Presentation Software

InDesign

purchased with Adobe CC – desktop-based

InDesign is one of the flagships of the Adobe Creative Cloud, short Adobe CC software package. It is very popular with graphic designers and the likes. InDesign is a great tool for creating interactive, elegant and design-conscious presentations. It requires some fundamental software skills and the initial learning curve is steep. The product that awaits you at the end is worth the learning.

InDesign tutorials:

http://borishoekmeijer.nl/how-to-make-a-presentation-slideshow-using-indesign/

https://smpshtx.wordpress.com/2013/06/19/design-your-next-slideshow-presentation-with-indesign/

https://indesignsecrets.com/resources/indesign-templates

http://graphicriver.net/tags/indesign

Prezi

free – cloud-based

Prezi is cloud-based and a free version is fully functional. Prezi has become quite popular in recent years, as it is very different to slide-based presentations. Prezi uses ‘motion, zoom, and spatial relationships to bring your ideas to life and make you a great presenter.’ Prezi.com

It is a different animal and can leave a lasting impression for your presentation. Make sure to keep the motion and zooming to a minimum or it detracts from the content.

Example of popular prezi presentations (short: prezis)

Google Slides

free – cloud-based

Google Slides is a powerful online presentation tool that is easy to share with other users and can be easily collaborated on. The features are broad and growing. I enjoy using it more and more. It is very versatile and reads many formats and can be saved in various formats as well.

It is surprisingly easy to use and presentations are saved automatically on Google Drive. You will not regret switching to Google Slides.
Get inspired with: Ditch That Textbook’s 10 Google Slides activities to add ‘awesome’ to classes

Emaze

free – cloud-based

Emaze is cloud-based and has a free version as well as 2 commercial plans (pro and business).
Sample Emaze presentation.

Keynote

free with MAC computers – desktop-based

The queen of presentation tools. Keynote sets accents and has been one of the more sophisticated presentation tools for the past few years. It is a Mac-based presentation tool and not compatible for Windows users. The presentations are elegant and outshine its counterpart PowerPoint. This is one of the first choices for most graphically conscious users. Presentations can be saved as PDF to be viewed on Windows PCs. Sometimes the layout has been altered unintentionally leading to underwhelming results when viewing PDFs of Keynote on Windows.

Keynote Templates

Canva

free – cloud-based

A fun and easy to use and learn alternative to other presentation software is Canva. Canva is cloud-based and available as an app. It has a free version and allows you to upload and include your own graphics and photographs. It has a extensive gallery of backgrounds and stock images, most are available for a small purchase ($1), but in a world of apps and cheapskates you can opt for the free graphics that Canva offers.

Presentations can be saved and viewed online. Alternatively, they can be exported as PDF or PDF for print. Images can be created in Canva as well and saved as PNG or JPEG.

A really cool feature of Canva is their Canva Design School Blog. Read on Canva Design School: Presentation Design 101: How to build presentations that really engage
See 15 Elegant Examples.

Haiku Deck on iPad

free – app for iPad and iPhone

Haiku Deck is an easy to use presentation app that allows the user to create elegant presentations.
Examples of popular Haiku Deck presentations

PowerPoint

purchased with Microsoft Office – often installed on Windows PCs – desktop-based

PowerPoint is one of the most underestimated presentation tools. This is because most users create very boring presentations in PowerPoint. A lot of teachers bore students with weekly PowerPoint presentations. The software itself is fine and allows you to create engaging presentations. Presenters need to keep it simple and they will rediscover PowerPoint.

Microsoft offers many additional templates for free (Templates for PowerPoint) and there are outstanding templates available for purchase, read tripwire magazine’s 15+ Outstanding PowerPoint Templates. You can even create your own template from scratch.

Read also: HubSpot’s How to Create the Best Powerpoint Presentations, With Examples.

Google Image Search for minimal PowerPoint presentation templates. This is just for inspiration.
Google Image Search for minimal PowerPoint presentation templates.

Other presentation software packages

Have you heard of Snatch? What other presentation packages do you use? Let me know in the comments.

Read as well

Canva has a great post on presentation skills by Rebecca Gross: How to design a pitch deck that makes investors say “YES”. It has some tips I had not seen before. A useful display tool is to compare competitors with an XY graph. This is a very visual tool and will force you to understand their main differences and allow you to categorise them in more detail. See the graph below to clarify or read the post at the link above.

XY Graph Competitor Comparison showing a number of accommodation sites comparing them by affordability and form of transaction (online vs offline).
Excellent tool to compare businesses in a meaningful way – found at Canva Learn, post by Rebecca Gross

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