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Best Presentation Software: Which One to Use in 2022?

PowerPoint on the throne, Google Slides, Keynote and other around it

Once upon a time, not so far ago, there were only a couple of presentation tools available. PowerPoint was on the throne since the very beginning, and it still is but at least today there are many free and paid alternatives. And when I say many, I mean dozens of them!

If you are planning on using a presentation software package, it’s important to make sure that you’re getting the most for your money and time, and that’s what this article is about.

What is presentation software?

According to Technopedia, presentation software is a category of application software that is specifically designed to allow users to create a presentation of ideas by stringing together text, images, and audio/video. The presentation tells a story or supports speech or the presentation of information. The presentation program usually contains these elements:

  • Input interface (menus and menu items/options) from which you can add text boxes, bullet lists, images, videos, shapes, 3D objects, GIFs, and other multimedia, files, or headlines.
  • Slides or navigational parts of presentations in which content is grouped into meaningful means by topic. Note that in some software such as Prezi, the slides are presented as a zoom-in/out feature.
  • Themes, templates, and/or layouts are premade slides that help users to customize design, colors, arrangement of elements, fonts, etc. In some software this feature is semi-automated and powered by AI (aritificial intelligence).
  • View options from which users can switch between different views such as editor mode, present, or reading mode. Some software provides the ability to use presenter mode in which the presenter can see the next slide preview and notes.
  • Notes/comments are also another common part of the presentation software. The purpose of this part is to highlight all important things that may be useful during the presentation (such as additional text, sources, etc). It can be used for collaboration with other users as well or it can be a feature in a collaboration mode.

What makes a good presentation software in 2022?

  • Intuitiveness – good software should be easy to use and install. If it is an online application, it must load quickly. Navigation and menus must be easily accessible and understandable, including icons and secondary windows. It is very important that all functions are meaningfully organized and grouped. The most important functions must be especially emphasized. When evaluating this segment, I took into account the time it takes for the average user to master the software interface. An easily manageable and understandable interface helps the user feel more comfortable while using the software.
  • Features – are all those options in functionality that come in the software. Some programs have complex features such as editing vector shapes. This is the case e.g. with PowerPoint offering many of the same editing tools as Illustrator. This is why many use it as a light design tool. On the other hand, some programs such as Paste have simplified interfaces with limited customization options and rely on AI and smart features to organize content. Below, I presented a complete overview of the functionality of each of the analyzed programs.
  • Final outcome – regardless of the options they offer, when the moment of the presentation comes, the most important is what the audience will see – the presentation itself. Once you start the slideshow mode, the magic starts to happen, or not. This will of course largely depend on the level of effort and time you put in, but it also depends to some extent on the software architecture of the program you used. For example, if the software ‘sells’ simplicity and easiness as its main advantage, it is likely that the design of the presentation will be simplified as well.
  • Price – in the end, we have a factor that we must not neglect – the price. Some of the presentation software are free, some have free plans, and you have to pay for additional features. Prices for each of the software will be analyzed below.

What is the best presentation software in 2022?

Let’s take a look at some of the best presentation software in 2022:

1. PowerPoint

PowerPoint by Microsoft, my rating: 4.5
PowerPoint is the most popular presentation software

Microsoft’s PowerPoint is the market leader when it comes to presentation software. The iconic layout that includes slides and sidebar view for navigation has become standard. Many other companies found inspiration or rather copied this interface. PowerPoint has come a long way over the years. Some of the new options that you can find in the latest versions of this software include the Designer and Ideas tool that suggests different designs for your presentation, depending on the topic you are presenting. One of the amazing new possibilities is adding 3D objects such as animals, toys, plants, and other objects from the rich library. Furthermore, Microsoft developed the Presenter Coach which allows you to practice your speech and get recommendations on pacing, word choice, and more through the power of AI.

