When you’re sharing your screen, hosting a webinar, or giving a talk, presentation apps help keep your audience engaged. With software like PowerPoint or Prezi, your audience can view photos, infographics, or videos with ease. These tools hold the viewer’s interest and help them visualize the information.
New technology brings PowerPoint alternatives. For more dynamic presentations, use software that lets you present out of sequence, add animation, or share with others for editing. Follow along for our top picks for the best presentation software.
- The best presentation software
- Things to consider about business presentation software
The best presentation software
Our top choices for presentation tools are:
- Google Slides
- Microsoft PowerPoint
- Microsoft Sway
- Zoho Show
- Haiku Deck
We’re dividing our software recommendations into “Main Tools” and “Alternatives.” The Main Tools programs have free versions offering good functionality suitable for everyday use. Alternatives have additional features valued by design professionals or experienced presenters. Check out what we consider the top “main tools” when giving a quality presentation.
Google Slides is available for free if you use Gmail, Google Workspace (formerly G Suite), or a Google account. The software is intuitive and will seem familiar if you’ve used PowerPoint. It has controls similar to programs like Google Docs and Google Sheets.
- Requirements. If you use Google Chrome or other apps, you already have Google Slides software.
- Collaboration. The app hosts documents in the cloud so you can share for real-time collaboration on presentations. All changes are auto-saved, so anyone with a link can see an up-to-date version.
- Template choices. Choose from a limited selection of presentation templates or create your own format.
- Graphic assets. The software has a limited number of simple graphic assets. You can upload photographs from your desktop, Google Drive, or an online link.
- GIFs and videos. Upload videos from Google Drive or with a YouTube link. Add GIFs like you’d add photographs.
- Audio and third-party content. You can add anything from your Google Drive to a slide show.
- Animation. You can animate the movement to the next slide and elements within a slide.
- User fit. Its easy, intuitive interface makes Google Slides a good choice for beginners. Students, educators, professionals, or anyone who needs access to simple, shareable software will appreciate Google Slides.
- Ease of use. Google Slides software is easy and intuitive to use. View and edit Google Slides on any device using the iPhone or Android apps.
- Price. Personal plans are free; business plans range from $6 to $18 per user per month for the full suite of Google Workspace tools.
Canva is an all-in-one presentation software with a full suite of tools to create presentations, reports, animated Instagram posts, and more. The software has plenty of well-designed templates, an image library, and free workshops that teach best practices. It is a favored all-purpose design tool for non-designers.
- Requirements. Canva offers a free software download, or you can buy additional resources for a fee.
- Collaboration. Canva is cloud-based, so you can share online presentations with others for editing or use it as an app with editing capabilities.
- Template choices. Even the free version of Canva has hundreds of customizable templates. You can access even more resources with a paid plan.
- Graphic assets. Canva’s library includes shapes, icons, photos, stickers, and frames. Some options are free, while others require a subscription.
- GIFs and videos. You can import videos and edit them to create a picture-in-picture effect and add graphic elements like text to a video. Canva lets you upload GIFs or create animated GIFs.
- Audio and third-party content. Use options within Canva to add music to your presentations. It offers dozens of embedding options and integrations for multimedia presentations, including social media like YouTube and Twitter.
- Animation. Add animated stickers to slides or animate the whole slide presentation.
- User fit. Canva works well for teams seeking designer features, such as brand kits for saving custom sets of colors, logos, and fonts.
- Ease of use. Elements in Canva are user-friendly and easy to find, making the software easy to use.
- Price. The free version of Canva has extensive features. For designers and solopreneurs who want access to premium content and advanced features, Canva Pro is $12.99 per month or $119.99 per year. Canva Pro is free for nonprofits and classrooms.
Due to its familiarity, availability, and straightforward use, Microsoft PowerPoint is still the world’s most popular presentation program. Create, edit, and share slides with PowerPoint, which is included in Microsoft 365 software. If you’ve used Word or other Microsoft apps, PowerPoint’s user interface will be familiar. Build presentations from customizable templates or share a link for online collaboration. You can easily embed 3D objects, tables, shapes, icons, and animation. The web version includes a coaching tool that tracks your language, pacing, and more when you practice your presentation.
- Requirements. If you use Microsoft 365, you have PowerPoint. If not, download it for free for a month—including on mobile devices.
- Collaboration. If you want to share a PowerPoint presentation with colleagues for editing, save the document to OneDrive or SharePoint in Microsoft 365. Choose “Share” in the top-right corner of the ribbon to email team members.
- Template choices. PowerPoint has dozens of customizable built-in templates.
- Graphic assets. Browse PowerPoint’s graphic library by searching for keywords. Graphic assets include stock images, stickers, icons, and more.
- GIFs and videos. You can upload videos and GIFs from your computer. The software also lets you add a video from YouTube or Vimeo to a slide. Because videos are stored on a website rather than in the presentation, you’ll need an internet connection to play them.
