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PowerPoint vs Keynote vs Google Slides: Best Presentation Software?

Read Time: 17 mins
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Contents
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Contents
Read Time: 17 mins

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. In this tutorial, we'll compare PowerPoint vs Google Slides vs Keynote.

Best Presentation Software ComparedBest Presentation Software ComparedBest Presentation Software Compared
PowerPoint vs Keynote vs Google Slides compared.

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.

In this article, we compare three of the most popular presentation packages: PowerPoint, Keynote, and Google Slides. We'll dig into some of the pros and cons of each package. 

Also, we link to helpful resources to get started quickly, 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. 

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Before you read on, we have the perfect complement to use alongside your professional presentation software of choice. Download our Free eBook: The Complete Guide to Making Great Presentations. It'll help you write, design, and deliver the perfect presentation.

Free eBook PDF Download Make a Great Presentation Free eBook PDF Download Make a Great Presentation Free eBook PDF Download Make a Great Presentation

The Top Presentation Software Compared

Now, let’s get started. Let’s look at how popular each presentation app is. To do that, we’ll use Google Trends. As you can see, PowerPoint’s popularity has held steady, though it’s begun to taper off somewhat.

As that happened, Google Slides has seen a recent boost in popularity and search traffic. Keynote has a more limited share, remaining mostly flat over the last few years. 

Keynote vs PowerPointKeynote vs PowerPointKeynote vs PowerPoint
Google Trends show that PowerPoint remains popular, with a recent boost for Google Slides.

This is the worldwide trend, so let’s consider search patterns in the United States. As you can see below, Google Slides is often more popular than PowerPoint from the perspective of search traffic! At the time of writing, they are roughly equal. Keynote, like the worldwide pattern, is lower but a steady constant. 

PowerPoint vs Google SlidesPowerPoint vs Google SlidesPowerPoint vs Google Slides
Google Slides enjoys amazing popularity in the U.S., generally running ahead of PowerPoint and Keynote.

Now, in this chart, we break down the main differences between PowerPoint vs Keynote vs 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

Besides 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

Yes

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 from 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 isn't as robust as the PC version.

Yes, Keynote was designed for the Mac.

Yes, as long as there's 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's got 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.

Updated PowerPoint site screenshotUpdated PowerPoint site screenshotUpdated PowerPoint site screenshot

Because it’s an established software package, PowerPoint has many advantages for the small business owner. Those pros 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 Elements.
  • 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.
  • Integration with Office Apps. Use Microsoft Excel for data and analysis? It's a breeze to drop data tables and charts from Excel right into your PowerPoint presentation.
  • Mobile apps. Available for free, the mobile apps on iOS and Android are the perfect way to take your work with you and not lose your productivity streak.

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.
  • Web apps. While Microsoft has a browser-based version of PowerPoint, it's not as fully featured or as seamless as Google Slides, for example.
  • 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.

5 Quick Tips for Getting Started in PowerPoint

When you decide to use PowerPoint, you may be wondering how to get started. What's the best way to begin? By embracing these five quick tips, you’ll get ideas and be ready to build slides fast:

1. Choose a Template to Meet Your Needs

When you’ve opted for PowerPoint vs Google Slides, it pays to start by using a template. And not just any template. You’ll save more time and impress more people by choosing a themed template.

Presenting on real estate? Choose a real estate template! Opt for a food-inspired design if you’re sharing slides about a new restaurant. The Envato Elements library has thousands of PPT templates with custom themes. 

Chefs PowerPoint vs Google SlidesChefs PowerPoint vs Google SlidesChefs PowerPoint vs Google Slides
Try out the Chefs - Restaurant PowerPoint Presentation if you need a themed slide deck for PPT.

These themed templates also help give you design inspiration. Slide designs are tailored around a specific topic. As you build out your designs, you may think of things to share that otherwise you wouldn’t have considered. A themed premium template is truly a win-win. 

2. Learn to Animate

Static, unmoving PowerPoint slides aren’t very interesting. Why not add a little spice by using animations? Animations control how text and objects appear and disappear on a slide. They’re easy to add and use.

Animations are stylish, and they help you control the flow of your presentation. For example, you can add a simple Fly In effect to bring bullet points onto a slide, one by one. 

