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The Best Free Online Presentation Software Tools for 2018


At some point or another, most of us need to create a slideshow. Maybe you're running a small business, and now you need to give a sales presentation. Or maybe you're a student and your assignment is to create a slideshow. Either way, you probably don't have much to spend on a presentation software tool.

Online Presentation Software
Speaker using online presentation software. (Image adapted from Envato Elements)

If you need a tool to help you create presentations, but you're on a limited budget, you may think you're out of luck. Fortunately, there are quite a few good free online presentation software tools for you to consider.

In this post, we'll share 15 free online presentation software packages. We'll describe each and point out key features. We'll also explain what to look for when choosing your online presentation software package. Finally, we'll share resources you can use with some online presentation software.  

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What to Look for in Free Online Presentation Software

Just because your software, doesn't mean you don't need a good software presentation tool to work with. Luckily, many free online presentation tools have all the features you need to create a top-notch presentation.

Here are some things to look for when selecting a presentation tool:

  • Ease-of-use. You don't want to spend hours and hours learning how to use the presentation tool. Good presentation software should be easy to learn and have plenty of training resources available.
  • Import/export features. Your presentation software tool should be compatible with popular file formats. Also, keep in mind that at some point you may want to export your presentation into another tool.
  • Real-time collaboration. Teamwork has become increasingly important in today's professional environment. With the right web-based tool, you and a teammate can work together on a presentation project.
  • Cloud access and storage. It used to be that when you were away from your computer, you couldn't work on your project until you came back. With a cloud-based tool, that's no longer a problem. Access your work anywhere there's an Internet connection.
  • Audio/video capabilities. Multi-media has become the norm for slideshows. If you want your presentation to really stand out, consider adding an audio or video component.
  • Good technical support. What are you going to do if something goes wrong while you're creating your presentation? Look for a presentation software tool with good support resources such as third-party tutorials, a strong online help, or help resource.

When choosing an online presentation software tool keep in mind your future needs. If you're running a business that's likely to grow, it may be a good idea to start with the free version of a presentation software tool with a premium version that has features you may need as your business grows.

Why Templates Help You Create Powerful Presentations

Another consideration if you're new to creating slideshows and your budget is limited is the design aspect. Whether you're a business owner or a student, you want your presentation to look good so that you make a good impression.

If you're not a designer yourself, you may struggle to create an attractive, eye-catching design for your presentation. And of course, you probably don't have the budget to hire someone to create a slideshow design for you.

There's a budget-friendly solution! Templates are available for many presentation tools at a fraction of what it would cost to hire a professional designer. Of course, some software tools include some basic templates--but your presentation will wind up looking like everyone else's with the included templates.

If you're not a designer yourself, you may struggle to create an attractive, eye-catching design for your presentation. And of course, you probably don't have the budget to hire someone to create a slideshow design for you. 

Third-party templates can help. For a low cost, you get a professionally designed template that you can customize for your presentation. Envato Elements is a good source of third-party presentation templates. Envato Graphic River is another good source.

Here's a look at some popular templates:

Free Online Presentation Software Tools--Well-Known Tools

Now that you know what to look for in free presentation software, let's examine some of the most popular options. Here's a look at the free versions of some of the most popular online presentation tools:

1. PowerPoint Online

PowerPoint Online presentation software

Many people don't realize that there's a free version of PowerPoint available. This can be an especially great option for students who may have a one-time or infrequent need to create a presentation and can't afford to buy a Microsoft Office subscription.

Note: It's important to note that this software tool isn't intended for business use.

Microsoft products are widely used. Because these tools are so popular, many people are familiar with the software layout and commands. That helps make PowerPoint Online easy to learn to use.  Plus, you can upgrade to the premium PowerPoint tool if you need more features.

PowerPoint Online includes many (but not all) of the features of its premium counterpart. You can format text, use animations, and include other graphic elements. Since it's web-based, there are also collaboration features and cloud storage.