- Audio and third-party content. Upload audio files from your computer or record and edit audio from within PowerPoint. You can embed files created in programs that support Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) or from other Microsoft Office suite applications (like charts made in Excel).
- Animation. PowerPoint offers options for animation and transitions to make your slideshow look more professional.
- User fit. Students, educators, professionals, or individuals who use a Windows device and users who want a very limited learning curve to create professional presentations will find PowerPoint a good choice.
- Ease of use. The software is easy to use and intuitive. Most Windows users will know how to use PowerPoint. You can also download presentations and view or edit them offline.
- Price. Download PowerPoint for free on any device for one month. Businesses can purchase PowerPoint as part of Microsoft 365 in plans that start at $6 per month paid annually.
The options mentioned below provide alternatives to the straightforward slide deck presentations. These include huge graphics libraries, advanced animation options, and automated design.
Prezi reinvents the classic corporate slideshow. Instead of advancing slides in sequence, Prezi lets you advance in a nonlinear order and transitions zoom in and out. The app has three components—Prezi Present, Prezi Video, and Prezi Design—for creating presentations, recording videos, and designing charts and infographics.
- Requirements. Download Prezi software for your operating system.
- Collaboration. Send a link to team members for feedback. Remove collaborators when you’re ready for solo work or access Prezi offline with premium plans.
- Template choices. Prezi has more than 200 templates for different business needs, such as reports for sales teams or lesson plans.
- Graphic assets. The assets library includes standard icons and shapes. With a premium plan, you can access over 500,000 images and 80,000 icons.
- GIFs and videos. This software doesn’t support GIFs, but you can upload videos or embed YouTube videos. You must be online to view videos.
- Audio and third-party content. Add voice-over with a premium plan. You can’t embed other content in Prezi Present; however, it is possible to embed content in Prezi Design and insert it into a presentation.
- Animation. Prezi presentations are known for fluid animation between topics and subtopics.
- User fit. Prezi works well for educators, business presentations, or anyone who needs a style of presenting with the flexibility to move around between topics.
- Ease of use. If you have experience with multimedia software, Prezi should be easy to learn. Expect a slight learning curve with this software if you don’t have experience making graphics and videos.
- Price. The basic plan is free, but you can access more features and produce unlimited projects with the Plus plan for $15 per month billed annually. The Business plan is $59 per month. Contact Prezi to price a Teams plan.
With the introduction of Sway, Microsoft has an alternative to its own product: PowerPoint. This free web-based app uses artificial intelligence (AI) to recommend content and layouts. Type a heading and the software recommends internet content to add, such as images and videos. Import text from other Microsoft Office apps (like PowerPoint or Word) and Sway organizes the text into slides.
- Requirements. Download Sway for free with a Microsoft account.
- Collaboration. Invite team members to view or edit your slide deck.
- Template choices. Sway has limited template choices organized by topic, such as sales training. Its storyline editor lets you add copy that the software forms into layouts.
- Graphic assets. Sway does not include graphic assets, but you can upload your own.
- GIFs and videos. Upload videos and GIFs from your computer or embed them from YouTube.
- Audio and third-party content. You can upload audio or drag and drop an audio file from your computer. Sway also lets you embed content like videos or images from social media and a long list of supported websites.
- Animation. Sway automatically animates your slides, but you can indicate which element to emphasize.
- User fit. Sway works well for people who need an engaging presentation but don’t want to spend too much time creating it.
- Ease of use. Sway is easy to use and has features, such as animation, that automatically enhance the presentation.
- Price. Sway is free, but you need a Microsoft account. Sign in with your email or create a free Microsoft account. You can create more sophisticated Sways with more content by upgrading to Microsoft 365.
Zoho Show is a customizable web-based software that lets you collaborate, create, present, or publish presentations from your browser. Choose from more than 100 templates or create your own. When it’s time to present, control your slideshow from your mobile phone or smartwatch. This software does not have a desktop application, so you must be online to use it.
- Requirements. Create an account online and start designing.
- Collaboration. Work with multiple team members in real time. You can also lock slides to prevent additional editing. For an interactive presentation, you can broadcast to a remote audience from within the app.
- Template choices. Zoho Show has a limited number of templates, but they have modern colors and designs.
- Graphic assets. Add customized “Humaaans” (cartoon-like illustrations) to your presentation. You can also access more than a million royalty-free photos from Unsplash without leaving the app. Other resources include emojis, graphs, and icons like shapes, arrows, and symbols.
- GIFs and videos. Add videos through the YouTube integration. Use the Giphy add-on to create or insert GIFs.
- Audio and third-party content. You can upload media from your device or paste a URL from any site. The software lets you add media files from a few sites (such as Unsplash) within the app.
- Animation. Zoho Show lets you animate all elements and transitions.
- User fit. Best for professionals on teams using Zoho WorkDrive file management systems and presenters who appreciate the convenience of controlling presentations from a mobile device and integrating with platforms like Slack and Twitter to show live content in presentations.
