Best Presentation Software List: Complete 2020 Guide

Caya
May 22, 2020
  |  

Best Presentation Software List: Complete 2020 Guide

Caya
May 22, 2020
  |  

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There are literally hundreds of presentation software tools in the market today and keeping track is getting increasingly hard. Most of them have been optimized for a specific purpose or type of user and it’s very likely that THE ideal tool for you is actually one that you’ve never heard of.

We’ve created this best presentation software list to shed some light and to give you a comprehensive presentation software list to ensure you make the right call in the platform you select. This article is the result of several weeks of research and review of 50+ presentation tools currently available on the web.

What is a presentation software?

A presentation software is defined as an application built to display information in the form of a slide show. Any presentation tool must have three fundamental functions:

  1. A text editor: to input the contents of the presentation.
  2. An import function: to insert and manipulate images and other content.
  3. A slide-show or presenter mode: that displays the content in a nice, formatted way.

Slide shows often consist of a combination of text, video, images and charts. Their primary function is displaying clear, readable and summarized data to an audience.

Most presentations are shared and presented on a larger screen or through a digital projector. In rare occasions, slide presentations are printed out as a replacement for text documents, but this is a really inefficient way to review data, that Garr Reynolds calls ‘PresDocs’ (Garr Reynolds is the author of Presentation Zen, one of the most important go-to reference for successful presentations).

Related Read: What Makes Up the Best Presentation Templates?

WHAT MAKES A GOOD PRESENTATION TOOL?

The functions and results of presentation programs has evolved significantly in the past decades, since the original launch of ‘Presenter’ (the PowerPoint predecessor) in 1984. In 1987 PowerPoint 1.0 was released for the Macintosh and it started a revolution in the way we prepare and consume content in meetings.

For the purposes of this article we are going to classify all presentation tools using 3 variables that we consider extremely important:

Ease of use: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

This rating looks at the learning curve, or time required to learn to use the platform. An easy to use interface is fundamentally important to ensure that users feel confortable working with the platform and doesn’t require complex training to take advantage of its features. This also accounts for the average time it takes to build a presentation.

Customization: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

The ability to customize a presentation to the smallest details. This varies depending on the number of advanced features in the platform, like the ability to set different transitions to each slide, the ability to add customized elements or to design/code the final outcome of the slides to the last font size and color code.

Final result: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

This indicator looks at the outcome of a finished presentation, assuming the user is an average person with basic design skills and intermediate knowledge on the tool itself.

Best PowerPoint Alternatives (Death by Power Point)

As we mentioned before, PowerPoint is the most used presentation builder in the market today. It is distributed by Microsoft as part of their Office Suite, which is estimated to have over 500 million users worldwide. Microsoft has also revealed that approximately 35 Million presentations are delivered every single day, that’s a staggering 400 presentations per second.


death-by-powerpoint

But still, PowerPoint’s popularity has decreased significantly in the past few years. Their boring presentation templates, the large learning curve and complexity as well as the terrible slides many users end up making have started the Death to PowerPoint movement.

For this section, we summarize the top PowerPoint alternatives, that is, presentation tools that work in a fairly similar manner and that provide similar (but significantly better) results. If you are an avid PowerPoint user, then migrating to these platforms should be rather easy for you.

Best presentation software list 2020- Top 10

(Updated May 2020)

  1. Slidebean
  2. Keynote presentation
  3. Visme
  4. Google Slides
  5. Haiku Deck
  6. Flowvella
  7. Slides
  8. Prezi
  9. SlideDog
  10. Canva

1- SLIDEBEAN PRESENTATION SOFTWARE

Ease of use: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ - Fantastic!

Customization: ★ ★ ★ ★ - Very Good

Final result: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ - Fantastic!

Slidebean presentation software editor


Slidebean is an online presentation tool that uses artificial intelligence to design beautiful slides. Simply add content blocks to your presentation without worrying about formatting. Slidebean’s AI finds the best possible design for every element on your slide. This level of automation allows you to create a professional looking presentation in a fraction of the time it normally takes on PowerPoint.

When comparing it to PowerPoint, Slidebean’s interface is much easier to learn and work with, and it lets you create fantastic looking presentations really fast. The platform is web based and allows you to export to both PowerPoint and PDF format. It also lets you track viewer interactions and activity from people you share your slides with!

Slidebean also has a unique advantage which is a rich gallery of presentation outline templates. These are pre-filled decks that work for numerous purposes, like business proposals, classroom decks, thesis presentations and even startup pitch decks: all you need to do is import them and fill in your content.

You can sign up free for Slidebean here

SIGN UP FREE

2- APPLE KEYNOTE

Ease of use: ★ ★ ★ - OK

Customization: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ - Fantastic!

Final result: ★ ★ ★ ★ - Very Good\

Keynote presentation software seen on different devices

Keynote is what PowerPoint should have been all along. Apple’s version of the popular presentation tool has improved significantly in the last few years, and has recently included a cloud version that works on any browser on any computer (as long as you have at least one Apple device).

