strangers can access your presentation — or if you want strangers to see it — then these services can be quite useful.

You can always unlock private presentations by upgrading to a paid account, starting at $5 per month for Haiku Deck, $5 per month for Prezi, and $6 per month for Slid.es.

Which Presentation Tool Do You Like?

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to PowerPoint alternatives. LibreOffice is probably the closest real clone that you’ll find, but Zoho Show and Google Slides are both great if you prefer a cloud-based tool over a desktop tool.

On the other hand, SlideDog, Visme, and Sozi are all intentionally designed to be different from traditional presentation software — and if you’ve always felt limited by options like PowerPoint, or if you’ve been looking for something more hip or modern, you’ll probably love these.

So you tell us: Which one do you like the best and why? Which features do you consider most important for presentation software? Would you rather just shell out the cash for PowerPoint? Share with us in the comments!

Image Credit: making a presentation by wavebreakmedia via Shutterstock

  1. Stuart F. Taylor
    November 24, 2016 at 4:27 am

    WPS Presentation works better than Libre Office/Openoffice. It does not lose notes written in the bottom pane like LO/OO do. It would be completely great but it's not available on the Mac. I wish they would say why not. There are Windows and Linux versions.
    It's great for going back and forth between a computer that has Powerpoint and one that does not.
    Funny that LibreOffice cannot read files processed thru WPS-P unless they're re-saved by PPT.

  2. Daniel Escasa
    June 20, 2016 at 4:15 pm

    An apparently little-used feature is displaying the presentation on an extended display, e.g., an LCD projector. I've had my Impress or Google Slides presentation on my external LCD monitor, and preview and notes on my laptop's display. Have no reason to believe that should work as well with an LCD projector

    • Daniel Escasa
      June 20, 2016 at 4:20 pm

      Just remembered: you do have to enable external display, and set it to extend, not mirror, the desktop - that's a one-time setup. The reason I said it was little-used is that, far as I can tell, most presentations I've seen have mirrored, not extended, desktops

  3. Andreas
    May 12, 2016 at 3:57 am

    To be honest, Microsoft Sway should have made that list.

    • Joel Lee
      May 25, 2016 at 2:23 am

      I do remember looking into it but not being impressed. Do you use Sway regularly, Andreas? Is there something about it that you really like? I'd love to hear your thoughts on why Sway. :)

      • Andreas
        May 25, 2016 at 4:17 am

        If I needed to make more presentations than I do, I would be using Sway. The simplicity of it, the way it makes everything a story, rather than a static boring traditional presentation. Many presentations people produce are extremely boring, and Sway might actually help make that content look intriguing. The first time I saw Sway I was impressed withe the level of presentation a standard presentation had.

        I don't know if that answers your question :)

        • Joel Lee
          May 27, 2016 at 1:48 am

          Okay, that makes sense! Definitely agree with you that a lot of people tend to make boring "traditional" presentations. Maybe Sway really can help with that. I'll check it out again when I can. Thanks Andreas. :)

  4. Danny
    May 11, 2016 at 10:09 pm

    I use Softmaker Office Presentations. It is a Powerpoint clone, easy to use, and doesn't have superfluous features. There is a free version in their FreeOffice suite, but I use the paid version from our office license.

    • Joel Lee
      May 25, 2016 at 2:24 am

      Thanks Danny! I recently found out about FreeOffice and I agree that it's actually quite good. I wish I had known about it a few months ago because then it would have made this list! Prior to that, I only knew about Softmaker Office and didn't want to include it because it wasn't free.

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