What's the Best Presentation Software?

powerpoint, prezi,
keynote or google slides?

Why I Build Decks in PowerPoint

What’s the best software for presentations? My thoughts on PowerPoint vs Prezi, Keynote, and Google Slides. Spoiler alert. For me, it’s PowerPoint.  Let’s compare.

Prezi

Prezi does some really cool stuff. It’s hip, modern, and it does things that PowerPoint doesn’t. It’s also a pain in the ass when it comes to some of the most common things that I find I need to do with slide decks. Reorganizing content flow, taking one presentation and adapting it for another purpose, templating for my clients, etc…. Honestly, I’d rather slam my head in a door than have to do that in Prezi. Plus it can give people motion sickness. It’s not easily adaptable, either, to take a prezi and convert it to a traditional slide deck. What I love about Prezi is it’s non-linear format.  It’s like a giant whiteboard where you can map out your ideas.  I do use it, but for purposes other than presenations that I create for clients.  The zoom functionality is badass.  I love it for being able to drill down into very detailed concepts.   Highly detailed concepts, however, are not what I’m generally dealing with on client projects.  The cloud based functionality is also a plus.   I like the platform, but the benefits don’t outweigh the shortfalls for my needs.

Google Slides

Google Slides is great for a very simple presentation deck but that’s about it. It doesn’t offer the flexibility of customization, animations are limited. Something I use a lot, data visualization, is bare bones. What’s data visualization? It’s when I create slides that aren’t specifically charts (as in they aren’t tied to a data set where the chart sort of creates itself. Think infographics. Doable in Google Slides but it requires a lot more work than in PowerPoint. Something else that I do frequently is to create branded templates for clients so that they can easily create their own branded decks for training, presentations, or company decks for their agents. Can it be done in Slides? Yes. Are they as nice or as flexible? No. One big plus on Google Slides is the ability to easily collaborate with other people. The templates are nice, but I can create better building them myself in PowerPoint.

Keynote

Keynote is the go-to choice of many Mac users and part of iWork, Apple’s office suite that’s exclusive to Mac. You can view PowerPoints on Keynote but can’t edit them. Most of my work in building, so that’s the first challenge. Branding wise, Keynote is solid. It allows for custom fonts, I can bring in graphics and images created in other platforms, and charting is good. It’s a bit harder to do custom graphics, something that is critical for me when I need to create data visualization. While PowerPoint can be used on either a PC or a Mac, Keynote doesn’t work on a PC. Clients with either Mac or PC can use anything I create with PowerPoint. I can’t have my go-to tool not work for two-thirds of my clients. No bueno. It’s possible to export slides into PowerPoint, but it’s usually not a clean conversion. Graphics break, animations don’t work, and layouts get wonky. Keynote does have some absolutely stunning layouts, and it’s better for supporting multi-media content. MagicMove, the keynote animation system, is cool as hell. Like Google Slides, though, I can create whatever I want for templates in PowerPoint, so it’s not a differentiator for me. Ditto with animations.

I could create even more stunning and cool decks with InDesign, but if my clients can only use them in PDF format, it doesn’t matter how gorgeous they are. Keynote for me is much the same thing. Cool, definitely. Universally adaptable? Nope.

PowerPoint

I get that people think that PowerPoint is fuddy-duddy. It’s been around for ages. But it’s been around for ages for a reason. It’s a solid program, it gets the job done, and almost everyone is familiar with it. That means that when I create a deck for a brokerage, all of their staff or agents can use it without it becoming a support issue. I can create a presentation for a speaker who isn’t super tech-savvy, and they can edit it for last minute changes without ripping their hair out. I can create a series of training decks for a brokerage, and they’ll be literally plug and play for the instructor, regardless of what laptop they’re running on or whatever their level of geek.
 
Plus, it has some pretty cool features that most people don’t know are there.
 
There are downsides to everything, PowerPoint included. No, it’s not perfect. Because there are so many features, it is more difficult to learn how to use the advanced options. My job as the creator is to build so my clients don’t have to. The built-in templates are bleh, unlike Keynote and Google Slides. I don’t use them, though, because I build my own templates so my clients don’t have to, so as a building tool, that shortfall becomes a moot point for my work
 
While MagicMove in Keynote is sweet, I have more animation options in PowerPoint and combined with morph, I find that I can create whatever motions that I need to. Out of the box, PowerPoint doesn’t look as slick as Keynote. But I’m not using it out of the box. I’m building in it so that it’s out of the box for the client.
 
On the right (or below on mobile) are some of the decks from my files, all built in PowerPoint.  Client info has been removed, of course.  As you can see, it’s totally possible to make something beautiful and modern with PowerPoint, custom layouts are not an issue.   
  
 
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For what I do, PowerPoint gives me the ability to build what I need to build and ease of use for my clients to be able to use what I create for them. 
  
 

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