There are some limitations, though. For example, you can't use PowerPoint Online unless you've got Internet access. Some views aren't available. You're limited to built-in themes, although you can import a presentation with a third-party theme. And you can only insert audio and video files through YouTube. There are other differences as well. 

PowerPoint provides many help documents and articles to its users. The tool also includes online help in the form of the Tell Me tool. Plus, you can find lots of third-party articles and resources on PowerPoint, such as this Tuts+ tutorial:

2. Google Slides

Google Slides online presentation software

Even though it's free, Google Slides' features rival those of premium presentation software tools. It's real-time collaboration tools make it ideal for times. Google Slides is also a great option if you intend to publish your presentation online. Plus, even though Google Slides is a cloud-based tool, you can change the settings to use it while you're offline. If you're considering using Google Slides, this article explains how it compares to more expensive tools: 

Google's office suite is increasing in popularity. And you can upgrade to a premium version of the office suite if your needs grow. Google Slides is also easy to learn. Google has helpful online documentation as well as Help documentation within each office tool, including Google Slides. Plus, there are a lot of third-party resources you can access, such as our tutorial on how to use Google Slides:

When you sign up for a free Google account, you get access to all of the Google Drive tools--including Google Slides.

One of the ways to make sure that your Google Slides presentation stands out is to use a professional template such as those offered by Envato Elements or Graphic River. For a peak at some of the best Google Slides presentation themes, look at:

3. Keynote 

Keynote presentation tool

If you've purchased a Mac computer lately, it probably came with Apple's Keynotes software already loaded. It's also available to download for free for iOs devices from the iTunes App Store. PC users can now view or edit Keynote presentations online with the iCloud website.

If you've got a Mac, you'll probably find Keynote easy to use. It's well-integrated with the Mac platform, which makes it easy to incorporate images and multimedia into your presentation. A recent upgrade added better collaboration features to Keynote. 

Coming from Apple, Keynote is well-documented. There's good technical support and other resources from both Apple and third parties. To learn more about Apple Keynote, read this Tuts+ article:

Produce a professional slideshow quickly and easily through a third part template such as those available through Envato Elements or Graphic River.  Here's a look at some popular Keynote presentation templates:

4. Prezi Basic

Prezi presentation software

Prezi is a popular presentation authoring tool known for its graphic interface and its non-linear approach to presentations. The zooming tool is impressive. Plus, there are tutorials and other aids to help you learn how to use it. Its popularity is growing, which means there's also a growing number of third-party resources available.

You can try Prezi for free by using either the basic version or by signing up for Prezi basic, or for a free trial of one of the other versions. 

5. LinkedIn SlideShare

LinkedIn SlideShare presentation tool

LinkedIn SlideShare isn't a presentation authoring software tool, but rather a free presentation sharing software tool. But if you need to get your slideshow in front of a large professional audience, it's worth knowing about. Currently, there are millions of users on SlideShare, many of whom are business professionals.

SlideShare is easy to use and there's some help available within the tool. Since SlideShare is growing in popularity, there are also a growing number of third-party resources and tutorials. To learn more about SlideShare, study:

Best Free Online Software Presentation Tools--Other Tools

While the free online presentation software tools below may not be quite as well-known as some of the presentation software listed above, many of these packages have features that compare with their better-known counterparts.

Many of these tools are limited in features at the free level, but let you upgrade to a more premium version if your needs change. Some free tools may display ads or require that your presentation include their logo or company name on it.

Let's take a closer look: 

6. Zoho Show 

Zoho Show presentation software

Zoho Show is part of a popular office productivity suite. According to the website, the free version of this office suite is available for teams of up to 25 users, which is generous for free software.  The free version also offers some nice extra features for teams such as secure file collaboration and in-app chat.

Zoho Office Suite offers quite a bit of support, with a knowledge base, articles, and more.  

7. FlowVella 

FlowVella presentation software

FlowVella (formerly Flowboard) was designed to work online with mobile devices, but there's also version available for the Mac. Easily incorporate multi-media and other online content into your presentation. The newest version also includes drag and drop. Presentations are also easily shared through URL links.

