Windows users don't have a lot of choices when it comes to creating presentations, but PowerPoint has all the features you need for putting together a great presentation.
- Create attractive presentations instantly using a number of pre-built themes
- Create 2D and 3D charts
- Add dynamic 3D slide transitions and realistic animation effects
- Embed images and videos in your presentations, even remote ones -- like videos from YouTube
- Edit images and videos right from PowerPoint
- Compress media inside your presentation for smaller file size
- Create a video of your presentation for broadcast to anyone, anywhere, even if they don't have PowerPoint installed.
- Collaborate with others on the same presentation in real time even from different locations.
PowerPoint is simply the most feature-filled presentation app out there for Windows. Most others don't even come close, given its built-in photo editing, media compression, and collaboration features which allow you to work on your project from anywhere. It also makes the most attractive presentations of any of its competitors, which is important when you need to make a splash with your presentation. And, with the foundation of Microsoft Office, it's pretty easy to add charts from Microsoft Excel rather than try to create them in some unknown program. It's not necessarily that PowerPoint is amazing; it's just that no other Windows counterpart comes close.
As with all Microsoft Office programs, you have to deal with the $200+ price tag and slow installation that comes with a program like PowerPoint. It could also be faster, but at this point, it's no slower than the competition, so it's hard to complain. Similarly, while its photo and video editing tools could be more advanced, it's unreasonable to expect them to be as advanced as dedicated photo and video editing tools. If you have a lot of editing to do, you won't be able to do it with PowerPoint, but for more basic video trimming and image adjustments, it's nice to not have to open up another program.
As always the main competition for Microsoft Office is the free LibreOffice Impress. LibreOffice's big advantage is that you don't need to pay, and while your presentations will not be nearly as good-looking or easy to craft as they would in PowerPoint, if you rarely create them, it's easier to justify a $0 cost. Also keep in mind that while LibreOffice can open PowerPoint files, it rarely does it perfectly, so if you're looking for compatibility you're better off getting the real deal.
Your other free choice is Google Docs. Again, it isn't nearly as advanced as PowerPoint, but it does have advantages. Its collaboration features, for instance, are much easier to use than PowerPoint's. You don't need a Windows Live or SharePoint account; you just jump in and start editing with your Google account. It also has very easy video embedding from things like YouTube. It is, however, more basic, and you don't have quite as many themes to choose from (not to mention the complete lack of transitions). Still, for simple presentations on which collaboration is necessary, it could be worth a look.
We didn't find very many presentation apps beyond the staple office suites, so if you know of a hidden gem that's worth a look, be sure to let us know in the comments.
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