Show and Make Presentations Online with 280 Slides (Updated)

Stefan Neagu 14-03-2009

Update: 280 Slides is no longer available.


If you thought a web application can’t really compete with a desktop one – 280 Slides proves you were wrong. Boasting the same sleek design as the Mac OS X Keynote presentation app, 280 Slides makes showing and making presentations a cinch – without a single thing on your computer! Run it in full screen and your friends will surely think you’ve got OS X installed on your PC.

make presentations online

Looking at 280 slides a very interesting thought popped into my mind; Microsoft, and every other desktop software maker is in very deep trouble. Why would I want to buy the Office suite when I’ve got a perfectly capable web application available on any of my computers for free?

Even Windows is in trouble; One of the big downsides to switching from Windows at the moment is the lack of portability for applications: you have to learn how to use apps which are compatible with Debian for example. But when the apps run in your browser, and the browser is the same, Firefox, there’s nothing to stop users from switching platforms. As these web applications evolve this will become a very pressing problem. I’ll leave this discussion for another time, so let’s get to know 280 Slides.

  • All the basic features are there: text boxes, pictures, video, shapes, notes. If you’re using PowerPoint or Keynote to create presentations but never heard of manually assigning animation paths, you’re never going to know the difference.
  • Show and Make Presentations Online with 280 Slides (Updated) 280slides3Import and Export PowerPoint 97-2007, ODF or PDF. Create slides online and then save them on your computer or import an existing slideshow for editing. Simply click Import and select your document. To download – just select the format you prefer.
  • You can store documents directly on the 280 Slides server if you create an account. The only information you have to provide is an email address and a password.
  • The full screen presentation mode works very well and supports the standard key combinations for going forward and exiting.
  • Recognizes and uses existing fonts from your presentation.
  • 12 integrated themes, simple and elegant, inspired from similar themes in Keynote.
  • Uses Amazon S3 storage facilities – which have a consistent uptime and are reliable.
  • The application is written in Objective-J and Cappuccino. Objective J is JavaScript with the addition of classes.

create presentations online


280 Slides is in beta but so far works very well; There are a few kinks and bugs, but no “˜showstoppers’:

  • It had trouble recognizing non-ASCII characters, which limits its use to the English-speaking market. For example it replaced Romanian specific characters with a question mark:


  • It doesn’t recognize cropped areas created with PowerPoint 2007. For example, I had a cropped signature from a screenshot. Instead of the signature – the whole screenshot appeared.

show presentations

  • It is still a bit slower than the offline versions; be prepared to wait 2-3 seconds to switch from one slide to another. Sometimes, when opening a new dialog box, the application was unresponsive for a short period. That proved to be a little frustrating.

An alternative to 280 Slides is SlideRocket – in my opinion a better choice when it comes to creating presentations online. It has more advanced features such as transitions, charts, diagrams, tables and assets managing. Unfortunately, SlideRocket isn’t free.


I invite you to take a look at 280 Slides and tell us in the comments what you think about the app; How would you compare it to SlideRocket?

Other MakeUseOf writers have reviewed similar web applications. Check out articles by Tina and Jeffry Five Webtop Alternatives For Cloud Computing Read More . You can read Varun’s review of SlideRocket here Make Beautiful Online Presentations With Sliderocket Read More .

Related topics: Microsoft PowerPoint, Presentations.

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  1. Tueksta
    July 20, 2009 at 7:38 am

    I don't know where you get the number 12 from, I can see only 9 themes, one of them is "white" and one is "black", which leaves us with 7 themes. As cool as the website is, I think much more themes are needed.

  2. SarjanWebDev
    March 17, 2009 at 7:19 pm

    Well, At least one can use it to embed YouTube in PowerPoint easily!

  3. crimson
    March 16, 2009 at 7:39 am

    Until these alternative slide-makers adapt to non-ASCII characters, they are only useful to English-speaking users. Noi, românii, care avem de făcut proiecte cu diacritice, care oricât am vrea să ne impresionăm profesorii cu steluţe şi rachetuţe şi efecte speciale de tot soiul, suntem totuşi forţaţi să rămânem la MSPowerpoint.

    It's the same problem with SlideRocket.

    • Stefan Neagu
      March 16, 2009 at 11:50 am

      A fellow romanian and a MakeUseOf reader! I agree, we, non-ASCII fans are stuck with PowerPoint.

  4. Guy Cross
    March 16, 2009 at 3:07 am

    my first impression are that this is awesome!



  5. Vadim P.
    March 15, 2009 at 10:30 am

    It seems 280slides comes upon some issue with the alpha 64bit version of flash - you get a complete system freeze. Nonetheless I tried it on a 32bit laptop, and it was nice.

    One thing I would ask for is an AIR app though so I don't have to start a browser to run it.

    • Stefan Neagu
      March 15, 2009 at 10:55 am

      You could try Mozilla Prism to achieve almost the same effect as a local application.

  6. Stefan Neagu
    March 14, 2009 at 11:28 pm

    A slight nuance to the ending paragraph was spotted by a watchful reader. SlideRocket does have a free version which includes all the basic functionality.