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.
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 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.