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PowerPoint vs Keynote vs Google Slides: What is the Best Presentation Software?

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Choosing the best presentation software is a big decision. Your presentation needs to look good, and to make it look good you need the right tool. The presentation software you choose makes a difference.

Presentation software allows you to create professional slide presentations. A slide presentation allows the presenter to share information using words and images. Many current presentation software packages also include audio and animation features. Initially, slide presentations were geared towards live audiences. Now, slide presentations are just as likely to be delivered to a web audience and published online.

No matter which software package you use, one way to ensure professional results is by choosing a quality template. A template determines the look and feel of your presentation. The right presentation template can mean the difference between a dull, lackluster slide show and a truly professional presentation.

Best Presentation Software Compared
PowerPoint versus Keynote versus Google Slides compared.

In this article we compare three of the most popular presentation packages: PowerPoint, Keynote, and Google Slides. We'll look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of each package. 

We'll also link to additional resources to help you get started no matter which package you pick. Finally, we’ll point out some strong template choices to help you make the best use of your presentation software, and get started quickly. 

The Top Presentation Software Compared

First, here's a look at how popular each presentation software is, according to Google Trends. Notice how popular PowerPoint has been over time, though it's trended downwards slowly as competitors have gotten stronger. Also, notice how in the last year Google Slides has had an upward move in popularity, while Keynote has stayed with a consistent, but smaller user base.

Trends PowerPoint vs Keynote vs Google Slides
Google Trends Comparison: PowerPoint vs Keynote vs Google Slides

Now, in this chart, we break down the main differences between Powerpoint versus Keynote versus Google Slides. Then we'll dig into each presentation software in more detail in the following section, so you can pick the best one to use to make your presentation with.

 

PowerPoint

Keynote

Google Slides

Related Software

Part of Microsoft Office365

Part of the iWork productivity suite

Part of Google Drive’s office suite

Export File Types

In addition to various PowerPoint and Office formats, export formats include .pdf, .xps, .mp4, .wmv, .odp, .gif, .jpg, .png, .gif, .bmp, .tif, .wmf, .emf, and .rtf

Includes .pdf, various PowerPoint files, QuickTime, HTML, Images, and Keynote 2009

Includes .pptx, .pdf, .txt, .jpg, png, .svg

Audio Import

Yes

Yes

Not at this time, but YouTube videos can be embedded.

Animation and Effects

About 50 effects (Entrance, emphasis, and exit).

About 30 different build animations and 40 transition effects.

About 15 effects.

Collaboration

PowerPoint 365 files can be shared if saved to OneDrive.

Invite others to collaborate if your Keynote is set up to use iCloud Drive.

Files are easily shared with online collaborators.

Offline Access

Yes

Yes, as long as the file is saved on your local device.

Files can be accessed offline using the Google Slides app (link to Chrome web store).

Cost

Must purchase through Microsoft.

Free with new Mac, or purchase through the Mac App store.

Free as a part of Google Office. You must create a Google account.

Available for Mac

Yes, although some users claim the Mac version is not as robust as the PC version.

Yes, Keynote was designed for the Mac.

Yes, as long as there is an Internet connection.

Available for PC

Yes

No

Yes, Google Slides resides in the cloud.

Let’s take a closer look at each presentation software package.

1. PowerPoint

As part of the Microsoft Office suite, PowerPoint has been one of the most popular presentation software packages for years. It has a large number of themes. Support is widely available, not only through Microsoft but also from third party articles published by its large user base.

Microsoft PowerPoint Presentation Software

Because it’s an established software package, PowerPoint has many advantages for the small business owner. Those advantages include:

  • Ease of Use. The navigational structure will be familiar to anyone who uses other Microsoft software. It includes a help system and even some basic tutorial. You can also use Microsoft’s technical support.
  • Customization Options. PowerPoint includes a large number of special effects. There are also many themes available, some through Microsoft and some through third parties like Envato Market.
  • File Types Supported. This software presentation package can import and export a large number of file types. It’s compatible with files from other Microsoft Office products. It also lets you integrate audio files.
  • Community Support. Due to the large number of users there are many articles and books to help you learn how to the use the tool effectively.

Despite its many advantages, there are still some weaknesses:

  • Collaboration. Recently, PowerPoint has improved the ability to collaborate in real-time. However, there are still more steps than with Google Docs. To work with another user, you must save the document to OneDrive and invite the people you want to collaborate with.
  • Perception. Some users report that PowerPoint leads to less creative presentations. This is probably because many businesses rely on older, basic templates that don’t use the most recent features.

Are you ready to learn more about PowerPoint? There are hundreds of resources to help you out. Our own Tuts+ tutorial, PowerPoint 101: Everything You Need to Make a Basic Presentation, is a great place to start. You can also turn to the MSOfficeForums.com to find answers to your PowerPoint questions.

No matter how much you know about PowerPoint, your need your presentation to look as professional as possible. You’ll want to use a professional template to do that. Envato Market’s GraphicRiver has a large collection of quality PowerPoint templates

To see some examples of the difference a good PowerPoint theme can make, take a look at this article: 

We also have a detailed tutorial on how to customize a PowerPoint template, modifying PPT slide designs, and adjusting Master Slides.

Here’s a closer look at one of our most popular PowerPoint templates, Marketofy, which features a number of slide layout options and the features you'd expect in a professional design.

