Top 5 best presentation software of 2017

Make a real impression with these top presentation tools

If there’s one type of software that’s been around for decades, it’s presentation packages. Systems for creating and displaying professional-grade slides have been available since the 1980s, and they’ve become a standard in the business world.

Of course, presentation software has come a long way since then, and modern apps give users the ability to create, edit, format and present some pretty stunning slideshows capable of really wowing an audience.

A good presentation program will provide you with all the tools you need to generate and manipulate graphics, and the main aim is that users are able to present their ideas effectively to other people – and do so with pizzazz.

There’s nothing worse than having to sit through a mundane, or possibly even boring presentation. Fortunately, these apps generally include stock themes and easy ways of personalising slides to make them interesting and attractive.

Microsoft PowerPoint is the most notable presentation software, of course, but it’s been covered to the nth degree (if you want to read up on it, check out our Office 365 review). You will, naturally, do fine with PowerPoint, but there are plenty of other great options out there – and here are five of the best.

1. CustomShow

Presentations that put branding first

Platforms: Desktop | Features: Slide library, analytics, import/export | Integrations: SalesForce | Free trial: Demo available

Handy analytics
Can import PowerPoint files
Purely a brand platform
Demo, but no free trial

Branding says a lot about a business, and it’s something firms need to get right from day one – from a good logo to a suitable font. CustomShow is business presentation software that puts all these elements of branding first.

Using the system, you can design and present customised, branded presentations that reflect your company and the products you offer, featuring the aforementioned logo and custom fonts. As well as this, you get a slide library and analytics to ensure your presentations are a success.

What’s more, you can import presentations into the software, and use it to tweak them further. There’s also integration with SalesForce, and because the platform is cloud-based, you can access your presentations on computers, tablets and smartphones. Considering the focus on branding, this offering could be good for marketing and sales teams.

2. ClearSlide

A marketing and sales dream

Platforms: Desktop | Features: Online meetings, analytics, import/export | Integrations: SalesForce | Free trial: Yes

Personalised tools for sales teams
Tons of features (beyond presentations, as well)
It may be too broad for some 

Just like CustomShow, ClearSlide has a niche focus for companies. The platform is targeted at firms looking to generate successful marketing campaigns, pushing sales via presentations (and more).

The firm bought SlideRocket a few years ago and has integrated its presentation might into a wider sales engagement platform. With the product, you can upload a range of files, including PowerPoint, Keynote, PDF and Excel. 

This system is pretty complex and may offer too many irrelevant features for some businesses, but you can create customised content that reflects your company and the message you’re trying to get out to customers. There are also some good metrics and analysis features, and you can sign up for a free trial before making any decisions.

3. Haiku Deck

Offers a ton of customisable themes

Platforms: Web, iPhone, iPad | Features: Theme gallery, image bank | Integrations: No | Free trial: Yes

Access to millions of stock images
Tons of smart themes
Not as well-featured as some rivals

Any presentation app will allow you to personalise your slides to at least some extent, but Haiku Deck goes one step further than the competition. It comes with a wide range of themes suited to different needs, and you also get access to 40 million free images from the Creative Commons.

When it comes to creating a presentation, you have the option to do so on the web, iPad or iPhone. Regardless of the device used, you’re able to select from a variety of different fonts, layouts and filters to make the perfect presentation.

The great thing about these various customisation options is that they’re categorised into different industries and use-cases. For instance, you’ll find themes for teaching, cooking, real-estate and startups. Most of the features require you to be online, but hopefully you’ll have a sturdy net connection wherever you go.

4. SlideDog

Media-rich presentation maker

Platforms: Web, tablet, smartphone | Features: Playlists | Integrations: No | Free trial: No

Works with a huge range of media
Drag-and-drop simplicity
 Will be too basic for some

It’s all too easy to end up creating a presentation that’s unappealing, and the last thing you want to do is make the audience fall asleep. SlideDog lets you combine almost any type of media to create a rich presentation that’s sure to keep the viewers’ peepers open.

Marketed as a web-based multimedia presentation tool, it gives you the ability to combine PowerPoint presentations, graphics, PDF files, Prezi presentations, web pages, pictures, videos and movie clips. You can drag these into custom playlists and display them to your audience with ease.

You’re able to remotely control your presentations and playlists from your smartphone, the web or a secondary computer, and there’s also the option to share slides in real-time. Audience members can even view your slide from their own devices by clicking a link. That’s a handy feature if you’re looking to create an immersive presentation experience.

5. Prezi Business

A unique presentation experience

Platforms: Windows, Mac | Features: Live HD presentations | Integrations: No | Free trial: Demo available

Create interactive presentations
Highly visual, HD experience
Some people will prefer slide formats

Prezi is one of the more unique presentation tools. Instead of presenting your graphics and text in a slide-to-slide format, you can create highly visual and interactive presentation canvases.

For business users, there are a variety of handy tools available. By downloading Prezi Business, you can build and edit presentations with your colleagues in real-time, which is perfect for companies with teams based around the globe.

When you have created a presentation you’re happy with, you can present it live (in HD) and send a direct link to viewers. There are some analysis tools here, too – you can see who’s accessed your presentation, which parts of it, and for how long. The app is available for Mac and Windows devices.