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Best presentation software of 2021

Best presentation software
(Image credit: Pixabay)
PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID

The best presentation software makes it simple and easy to create, manage, and share slideshow presentations.

The best presentation software

Click the links below to go to the provider's website:

 

1. PowerPoint

2. CustomShow

3. ClearSlide

4. Haiku Deck

5. SlideDog

6. Prezi 

This is important, because presentation software is at the heart of business sales, management, and development. The need to share ideas, concepts, working practices, and workflows can be an essential part of a department, and the ability to present these in a simple and understandable way is essential.

However, while presentation software has been traditionally limited to text and images, it has widened its ability to work with different media such as video and audio. 

Therefore it's important for the best presentation software to not simply be easy and simple to use, but also be able to support these additional media so that presentations can be more engaging, lively, and ultimately serve their purpose in educating and updating their intended audience.

There are a lot of different presentation software platforms around, but the range can be confusing. Here we've therefore listed the best presentation software currently on the market, from paid-for, subscription, and even free platforms.

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The best office software in the world is: Microsoft 365
There are many different office software suites out there, but Microsoft Office remains the original and best, offering an unsurpassed range of features and functionality that rivals just can't match.

Even better, Microsoft 365 - previously branded as Office 365 - is a cloud-based solution which means you can use it on any computer, mobile device, or smartphone, without having to worry about compatibility. All your files are saved in the cloud and synced between devices, so you can begin work on a document at home or in the office, then continue working on it on the go.

You can sign up to Microsoft 365 here.

(Image credit: Microsoft)

1. PowerPoint

The original and best presentation software

Reasons to buy
+Familiar interface+Market leader+Original and best+Free apps

For most people, Microsoft's PowerPoint remains the original and best of all the presentation software platforms out there. While other companies have managed to catch up and offer rival products worthy of consideration, the fact is that PowerPoint's familiar interface and ubiquitous availability means it remains a favorite for the majority of people.

On the one hand, it's long been a staple of the hugely popular Microsoft Office suite, meaning that for most users this is going to be the first - and last - presentation software they are going to need to use.

Additionally, Microsoft have made PowerPoint, along with their other office products, available as free apps (with limited functionality) on both iOS and Android for mobile use, meaning it's even harder to avoid them. And this is before we even consider the inclusion of PowerPoint in Microsoft's cloud-based Microsoft 365.

It does everything necessary that you'd expect of presentation software, allowing you to add text and media to a series of slides, to accompany a talk and other presentations. There are easy to use templates included to help spice things up a little, but even a general user with little experience of it are likely to find themselves able to use PowerPoint without much trouble at all.

Overall, it's hard to go wrong with PowerPoint, and although Microsoft 365 has a nominal cost, the apps are free to use even if they do have more limited functionality.

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(Image credit: CustomShow)

2. CustomShow

Presentations that put branding first

Reasons to buy
+Handy analytics+Can import PowerPoint files
Reasons to avoid
-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 customized, 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, and it's used by major companies such as HBO and CBS Interactive.

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(Image credit: ClearSlide)

3. ClearSlide

A marketing and sales dream

Reasons to buy
+Personalized tools for sales teams+Tons of features+More than just presentations

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), not least through a range of analytics and metrics to work for sales and marketing.

With the product, you can upload a range of files, including PowerPoint, Keynote, PDF and Excel. ClearSlide is integrated with other platforms, including Google Drive, Dropbox and Salesforce.

This system is pretty complex and may offer too many irrelevant features for some businesses, but you can create customized 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.

The real strength of ClearSlide comes from its focus on sales and marketing data, not least being able to track user engagement alongside other metrics.

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(Image credit: Haiku Deck)

4. Haiku Deck

Offers a ton of customisable themes

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

Any presentation app will allow you to personalize 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 collection.

When it comes to creating a presentation, you have the option to do so on the web, which means your presentation is accessible across the range of mobile devices as well as desktops. 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 customization options is that they’re categorized 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.

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(Image credit: SlideDog)

5. SlideDog

Media-rich presentation maker

Reasons to buy
+Works with a huge range of media+Drag-and-drop simplicity+Livestream a presentation to any device with a browser
Reasons to avoid
-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, avoiding the ‘cookie cutter’ look that makes presentations seem dull.

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.

SlideDog is probably the cheapest of the presentation software featured, with a free account that will cover the essential features. However, for live sharing and premium support you need to upgrade.

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(Image credit: Prezi )

6. Prezi

A unique presentation experience

Reasons to buy
+Create interactive presentations+Highly visual, HD experience+Allows customization on-the-fly

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 with the goal of “emphasizing the relationship between the ideas”.

Presentations can also be tailored to the specific audience, as this is a flexible platform that’s capable of skipping ahead, or veering off into a side topic, without having to flip through all the slides to get to a particular bit.

For business users, there are a variety of handy tools available. By downloading Prezi , 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.

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Other presentation software to consider

Google Slides is part of the Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) office platform intended as an online alternative to Microsoft Office. It may seem a little limited by comparison to PowerPoint, but as it's browser-based that means cross-platform compatibility. Additionally, it allows for collaborative work, and Google Slides really works well here. On top of the fact that it integrates with the rest of the Google Workspace apps, not least Google Drive, and you have a contender. Read our full Google Slides review.

Zoho Show is another of the many, many tools and apps that Zoho have made available for business use. It also operates in the cloud so it's accessible to any device with a browser, and it also allows for collaborative work. You can also easily share the link for users to download, or provide a live presentation online. The updated version has a simpler and easier to use interface, and comes with a free version and a paid-for one with expanded features.

Slides comes with a lot of features in an easy to use interface, and involves setting up presentations using drag and drop into an existing grid. It's also internet-based so there's no software to download, and it only requires a browser to use and access. 

Evernote is normally thought of as just note-taking software, but it does provide the option to create a presentation you can share online or with an audience. In that regard it's a little more limited than the other options in not being dedicated presentation software. However, as an easy and handy way to pull together a presentation quickly it could serve as a back-up or last-minute option, especially if Evernote is already being commonly used by you.

LibreOffice Impress is part of the open-source suite offered as a free alternative to Microsoft Office, and comes with a powerful array of tool and editing options for your presentation, not least working with 3D images. It's supported by a large community, so its easy to find an array of additional templates. If there is a limitation it's that it's software you download and install rather than web-based, but any presentations created should be easily portable to the web if needed.

Adobe Spark does things a bit differently, as rather than just use images its geared toward video as well. This makes for potentially more powerful multimedia presentations, especially as Adobe also have a big selection of photos and images available for its users. There is a free tier for core features, but requires a subscription for custom branding, personalized themes, and support.