Anyone with a Microsoft account can display a presentation online. Cons Very minor inconveniences, such as an all-slides view that? Bottom Line By far the best presentations software under Windows. Its chief competition is Microsoft? New additions to the app help creators do their jobs better, rather than cram in more needless effects, because frankly, PowerPoint has enough of them already. If you spend a lot of time making slideshows, rehearsing them, and presenting, you'll want PowerPoint for its ability to keep the process smooth and quick.
If innovation is what you're after, you won't find it here. Other apps, notably Prezi, break away from the humdrum format of slide after slide. Still, PowerPoint is the top-rated Editors' Choice for presentation apps. Prezi and Apple Keynote are also Editors' Choices, for their innovation and cost-savings, respectively. Price Perhaps the most common way to get PowerPoint is to buy a subscription to Microsoft Office , which includes it.
They aren't bargains either. There is a free version of the app called PowerPoint Online sometimes it's called PowerPoint Web App; Microsoft isn't consistent with its nomenclature. You access it in a Web browser, and all you need is a Windows Live login, such as a username and password for Outlook. It has drastically fewer capabilities than the desktop app, however, and some of those that are missing are essential.
For example, you can't insert text boxes and wordart, although if you open a file that already has them, they should display as normal.
PowerPoint Online is fine for viewing presentations, but it's not useful for creating and editing them. Starting from the lowest priced product, Google Slides is totally free, as long as you have a Google account. It's stunningly capable for a free product, though it doesn't have nearly as many bells and whistles as PowerPoint. It does, however, have some excellent presenter tools, my favorite being the ability to generate a link to which audience members can submit questions to a presenter in real time.
Google Slides also supports collaboration extremely well. Apple Keynote is the next-cheapest option because for most Mac users, it's included with the purchase of a laptop or desktop computer it's included with new Macs purchased on or after October 1, If it's not installed on an eligible Mac for some reason, you can download it from the App Store at no cost.
Even that is a very low price. Windows users are out of luck, unless they only want to use the iCloud Web version of the product. Prezi has a much higher fee than either Keynote or PowerPoint. What you get for that much higher price is an app that's completely unlike the traditional presentation apps you've perhaps come to know but not love.
If you're tired of the linear slide model, Prezi can help you shake those old habits. It gives you a canvas instead of a slide deck, to map out your ideas. When it's time to present, you essentially take control of a camera to zoom in or out on your canvas, or highlight certain areas at different points during your presentation. The camera direction, as it were, can be programmed and save so that you don't have to operate the camera while delivering a presentation.
View All 8 Photos in Gallery The last presentation app worth mentioning is different from both traditional slideshow apps and Prezi. It's called PowToon , and it helps you create animated scenes instead of slides. It's also expensive. Organizations looking to add multiple seats can contact PowToon for a price quote. There is a free version of PowToon, but any presentations you make will be watermarked with a logo and contain an advertisement for PowToon at the end, which is reason enough not to use the free version for anything other than getting a feel for it.
What's New in PowerPoint? Microsoft PowerPoint is packed full of features and capabilities, which can be both a strength and a weakness it's a weakness if you think less is more in presentations, which many do. The latest additions to PowerPoint are significant, however, and truly useful.
It's not a list of new effects and animations, but rather supporting features that ease and improve the process of actually building a slideshow.
Synchronous Collaboration. PowerPoint now fully supports synchronous collaborative editing. Two or more people can log into the same file from their own respective workstations and simultaneously edit a presentation. When editing collaboratively, the names and icons of each person currently in the file appear in the top right corner.
You can chat with any of these people right in the app as you are working together. You can also keep a list of threaded comments, which will be saved and stored with the presentation, in case your communication needs to be noted later.
More and more productivity apps include support for real-time collaboration. Google Slides does so excellently, and Microsoft PowerPoint may have borrowed some ideas from the G Suite that made collaborative editing popular. Prezi also supports real-time collaboration. Keynote is getting there, with its real-time collaboration tools still in beta as of this writing. Design Ideas.
The other recent significant improvement to PowerPoint is called Design Ideas. As you build a slide, and particularly when you add images, the app will offer you the Design Ideas button. If you select it, PowerPoint analyzes the elements you have on the slide, such as headers, text, and images, and offers variations on the layout to make the slide more attractive. I like this feature because it encourages you to break away from the confines of a slide template while still preserving the general look and feel you've chosen.
It also works wonders when you have a few images of different sizes and quality. In my testing PowerPoint, made great suggestions for basic ways to align, size, and add masks or other visual effects to images to make them look better, while still being cohesive with the rest of the presentation. Morph Transition. Another new feature, which is only available to Office subscribers, is called Morph Transition.
As you might expect, it's an effect that applies as you move from one slide to another. It works when you have at least one of the same objects across consecutive slides. For example, let's say you have an arrow on slide 1, and you make a copy of that slide to create slide 2, at which point you move the arrow to a new location. If you apply Morph Transition, PowerPoint will show the arrow in motion, from one point to the next, when you click to go to the next slide.
It's easiest to understand when you see it in action. Although it only works on a particular type of slide, it's a great effect when used appropriately. Presenting and Collaborating Microsoft PowerPoint is available to download and install on both Windows and Mac computers. In addition, there's a Web app you can use, though the desktop apps are more reliable. No matter what device you have, you're not going to be left out in the cold with PowerPoint.
PowerPoint has a excellent tools for presenters for when they're in the act of delivering a presentation. The Presenter View displays notes and other options on your own computer screen while your audience see only the slides. Another excellent set of tools helps you rehearse your presentation while the app keeps track of how much time you spend on each slide, as well as total time. You can save your time log to help you hone your presentation and make sure you are spending the right amount of time on each subject.
There's also an option to transmit a presentation online to any browser. All you need is a Microsoft account. In this way, PowerPoint is keeping pace with online presentation apps, such as Google Slides and Prezi. Having the ability to present online can eliminate the need to use a screen-sharing and Web conferencing service.
The app also does a great job of giving you, the presenter and slideshow creator, an idea of how an animation or effect will look before you commit to using it.
Icons with motion lines, dotted lines on screen suggesting movement, and other visual aids—including text descriptions—help make it clear what each feature will do, which ends up saving slideshow creators a lot of time. Formatting Improvements Other conveniences aren't necessarily new, but they add up to make PowerPoint the powerhouse that it is. Enhanced guidelines, for example, let you snap multiple objects so that they are evenly spaced or the same size, or both.
Arrows and lines appear on screen when the objects are correctly placed, and you merely click to make them stay there. PowerPoint also lets you nudge objects quickly by holding down the arrow key, or slowly by tapping it instead.
An eyedropper tool lets you select a color from any point in an image and apply that same color to the shapes or background of the same slide or the master template. Some of the app's most dazzling transitions are a bit much, however. Consider an Origami transition that folds up a slide into an origami bird that then flies off screen, revealing the next slide underneath it. If you're in the "less is more" camp, these over-the-top options do little more than encourage bad presentations.
Like everything else in Microsoft Office, PowerPoint is designed to be used on either a tablet or a traditional laptop or desktop. With a Surface pen, you can draw and annotate your slides either ahead of time or while you're presenting.
The pen can act as a laser pointer, ink pen, or highlighter. The latest improvements focus sharply on helping presenters create, edit, and deliver presentations rather than merely give them more transition effects and animations because PowerPoint's cup already overfloweth in that department. It's very possible you can get what you need out of the free Google Slides or Apple's Keynote, which is also free for many Mac users. But PowerPoint has the most features of them all.
Prezi is the other alternative worth exploring, especially if you're pining to get away from linear slide presentations in the first place.
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