My review

  • Intuitiveness – 5/5
  • Features – 5/5
  • Final outcome – 5/5
  • Price – 3/5
  • Overall – 4.5

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Widely used
  • Rich customization options
  • Cool new features such as 3D and Designer
  • Presenter view
  • A lot of free & paid templates are available

Cons

  • Price – you will have to buy it alone or as part of the Microsoft 365 Suite
  • It may crash sometimes, happily there is recovery mode that can save your work
  • Death by PowerPoint – some people find it outdated and boring but it really depends on how you create your presentation
  • Can affect reputation if not used correctly
  • File may be too heavy for email unless you compress it

2. Google Slides

Google Slides presentation tool, my rating: 4.3
Google Slides is a powerfull free alternative to PowerPoint

Google Slides is a well-known cloud-based presentation software service designed for business professionals and educators. It has a limited selection of templates, but it allows you to build your own presentation from scratch. Unlike many other tools, Google’s presentation tool is free. It also allows you to publish your presentation online or broadcast it live, so you can engage with your audience while they are listening to it. You can import images, video, and audio from Google Drive.

Although it is free and has most of the options offered by PowerPoint, Google slide is lacking in some options offered by competitors. Customization and design options are not as advanced.

My review

  • Intuitiveness – 4/5
  • Features – 4/5
  • Final outcome – 4/5
  • Price – 5/5
  • Overall – 4.3

Pros

  • Collaboration – easy to use, real-time editing and commenting
  • Free
  • Web-based and native to other Google apps
  • Cloud-based solution means it’s harder to lose your work
  • It’s becoming better every year

Cons

  • Lack of advanced customization options
  • Fewer choices (effects, animations, design)
  • Complicated interface
  • You need a Gmail account to use it
  • Fewer templates (thankfully, on our website you can find a lot of Google Slides templates)

3. Keynote

Keynote presentation maker, my rating: 4.0
Keynote – Apple’s presentation tool

Keynote is Apple’s presentation tool. It comes free on all MacBooks and other Apple devices but you can also install it from the AppStore. Apple states that it is a simple, intuitive application that puts important tools in the front and center, so everyone on your team can easily contribute to a perfect presentation. You can create slideshows that include images, text, and charts, and you can select themes, fonts, styles, transitions, and animation from a range of options. You are even able to use your Apple Pencil on your iPad to create diagrams or illustrations directly in the presentation. Apple has also enabled cross-device real-time collaboration for Mac, iPad, iPhone, and PC users. Here you can always check what is new in Keynote.

My review

  • Intuitiveness – 3/5
  • Features – 4/5
  • Final outcome – 4/5
  • Price – 5/5
  • Overall – 4.0

Pros

  • Collaboration – cross-device collaboration
  • Free for Apple users
  • Easy to use (for Apple users)
  • There are plenty of free templates available
  • Regularly updated

Cons

  • No application for Windows although you can use a browser-based version for collaboration
  • Hard to switch for users who have used PowerPoint before
  • Fewer customization options compared to PowerPoint
  • Some elements such as diagrams imported from PowerPoint won’t work
  • Fewer export options

4. Prezi

Prezi interface, my rating: 4.0
The most innovative presentation tool – Prezi

Prezi is a Hungarian company and claims to be the presentation software that uses motion, zoom, and spatial relationships to bring your ideas to life and make you a great presenter. When Prezi appeared in 2009, it was a real small revolution in the world of presentations. Prezi offered something completely new and moved away from presenting through slides. Exciting transitions through movements between different segments of the big screen, and zooming in and out on open canvas were something unprecedented. You felt like you were creating a mini-universe rather than a presentation. Of course, you could easily get the audience’s attention because it was something completely different and new.

However, the initial excitement quickly died down after a few years and Prezi failed to dethrone the king, although at one point it seriously shook his position. Today, Prezi is more than a presentation software. They have three main products Prezi Video, Prezi Present and Prezi Design. If you want to create a stunning presentation and use cool innovative features such as smart structures, zoom reveal, or presenting over the video, you must try Prezi. What is one of the coolest options is that you can actually transform your PowerPoint slides into Prezi. There are many templates and even reusable presentations available.

Furthermore, we must mention that the free basic version has many limitations. For example, you can create only up to 5 projects. The cheapest paid version is $3 per month but if you want to make it portable and available offline (Prezi is a web-based application), you will have to pay $12 per month.

