It’s no secret that Microsoft PowerPoint is one of the most popular programs for creating presentations. The first version of this application was created in 1987 and was originally available for Macintosh users. Since then it has significantly evolved but its most important features have always remained intact.
In this article, we have put together some free PowerPoint alternatives that you can use to create presentations for different purposes. They generally have similar functions and sometimes offer even additional ones. The idea of this list is not to make Microsoft’s program look bad. Instead, we want you to have more affordable options that you may find useful when creating a presentation.
When it comes to choosing a free alternative to any Microsoft Office product, the most obvious option is LibreOffice. It’s a free open-source office suite and a successor to the OpenOffice.org project (commonly known as OpenOffice). Distributed under the terms of GNU GPL v3 (GNU Lesser General Public License), LibreOffice includes several applications, among which Impress is used to make presentations.
The main differences between PowerPoint and Impress are limited to small details, such as the ability to export presentations in video formats or to use animated diagrams. The same is true for the program’s interface, which is very clear, whereas PowerPoint is based on the familiar toolbar. In terms of the basic functionality, Impress is a worthy alternative to the Microsoft Office application.
In addition to designing drawings and diagrams, the software allows you to convert text into 2D or 3D images and export to XHTML, HTML, Flash (SWF) and the SVG and EPS vector formats. There are also different editing and view modes: Normal (for general editing), Outline (for organizing and outlining your text content), Notes (for viewing and editing the notes attached to a slide), Handout (for producing paper-based material) and Slide Sorter (for a thumbnail sheet view that lets you quickly locate and order your slides).
In a nutshell, the shortcomings of this alternative to PowerPoint will go unnoticed by the vast majority of users, who can continue to design and present attractive, high-quality content.
Prezi is a relatively new application that has been gradually gaining more and more users due to its ease of use, its online version and, above all, a collection of free templates. Unlike PowerPoint, Prezi doesn’t use the traditional approach to presentations. Instead of creating a presentation slide by slide, this software offers a single giant canvas allowing you to add blocks of text or images or even create thumbnail slides. You can also navigate seamlessly across the canvas and zoom in to view individual pieces of content.
At the same time, Prezi is incredibly easy to use. The only major difference from PowerPoint is that you must add animated paths from one part of the drawing area to the other. The tools for this are fairly simple, especially if you have used video editing or animation software in the past.
Of course, this type of presentation structure is not always ideal. Prezi makes the visualization of structured data pretty complex, so you might find it difficult to use in a business environment. Other users may not even appreciate the animation style in this presentation software.
Created by a team of Chinese developers from Kingsoft, the WPS Office Suite is very similar to Microsoft Office and fully compatible with PowerPoint files without any layout issues when importing. The WPS presentation tool has the same features as the Microsoft application, including plenty of animations, slide transitions, content effects and video embedding. The set of default presentation templates is also impressive for free software like that.
One of the best things about this presentation software is that the user interface is incredibly familiar if you’re a Microsoft Office fan. All the tools are displayed in the top ribbon, with slides on the left side of the screen for easy navigation. You can view your presentation directly from WPS Presentation, which means you won’t have any unexpected problems when it’s time to show your work.
The app is free but has a serious drawback: you can only use it with ads or buy a subscription to get rid of them completely. These ads usually last 15 to 20 seconds. They are not too disturbing and will only appear when you want to print, save or use some advanced features. After an ad preview, no other ads will appear for another 30 minutes.
FreeOffice is a proprietary office suite developed by SoftMaker Software GmbH, Germany. The software traditionally includes a document processor, a spreadsheet tool and a presentation application. FreeOffice Presentations allows you to use breathtaking animations and slide transitions to create visually attractive content.
When it comes to the core functionality, FreeOffice Presentations offers a wide variety of design and drawing functions: inserting images, drawings and text frames, applying attractive type effects and using various design templates.
If you want to move away from the Microsoft software and are looking for a simple PowerPoint clone, FreeOffice Presentations is an excellent choice. It opens and saves all PPT and PPTX files and lets you create PDF files directly from within the application.
The only serious drawback is the absence of many advanced features in the free version. To edit presentations professionally, you need to buy a permanent license or upgrade to a temporary subscription.
Like LibreOffice, ONLYOFFICE is an open-source software tool distributed under the terms of GNU GPL v3. It’s an online office suite created and developed by Ascensio System SIA, Latvia. The desktop version is available for free on Windows, Linux, and macOS.
ONLYOFFICE Presentation Editor is natively compatible with Microsoft PowerPoint format (PPTX) and also works pretty well with PPT and ODP files. The program’s interface looks professional and intuitive, so you will definitely find it easy to navigate through its tabs and tools.
The editor offers all the features you would probably like to see in a PowerPoint alternative. You can create clear-cut schemes and sketches with auto shapes, add customizable objects to the slides and apply various transitions. You are also allowed to use the Presenter View mode where you can add notes and comfortably navigate between the slides. The built-in plugins (for example, Google Translate or YouTube videos) help you make the most of your presentation.
If you connect your desktop app to the cloud, such as ONLYOFFICE, Nextcloud, ownCloud or Seafile, you will be able to collaborate on presentations in real-time — edit them with other users simultaneously, which is pretty convenient for remote teams.
We hope that this article was useful to you. Let us know what you think about the best PowerPoint alternatives for Windows in the comments section below. Your feedback is always appreciated!
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