Keynote is basically an improved PowerPoint, it offers the same approach to create slides, but offers nice and clean templates, a simple interface and nice details like smart guides.

The biggest issue with Keynote is the long learning process that it requires. Similar to Microsoft’s tool, you’ll need to sit down for a few hours to learn to use the platform, and another larger set of hours to make a professional presentation.

More info about Apple Keynote is available here

3- VISME  

Ease of use: ★ ★ ★ - OK

Customization: ★ ★ ★ ★ - Very Good

Final result: ★ ★ ★ - OKVisme is a web based platform for building presentations. Their interface is similar to PowerPoint, but they have successfully simplified a complex UI to a nicer and more understandable navigation. Still, you’ll need to spend a few hours to get a good grasp of where all the customization options can be found.

Visme presentation software editor

The platform offers an interesting (but certainly limited) gallery of images, but they succeed at delivering beautiful infographic elements (which they call ‘Charts and Graphs’) that you can use to add some color and make your slides much more dynamic.

You can read more about them here.

4- GOOGLE SLIDES

Ease of use: ★ ★ ★ - OK

Customization: ★ ★ - Passable

Ease of use: ★ ★ ★ - OK

Google slides presentation software editor

Google’s version of PowerPoint is hosted as part of the Google Apps suite, that you can access from Google Drive or from Google Apps for Work. Sadly, their presentation builder feels like a limited version of PowerPoint, with less features, limited fonts and very little customization options.  

Still, Google’s platform is available for free, has a lot of integrations and probably one of the best online collaboration systems out there. Check it out is easy, just visit your Google Drive.

You can find a more detailed review here.

5- FLOWVELLA

Ease of use: ★ ★ - Passable

Customization: ★ ★ ★ - OK

Final result: ★ ★ ★ - OK

Flowvella presentation software editor

Flowvella is available on the Mac App Store as a desktop application. It provides a simple interface (certainly cleaner than Microsoft PowerPoint and somewhat similar to Apple Keynote) and some very nice design templates, which set good grounds so you can start building a nice looking set of slides on top of them. This is by far their biggest strength! If you want to start from scratch, however, you might feel a little lost creating something that looks good.

We found, however, that the oversimplified interface makes some basic options hard to find, like changing the color of a shape. Also, while running as a desktop app it still requires an Internet connection to download some elements, which can lead to a slower performance than a 100% desktop tool.

Update: We also read recently that they launched a tvOS app for the new AppleTV, making them, as far as we know, the first presentation tool to leverage the new platform.

You can find more details here.

6- SLIDEDOG

Ease of use: ★ ★ ★ - OK

Customization: Does not apply

Final result: ★ ★ - Passable

Slidedog presentation software editor

SlideDog is a nice Windows application that basically aggregate the content of a presentation and automatically plays it for you. You can import PPT files, videos, photos and even PowerPoint files and SlideDog while play them for you. While their platform provides a nice presenter tool, it lacks its own slide builder, so you are still forced to create your presentations in PowerPoint or whatever tool you choose to use.

You can find more information about them here.

7- CANVA

Ease of use: ★ ★ ★ - OK

Customization: ★ ★ ★ - OK

Final result: ★ ★ ★ ★ - Very Good!

Canva presentation software editor

The premise of Canva is an ‘amazingly easy graphic design software’. It lets you create anything from print design to banners and presentations. They provide an easy to use interface with a huge selection of pre-built designs that you can modify to your liking.

These pre-built elements let you quickly draft a nice presentation even if you have no design skills, but it does require you to drag and drop and arrange the content of your slide, which can become time consuming.

Canva has been gaining significant popularity in the last few months, especially after they hired Guy Kawasaki as a Chief Evangelist. Their platform is beautiful, you can find more about them here.

8- HAIKU DECK

Ease of use: ★ ★ ★ ★ - Very Good

Customization: ★ ★ ★ - OK

Final result: ★ ★ ★ - OK

Haiku presentation software editor

Haiku Deck launched as an iPad app in 2011. They made a big bet towards mobile productivity and came up with a solid iPad application that allowed you to create slides in less time than the then-only alternative of Keynote for iOS.

Haiku Deck has a nice set of templates that you can use as a guideline for your slides, and their content input system is clear and easy to learn.

Still, we believe their mobile only approach could only take them so far and they’ve since been working on a web version of their platform that works for any computer. As we mentioned, the personal computer continues to be a much more efficient productivity platform.

You can find more information about them here.

9- SLIDES

Ease of use: ★ ★ ★ - OK

Customization: ★ ★ ★ - OK

Final result: ★ ★ ★ - OK

slides presentation software editor

'Slides' is a nice website that lets you create and share presentations online. Formerly slides(dot)io and slid(dot)es, they finally settled for slides(dot)com. This startup was founded by Hakim El Hattab and Owen Bossola in Stockholm, Sweden, and it makes use of the reveal.js framework that we mentioned above.