FlowVella is a strong presentation tool choice with company support and help. Currently, there aren't a lot of third-party resources. The free version limits you to four public flows (presentations). The presentation size is limited to ten slides. 

8. LibreOffice Impress 

LibreOffice presentation software

Impress is part of LibreOffice (based on OpenOffice), which is free and open source software. As such, there's no premium version available, which might not be a problem for you because Impress compares favorably to many pricier alternatives.

When LibreOffice 5.3 was released in 2017, LibreOffice also made LibreOffice online available. To use it you'll need to install it on your own server.

As might be expected for open source software, LibreOffice has a sizeable community. This means that there are several third-party resources and tutorials available. 

9. Ludus 

Ludus online presentation software

A promising new presentation software tool is Ludus. It's designed with creativity and the web in mind, so you can easily integrate content from other web services like YouTube, Vimeo, DropBox, GIPHY, and more. It's also got some nice design tools including the ability to upload fonts, blend colors, use overlays, and more.

Because Ludus is so new, there aren't a lot of third-party resources, such as articles and tutorials. However, the main site includes helpful videos that illustrate how to use some of the main features that should help new users get up to speed.

With the free version, one user can create up to 20 presentations for free with access to all the editing features of the premium versions.

10. PowToon 

PowToon presentation software

PowToon gives you the option to create an animated video instead of a more static, slide-based presentation. Even at the free, basic level you get access to some nice features. Basic users get up to 100 MB of storage and can create a video of up to five minutes. 

The PowToon site includes help articles and tutorials to help you learn to use this tool quickly. Plus, there are plenty of third-party tutorials available.

11. Speaker Deck

Speaker Deck online presentation software tool

Speaker Deck is a free tool owned by GitHub. While it's not a presentation authoring tool, you can upload your presentations as a PDF file and it will convert them to slideshow format. You can then share your presentation through the Speaker Deck site or embed it into another website.

12. Visme

Visme presentation software tool

The Visme website includes numerous resources such as tutorials and a helpful knowledge base.

Visme is a multi-faceted tool. Not only can you create presentations, but you can also make infographics, charts, and social graphics. Add video or audio or animate an object in your presentation to make it more interesting. With the free version of Visme, you can create up to three projects and you also get 100 MB of storage. You can download your project as a .jpg or .png file.

13. WPS Presentation 

WPS Presentation software

WPS Presentation is part of a free office suite that also includes Writer and Spreadsheets. If you choose this option, you'll find it to be very comparable to more popular office productivity software such as MS Office. Even with the free version you get 1G of cloud-based storages. You can also use it on up to three devices (one desktop device and two mobile devices). 

The WPS Office site includes a searchable online help, a useful blog, and other helpful resources.

14. authorSTREAM  

authorSTREAM presentation tool

Like SlideShare, authorSTREAM allows you to share uploaded presentations online with a wider audience. With the free version, the size of the presentation your upload and online storage is limited to 100 MB. Also, with the free version you can convert a single PowerPoint presentation to video. Some support is available through the company, but I didn't find many third-party tutorials or articles.

15. Genially 

Genially presentation software

This presentation software specializes in letting you create interactive content. It also features many animation effects. Not only can you use Genially to create online presentations, you can also create infographics and other interactive projects. 

Most people should find this software easy to learn. The website includes a frequently updated blog with some helpful tips and I was also able to find some third-party tutorials for this presentation software tool.

Additional Resource: Free Presentation eBook Download (PDF)

Also, be sure download our new eBook on Making Great Presentations. It will help you with the complete presentation process. Learn how to write your presentation, design it like a pro, and prepare it to present powerfully.

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Don't let a limited budget keep you from creating the presentations you need. You're just learned about what to look for in an online presentation software tool.

We've also shared 15 free online presentation software packages. One of them is bound to be right for you. 

Good luck with your presentation!

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