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Want your PowerPoint presentations to go better? Most of the work is going to be on you, but the right template can make a difference. Here are a few places to find them, and a few more tools that can help make your presentations just a little more engaging.
There are all sorts of uses for PowerPoint that you haven’t thought of yet, like building presentations to present your photos with style. And we could go on and on about how to improve your presentation skills.
But if your slides are ugly and not engaging, that’s going to undermine your point. Here are a few sites and apps for your consideration, to make your next presentation go just a little bit better.
Templates for PowerPoint: Collection of Templates Direct from Microsoft
There are a staggering number of sites out there with mostly hideous PowerPoint templates. You can find them by searching, but if you’re looking for something simple that looks great I recommend heading straight to Microsoft’s collection of templates.
There’s probably something here that will suite your taste, or at least serve as a starting point, so dive in.
One potential annoyance: the templates open in Microsoft Office Online, instead of downloading. This is great if you don’t pay for Microsoft Office, but those who prefer the desktop version of the software might be momentarily confused. Don’t panic: you can click the Open in PowerPoint button above the ribbon toolbar to open using the desktop version of PowerPoint.
SlideCamp: Collection of High-Quality Slides for PowerPoint Presentations
Templates give you a background, color scheme, and font choices, but the rest is up to you. If you prefer to browse a collection of pre-built slides to quickly add your data to, SlideCamp is what you’re looking for. This subscription service offers a variety of beautiful slides you can quickly modify and present with.
If you struggle to put together presentations, this is a potential solution. But it’s not free: at $20 per month for a single user, it’s going to cost you. But so far as we can tell there’s nothing quite like this out there, and if you speak regularly it could be an invaluable resource.
Participoll (Windows): Poll Your Audience During Your PowerPoint Presentation
There are no shortcuts when it comes to engaging an audience: it’s on you to be interesting. But interactive features can help a lot, by engaging another part of people’s mind and making them feel involved in the process.
Participoll is a Windows application that adds real time polling to any PowerPoint presentation. People in the room can vote on their phones, and results will show up as people vote. This means your entire audience can participate. Voters don’t even need to install an app: they can quickly go to a URL and make their choice.
There’s a free ad-sponsored version, and there’s an ad-free subscription that starts at $100 a year. It’s pricey, but potentially beneficial if you present often and think the polls add impact. I’d suggest trying out the free version before committing.
Office Mix (Windows): Turn PowerPoint Presentations into Interactive Websites
If you’ve made a great presentation, you might feel bad about archiving it on your computer and not showing it to anyone else. OfficeMix is a relatively new Office plugin for Windows that lets you turn any PowerPoint file into an interactive online presentation, complete with audio narration and interactive elements.
People can watch your presentation in its entirety, or jump to a particular slide. It’s a lot easier than putting together a video version of your talk, and gives people who missed it a chance to get at least part of the experience. Think of it next time you give a talk you’re proud of.
RemarkJS: Make Beautiful Presentations Using Only Markdown
Do you hate PowerPoint? Do you think slides should be quick to create and easy on the eyes? Most importantly: are you a fan of Markdown, the best way to write for the web? If you answered “yes” to all those questions, you owe it to yourself to check out RemarkJS. With it you can quickly create presentations that can be viewed in any browser, complete with keyboard shortcuts for changing slides.
You’ll need to know your way around HTML to get this working, and of course you’ll also need to know how Markdown works. It’s not for everyone, but is certainly perfect for a section of the population.
What Are Your Favorite PowerPoint Resources?
So there it is: five sites everyone should check out the next time they’re working on a PowerPoint presentation. We hope the collection was useful to you, and also hope you can return the favor. What are some great websites, apps, and tools for PowerPoint presentations that we missed? Let’s talk about them in the comments below.