Slides has a nice web interface that encourages you to create a nice and clean presentations, however, it still depends on the user’s ability to manipulate the elements and arrange them in a nice style. Still, their pre-defined formats and their grid system help guide you to a better result.

The platform also allows for custom HTML and CSS coding, which lets experienced users with coding skills, customize their templates even further.

Some more info about them here.

10- PREZI

Ease of use: ★ - Bad

Customization: ★ ★ ★ - OK

Final result: ★ ★ ★ ★ - Very Good!

Prezi presentation software editor

Prezi has been around for years and they have had a huge head start compared to any other online presentation tool out there. Their unique zoom styling makes it immediately obvious to the audience that they are looking at a Prezi deck.

Prezi has the advantage of allowing you to create really stunning presentations if you know how to leverage their zoomable, infinite canvas. However, this can become a double edge sword if users overuse the feature and come up with a presentation that is literally capable of making people dizzy.

Still, Prezi’s biggest weakness is on its ease of use. There’s a long learning curve towards dominating their interface and even if you do, you need to be a designer to make a great presentation on the platform.

This is a huge company that is not going away anytime soon. With 50+ million users, they have proven the world wants and needs a PowerPoint alternative, and we have huge respect for them for doing so.

More information about them here.

Best pitch deck presentation software

Startups have a regular need to create investor pitch decks, or to prepare demo day presentations. Creating a powerful deck is a delicate science that we've talked about before... here are some of the articles:

Related Read: What should be in a pitch deck?

Related Read: Pitch deck examples from successful startups

Dave McClure’s Startup Viagra template, as well as Guy Kawasaki’s '10 Slides you need to pitch an investor' have become worldwide standards for the best practices startups need to follow to create and present a deck. Investors are used to evaluating startups using this format of slides, and some tools have done the task of implementing their practices into their software.

More importantly, the ability to track presentation stats and find out if an investor saw through the whole presentation is significantly important for founders, because it can give them an inside track on their real interest in the company.

The following presentation tools are advertised as startup-focused, helping founders take their minds off the tedious part of building an investor deck, and allowing them to focus on what matters most: building great companies.

SLIDEBEAN

Slidebean presentation software seen on a computer

If you are a startup founder you’re familiar with the need to constantly build investor decks. Slidebean has a large focus in startups and has dozens of pre-filled decks that serve common purposes, like business proposals, investor pitch decks and investor updates.

Slidebean lets you add the content and automatically converts formats it into a finished deck, saving you hours that you’d normally spend on PowerPoint. The platform also lets you track when, how many times and how much time your investor spent viewing your slides.

Track presentation views

When dealing with sales presentations, tracking the interest of your prospect customer is key towards optimizing your efforts and resources.

The tools below have developed strong tracking algorithms to achieve precisely that. While some of them only provide tracking capabilities, Slidebean and Clearslide also provide professional a strong presentation builder.

CLEARSLIDE (SLIDEROCKET)

  • Ease of use: ★ ★ ★ - OK
  • Customization: ★ ★ ★ ★ - Very Good
  • Final result: ★ ★ - Passable
sliderocket

Clearslide has established itself as the key player in the sales presentations space. They focus on sales teams that are part medium to large businesses to optimize their presentations and their tracking.  

SLIDEBEAN

  • Ease of use: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ - Fantastic!
  • Customization: ★ ★ ★ ★ - Very Good
  • Final result: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ - Fantastic!
slidebean-insights

Slidebean lets you add the content and automatically converts formats it into a finished deck, saving you hours that you’d normally spend on PowerPoint.

In September 2015, the team launched Presentation Insights, a solid presentation tracker that lets you track when, how many times and how much time your investor spent viewing your slides.

Find more about Slidebean’s presentation tracking here.

TRY PRESENTATIONS INSIGHTS

Our final top 5

After taking into account all the variables stated on the sections above, we’ve come up with a list of the best presentation tools in the market, accounting for ease of use, flexibility and final results as main drivers, and additional features like Cloud storage, integrations, compatibility and pricing as secondary score variables.

Here we go,

1. SLIDEBEAN

  • Ease of use: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ - Fantastic!
  • Customization: ★ ★ ★ ★ - Very Good
  • Final result: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ - Fantastic!
slidebean presentation software

2. APPLE KEYNOTE

  • Ease of use: ★ ★ ★ - OK
  • Customization: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ - Fantastic!
  • Final result: ★ ★ ★ ★ - Very Good
keynote

3. CANVA

  • Ease of use: ★ ★ ★ - OK
  • Customization: ★ ★ ★ - OK
  • Final result: ★ ★ ★ ★ - Very Good!
canva

4. SLIDES

  • Ease of use: ★ ★ ★ - OK
  • Customization: ★ ★ ★ - OK
  • Final result: ★ ★ ★ - OK
slides

5. HAIKU DECK

  • Ease of use: ★ ★ ★ ★ - Very Good
  • Customization: ★ ★ ★ - OK
  • Final result: ★ ★ ★ - OK
haiku-deck

CREATE YOUR PRESENTATION