Marketofy - Ultimate PowerPoint Template
Marketofy - Ultimate PowerPoint Template

2. Keynote

Keynote is part of Apple’s iWork productivity suite. It was designed for a Mac. It has a stylish interface that is easy to use. Keynote remote works on the iPad, iPhone, and iPod. While the support is not quite as extensive as what is available for PowerPoint, there are still a lot of resources available.

Apple Keynote Presentation Software

If you’re already a Mac user, Keynote just might be the best presentation software for your business needs. Here are some of the advantages of Keynote:

  • Ease of Use. Like many Mac programs, Keynote features an intuitive, user-friendly interface. Most users with basic computer knowledge will be able to learn how to work with this package quickly.
  • Multiple Devices. With iCloud you can use Keynote on multiple devices and synch your files through the cloud. This can be handy if you need to make a presentation using your iPad or iPhone.
  • Customization Options. With many different themes, animation, and effects available it’s easy to get creative. There are also many themes available from third parties, like Envato Market.
  • Export Feature. Keynote files can easily be exported to PowerPoint or even QuickTime. It also integrates well with other iWork software.

Disadvantages of Keynote include:

  • Less Extensive Help Files. Many users report that the help files with Keynote are not as comprehensive as those available from Microsoft. However, there’s enough there that even beginning users should be able to learn and start using this software quickly.
  • Mac Only. If you have a PC and want to create Keynote files from scratch, you’re out of luck. You can open a Keynote file with your PC, though. To open a Keynote file on a PC it must first be exported to a compatible format such as a .pdf or .ppt file.

To learn more about Keynote, you have many resources available. To start, take a look at our Tuts+ tutorial, 5 Tips for Better Keynote Presentations. The Apple Support Community for Keynote is also a good place to find answers to your Keynote questions.

As with any presentation software, choosing a good template is important. You can find professional template that use Keynote’s unique features at Envato Market’s GraphicRiver.

For more inspiration, we have a showcase of best Keynote presentation templates to browse: 

Also, we have a complete walkthrough of how to customize a Keynote template design. Or get started with one of the best-selling Keynote templates on GraphicRiver, which is the Kaspian theme. Here’s a closer look at this stylish presentation design:

Kaspian Keynote Presentation Template
Kaspian - Creative Keynote Presentation Template

3. Google Slides

Google Slides is part of Google’s software office suite included within Google Drive. The software and your work reside completely on the web, making it an ideal choice for online sharing. Google Slides is relatively new. It offers a number of intuitive and innovative presentation features.

Google Slides Presentation Software

As long as you are connected, you can access Google Slides from any device. If you work with a team who all use different platforms, Google Slides may be the right choice for you. Here are some advantages of Google Slides:

  • Ease of use. Google Slides is not difficult to learn. Help files are incorporated, although they don’t seem to be as extensive as in some of the other packages. There are quite a few third party resources to help you learn Google Slides.
  • Web-based. The online files are always current and up-to-date. You can also easily link or embed your document into a web page.
  • Collaboration. It’s easy for colleagues and team members to access and edit documents through the web no matter what device they are working on. Changes can be made simultaneously in different parts of the same presentation.
  • Innovative. Google Slides has several innovative features. For example, the new Q & A feature that allows audiences to interact with a speaker through a link looks like a promising feature to hold audience engagement for those who make public presentation.

Disadvantages of Google Slides include:

  • Fewer Choices. Google Slides has fewer choices for effects. There are also fewer themes, though Envato Market has a good selection of choices. Some users find the program features to be too basic.
  • Gmail Account Required. If you don’t currently have a Google account, you will need one to use this package. However, you can sign up for an account free of charge.

Where can you go to learn more about Google Slides? You can start with our Tuts+ tutorial, Getting Started with Google Slides. You can also ask questions in the Google Product Forums.

Envato Market’s GraphicRiver offers a number of professional templates for Google Slides. How good can a Google Slide presentation look? Check out this article featuring a collection of premium designs: 

Or, take a look at our best-selling Google Slides template, the Fox Template. Here’s a closer look at a few of it's slide designs:

Fox Best Google Slides Template
Fox - Ultimate Google Slides Template

What Is the Best Presentation Software for You?

Choosing the best presentation software package can be challenging. The package you choose depends largely on your needs and budget.

PowerPoint vs. Keynote vs. Google Slides… Which should you choose?

There’s no right or wrong presentation software solution. Each of the three presentation software packages has significant strengths to consider:

  • PowerPoint - Is an established package with a large user base and lots of support. If you will be working for a business that prefers Microsoft Office products, this may be the right choice for you. There are thousands of PowerPoint templates to choose from.
  • Keynote - Is designed for Macs and tends to have a more creative vibe according to some users. If you work mostly on Macs, this could be the best presentation software package for you, and there are plenty of creative Keynote templates to work with.
  • Google Slides - This might be the right package for you if you work on a team that uses different operating systems and you need to collaborate. It’s also a great option for remote teams. There is a growing base of Google Slides presentation templates on Envato Market, with more being added on a regular basis.

This article lists some of the advantages and disadvantages to consider for each presentation software package. It also links to useful resources to help you learn more about each option. Choose the best presentation software that fits your needs, grab a quality presentation template, and get to work making your presentation today.

Additionally, if you’d like to consider even more ways to create presentations, you’ll find a few more software options in our Tuts+ tutorial: How to Make a Better Presentation Without PowerPoint.

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