My review

  • Intuitiveness – 5/5
  • Features – 5/5
  • Final outcome – 4/5
  • Price – 4/5
  • Overall – 4.5

Pros

  • Smart branding & structures
  • Uniqueness and beautiful design
  • Awesome present over video option
  • Reusable presentations and PowerPoint upload
  • Analytics – you can track your users’ behavior
  • It’s getting better and better

Cons

  • You will need some time to switch from traditional presentation software
  • Free plan limitations
  • Non-linear navigation – can be confusing for new users

5. Canva

Canva presentation maker, my rating: 4.3
Canva – a very popular online presentation builder and design tool

Canva is an Australian graphic design platform that started as a tool for designing social media images. However, soon it became very popular and powerful design application, used to create not only social media graphics but also presentations, posters, documents, and other content. Here, we are going to talk about presentations that are created with Canva. The concept is well-known, you choose between many available templates which fit your topic the best. Then, you add your own branding by editing the color palette. The structure of the presentation is organized in classical pages (slides). It is very similar to most other presentation software and you won’t need a lot of time to learn how to use it.

Moreover, there are many cool features such as a huge library of free and premium graphics, stickers, icons, images, videos, fonts, frames, and other design elements. Collaboration is really easy on Canva, you can add individuals as collaborators but also share your project with a group of people. Canva also allows you to share it in a native web-based format or to download it as PDF, video, and other formats. Probably, the coolest thing about Canva is the fact that you can publish your presentation as a beautiful, responsive website in just a few clicks.

While all these options are so cool, Canva has to make money somehow. They do this by selling Pro Plans. Canva Pro ($120 per year) will get you 100+ million premium stock graphics, unlimited features, and even 1TB of cloud storage (compared to 5GB in the free plan).

My review

  • Intuitiveness – 5/5
  • Features – 4/5
  • Final outcome – 5/5
  • Price – 3/5
  • Overall – 4.3

Pros

  • Millions of assets in the library
  • A lot of cool features in the free version
  • You can share it even as a responsive website
  • Collaboration friendly
  • Insights – you can see how many people watched your presentation

Cons

  • Templates are centralized and therefore some of the designs are overused (you can see them over and over again)
  • Free plan limitations – you have to pay for some cool features
  • You may lose your account and therefore your presentations as there is no local storage

6. Paste

Paste by wetransfer, my rating: 4.0
Paste – a solution for those who prefer simplicity

Paste is a presentation software created by the well-known file-sharing giant wetransfer. It’s simple and can save you a lot of time. Creators of this software say that Paste gives you everything you need (and nothing you don’t) to make beautiful slides. And, it is true indeed. If you need a simple pitch deck, or just want to create a nice mood board, this is great software. Just insert your files, images, links, and Paste will automatically arrange them into beautiful slides. The auto color option will instantly match your content for a seamless look.

In Paste, you can manually choose between numerous layouts that are inspired by the modular compartments of Japanese lunch boxes. The application allows you to wrap your images and videos in mockups in which you can even scroll through content – a great feature for app and web developers. 

Moreover, everything in Paste is simplified. For example, if you are about to choose font size, there are three options: large for headlines, medium for subheadlines, and small for descriptions. Adding a text? You just click and start typing, you don’t even have to add any text boxes in Paste. Branding your presentation? Just add colors once and the design of the whole presentation will adjust. If you hate formatting and templates, Paste might be the perfect solution for you.

The free version allows you to add up to 3 decks with the default Paste logo. If you need more (unlimited decks and your own branding), you will have to purchase wetransfer premium plan starting at $23/month, twice the price you will pay for Prezi or Canva.

My review

  • Intuitiveness – 5/5
  • Features – 4/5
  • Final outcome – 5/5
  • Price – 2/5
  • Overall – 4.0

Pros

  • Simplicity
  • Easy to use
  • Mockups
  • Collaboration friendly
  • Slack integration

Cons

  • Over-simplified designs – yes, sometimes it can be both, pro and con at the same time, depending on your needs
  • Price – the premium plan is too expensive and you cannot just pay for Paste, you have to purchase the premium wetransfer plan

7. Beautiful.ai

Beautiful.ai smart presentation software, my rating: 4.0
Beautiful.ai – the smartest presentation software

Beautiful.ai is presentation software that designs for you. Obviously, it uses AI (artificial intelligence) to design slide decks with your content. Similarly, to what Paste does, it automates the formatting process and saves you a lot of time. Branding is easy with a built-in option that will add a logo and adjust color and fonts on all slides.  It results in consistency and unique brand storytelling.