- Ease of use. Zoho Show is easy to use, with a simple menu that resembles PowerPoint.
- Price. Zoho Show is free for individual users; business users pay $5 a month for a standard plan or $8 per month for premium. The software is part of the Zoho WorkDrive, which includes other useful software for teams.
Designed for creative teams, Ludus lets creators add any type of content to slides. Make a library of reusable blocks of design elements and use them to brand your presentations. Customize your slides with Photoshop-style edits to text, images, and videos. Organize projects into workspaces with different user rights, so access to certain channels is limited.
- Requirements. Sign up for Ludus from your web browser.
- Collaboration. Collaborate with team members in real time. When the presentation is complete, present your work on a custom URL and domain.
- Template choices. Ludus doesn’t have templates. Designers create their own or use smart blocks stored in a library for repeated usage.
- Graphic assets. While Ludus has minimal graphic assets, it has outstanding integration capabilities. Import photos from Unsplash, Instagram, Facebook, or your computer.
- GIFs and videos. Easily import videos and GIFs through integrations with YouTube, Vimeo, Giphy, and others.
- Audio and third-party content. Embed audio as a file from Dropbox, SoundCloud, and others. Ludus lets you embed nearly anything into a presentation.
- Animation. You can’t animate internal elements, but you can set up animations through integrations with other sites.
- User fit. Ludus is best for designers who want creative control and the ability to import various content types.
- Ease of use. There is a learning curve for non-designers. If you’ve used design tools like Figma and Sketch, it’s straightforward.
- Price. For teams of 15 or fewer, the price is $14.99 monthly per person. Ask for a quote for teams of more than 16.
Haiku Deck uses AI to do much of the design work for you. It uses information from an outline or PowerPoint presentation to suggest themes and images. The software suggests designs based on a client’s previous preferences. Haiku Deck works with iOS devices, such as a Mac and iPad, but not on Windows or Android devices.
- Requirements. Create an account and download the app for computer or mobile usage.
- Collaboration. Haiku Deck does not support edits by more than one user at a time. You can create a collaborative account and give users login info so team members can sign in to review or edit the document.
- Template choices. Haiku Deck has templates based on business topics. It also uses artificial intelligence to suggest designs based on your content and images.
- Graphic assets. Haiku Deck’s library has numerous fonts, charts, graphs, and millions of photographs.
- GIFs and videos. You can’t add GIFs to Haiku Decks, but you can easily embed YouTube videos.
- Audio and third-party content. It’s easy to record narrations and voice-overs in Haiku Deck. Videos are the only third-party content that you can embed.
- Animation. There is no option to animate features in Haiku Deck.
- User fit. This software is geared toward educators, students, and small businesses because of its capacity to make fast and engaging presentations.
- Ease of use. Haiku Deck’s menus are easy to follow, and the software is simple.
- Price. Use the free one-week trial to make one presentation. Upgrading to a Pro package is $9.99 per month and a Premium package is $29.99 a month, both billed annually.
Things to consider about business presentation software
There was a time when a professional presentation involved displaying static slides with a few bullet points. Today, an engaging presentation includes images, movement, video, and audio. Using the right software streamlines the process.
Let’s review the features to look for in business presentation software.
Editability. Is it easy to edit or reformat? Is a desktop app adequate, or do you need to share a draft with team members for their edits?
Ready-made templates. Can you use colorful, attractive slide templates? Will you have choices to meet your business needs? Professional designers may build a design from scratch, but the average presenter wants to add content to existing presentation templates.
AI assistance. Can the software suggest a layout based on your business category or content? Some software can format your copy into slides and recommend a color scheme based on your images or graphics.
Compatibility. Does the software work well with your other technology? Are you making an explainer video to post on your website? Will you be importing older PowerPoint pitch decks, embedding video, or making edits in a project management program like Slack?
Affordability. Are you an independent professional who needs a free plan? Or a design professional or illustrator who needs the functionality of a pro plan to grow your business?
Trust a graphic designer
If you’re a skilled graphic designer who can use one or more of these tools to create exciting and effective presentations, look for work with Ndiwano.com clients.
If you’re a businessperson using presentations to sell your product or service, consider hiring an independent designer. They’ll create stunning presentations to reflect the professionalism of your business.
Visit Ndiwano.com to find the pros you need. If you’re hiring a designer, here’s how to select the best one for your project:
- Identify your graphic design needs and medium. In this case, you need to design a presentation.
- Find a designer. Find top independent talent on Ndiwano.com. You can review their profiles, areas of expertise, and rates for design projects.
- Review their work. Review similar projects they have completed to see if you like their design style.
- Interview candidates. This is a good time to learn more about their work style, how they handle deadlines, and the potential timeline for your project.
- Hire a designer. When choosing an independent designer, create a work scope that outlines the pay rate, deliverables, and milestones. Specify who owns the completed work, whether your company or the contractor.
Hire the independent talent you need for your project and all you’ll have to focus on is the message.