Powerpoint is no longer the only option to consider when you need to create a presentation. Apple’s Keynote and Google Slides are solid contenders and deserve a look as well.
Most people are familiar with Powerpoint. It’s been the standard for creating presentation decks for a loooong time. In its reign as king, however, it has also developed a stodgy reputation. This might not be totally deserved, it’s a poor craftsman that blames his tools after all. Long time Powerpoint users tend to get stuck in their ways and don’t adopt new features as they are rolled out, and create lazy presentations that tend to be a bit stale. The truth is, Powerpoint’s built in effects and simple customization make it easy to see why it remains a workhorse. The main downsides are that it is difficult to collaborate with others in Powerpoint. and, while there is a version for Macs, to take full advantage of its features, you need to use a PC.
When Keynote was released, it emerged as a credible alternative to Powerpoint. While lacking the sheer firepower of Powerpoint, true to Apple’s design philosophy, Keynote is intuitive and easy to learn. Since it is tightly integrated with Apple products, Keynote works great on your iMac, iPad and iPhone. If you store your presentation on iCloud, it is always available to your devices as well as anyone you choose to collaborate with. There are downsides however. Keynote can only be used on Apple devices, so it’s not an option for PC users. Keynote files can be exported for use as Powerpoint files, but results can vary.
The newest contender, which has been widely adopted by younger workers, is Google Slides. Like everything in the Google universe, Slides is completely cloud based. No matter where you are, or the device that you’re using, if you have a Google account you can work in Slides — for free. Google Slides is built for collaboration allowing multiple users to work on a presentation at the same time. Slides doesn’t yet offer the same palette of effects as Powerpoint or Keynote, but does offer several innovative interactive features that can’t be found elsewhere.
The choice between these options doesn’t come down to which is the best all-around pick for creating presentations, but rather which best suits your needs for a given project. If you prefer to stay with the tried and true, amazing things can be created in Powerpoint. When ease-of-use is important and a slightly fewer features is not a concern, you can amaze people with your Keynote creations. For collaborative teams that work in separate locations, decks created in Google Slides can set you apart from the competition.