Beautiful.ai provides you with a lot of templates and customizable themes so you don’t have to start from scratch. There are many smart features such as a searchable slide library, secured sharing and collaboration, an analytics dashboard, automatic slide animations and many more. It is a great solution for presenters with zero design experience who still want to deliver professional and beautiful presentations. All these cool features come at a reasonable price starting at $12/month and you can try them for free. Interestingly, there is no free plan like most competitors have but there is a plan for ad hoc projects which will cost you $45/project.

My review

  • Intuitiveness – 5/5
  • Features – 4/5
  • Final outcome – 4/5
  • Price – 3/5
  • Overall – 4.0

Pros

  • A built-in AI designer will save your time and help you create appealing slides
  • Simplicity and automated formatting
  • Brand control
  • Cloud-based solution
  • Easy collaboration

Cons

  • There is no free plan
  • A limited number of templates
  • You are limited on how much and what type of content you can add to each slide
  • You can’t edit a presentation after export
  • There is no integration with Google Slides although you can export it as a PowerPoint

Honorable mentions

So far, I have presented 7 popular presentation tools but there are many more. So, here are some honorable mentions:

Visme is presentation software that allows you to build presentations online. You can use it on your computer or download its official app. Its easy-to-use interface is similar to PowerPoint, but it has simplified the UI, so you can easily navigate it. The site has over 100 different templates to choose from, and you can even customize the colors and layouts of your slides. You can share your finished presentation online or download it to your computer and share it with your audience.

Ludus is easy-to-use presentation software that can handle all types of presentations. The tool has an intuitive interface and provides a black screen that can be customized. The platform supports a variety of formats and can import almost any type of content. If you’re a beginner, you can build a presentation in a matter of minutes using a free plan. Its limitations include a lack of templates, but Ludus has plenty of other features that make it a useful choice for a professional presentation.

Slides.com is another web-based presentation software. It comes with a modern editor where you can also add your company’s branding assets and themes, a media library with stock images, videos, and slide templates. Collaboration with other users is also easy with the built-in feedback and comments. The greatest advantage of Slides is the fact that it is the only presentation tool with a fully open-source format. For regular users, it doesn’t mean much but if you are a developer this is awesome. It means you can access your presentation’s full source code, customize it using CSS, export a copy and present offline, or even store it on your own web host.

Slidebean’s “Pitch Deck Builder” is presentation software that focuses on pitch decks. Their web-based solution offers tools that you need to build your pitch deck, set up your company, and start gaining traction. There is even a team of experts who will help you write and design your pitch deck, and build the financial model for your startup. If you are a startup company this might be the best presentation software solution for you.

Zoho Show is probably the best free alternative to PowerPoint. Zoho Show lets users create, edit, share, collaborate and deliver presentations from anywhere. The only thing you need is to register with an email address. It has a familiar interface and has improved a lot in the past few years.

Comparison Table

So, what presentation software do you choose? We presented you all major presentation software out there and now it’s up to you to pick the one that fit your needs and wallet. If you are still not sure here is a small comparison in a table view:

SoftwareIn a few wordsMy ratingPrice (starting at) – per monthPrice (for full version) – per month
PreziSo cool4.5Free$16
PowerPointStill the king4.5$7$7
Google SlidesA nice free alternative4.3FreeFree
CanvaYour presentation can be a website too4.3Free$13
SlidebeanOptimized for startups4.2Free$29
ZOHO ShowProbably the best free alternative to PowerPoint4.2FreeFree
LudusA presentation tool designers will love4.2$12$15
KeynoteOk (and free) for Mac users4.0FreeFree
PasteAlmost everything you need and nothing you don’t4.0Free$19
Beautiful.aiLet AI do (some) work for you4.0$12$50
VismeAnother web-based application3.9Free$59
Slides.comThe best presentation tool for developers3.9Free$10
Overview of the best presentation software in 2022

You can now move on to creating a professional-quality presentation. Let us what do you think in the comment section.

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