Sound intriguing? Learn more with our full tutorial:

3. Build Stylish Illustrated Layouts

PowerPoint layouts should have a few things in common:

  • They should be stylish. You need to use eye-catching designs that grab (and keep) an audience’s focus.
  • Slide layouts should also be neat and uncluttered. Add too much content and you’ll have a messy, distracting presentation.
Simple clean Keynote vs PowerPointSimple clean Keynote vs PowerPointSimple clean Keynote vs PowerPoint
The sleek and elegant layouts in the premium Simple Clean Business Presentation work well for any topic.

Using plenty of images is a great way to build winning layouts. Photos and graphics boost visual interest in a flash. They help you style content in new and creative ways. 

4. Keep Formats Consistent With Format Painter

When you’re working in PowerPoint, it pays to maintain a clean and consistent look. This means preserving styles and formats from one slide to the next. But you may not have a ton of time when you’re building slides.

Fortunately, PowerPoint’s Format Painter feature is there to help. Format Painter lets you seamlessly copy formats from one section of a slide deck to another. For example, you can mirror text highlights from one slide to another. 

To learn how, read our MS PowerPoint Format Painter guide here:

5. Use Infographics and Charts

As you present in PowerPoint, try to illustrate your ideas. A compelling option is to use infographics and charts. These are especially useful if you’re talking through numerical data.

Infographics PowerPoint vs Google SlidesInfographics PowerPoint vs Google SlidesInfographics PowerPoint vs Google Slides
This PPT infographic template pack is fully animated.

Infographics are illustrations that use graphics to convey information. They’re a hallmark of premium templates. Often, you’ll find dozens of options in a single deck. You can easily swap out the placeholder details with your own data. Infographics are a top way to bring your ideas to life.

More PowerPoint Tutorials

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.

Here are three excellent places to start learning PowerPoint besides the resources above:

How to Create Advanced Designs with PowerPoint Templates

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 Elements has a simple licensing structure for PowerPoint templates. Subscribe, and you'll have access to every single of the more than 4,000 templates.

To see some examples of the difference a good PowerPoint theme (with animations) can make, look at these articles: 

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, Blendu, which features many slide layout options and the features you'd expect in a professional design.

Blendu Presentation TemplateBlendu Presentation TemplateBlendu Presentation Template
Use the Blendu template, a smooth and easy-to-use PowerPoint template, to save hours in the design process.

2. Keynote

What is Keynote? Simply put, Keynote is part of Apple’s iWork productivity suite. It was designed for a Mac and is a streamlined presentation tool.

It's got a stylish interface that's easy to use. Keynote remote works on the iPad, iPhone, and iPod. While the support isn't quite as extensive as what's available for PowerPoint, there are still a lot of resources available.

Apple Keynote Presentation SoftwareApple Keynote Presentation SoftwareApple 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 pros 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 Elements.
  • Export Feature. Keynote files can easily be exported to PowerPoint or even QuickTime. It also integrates well with other iWork software.

Cons of Apple Keynote include:

  • Less Extensive Help Files. Many users report that the help files with Keynote aren't as comprehensive as those available from Microsoft. But there’s enough there that even beginning users should be able to learn and start using this software quickly.
  • Mac Only. If you've got 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.

More Keynote Tutorials

To learn more about Keynote, you've got many resources available. To start, 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.

Check out these extra tutorials for learning Keynote:

How to Create Advanced Designs with Keynote Templates

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

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

Top Templates for Apple Keynote

Also, we've got a complete walkthrough of how to customize a Keynote template design. Or get started with one of the best-selling Keynote templates on Envato Elements, which is called Tormund. Here’s a closer look at this stylish presentation design:

Tormund Keynote Presentation TemplateTormund Keynote Presentation TemplateTormund Keynote Presentation Template
Tormund is another sharp, easy-to-use Keynote template that you can use while designing.

 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 some intuitive and innovative presentation features.

Google Slides presentation software updatedGoogle Slides presentation software updatedGoogle Slides presentation software updated

As long as you're 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 Google Slides pros:

  • Ease of use. Google Slides isn't 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're working on. Changes can be made simultaneously in different parts of the same presentation.
  • Innovative. Google Slides has several innovative features. For example, there's a new Q & A feature that allows audiences to interact with a speaker through a link. It looks like a promising feature to hold audience engagement for those who make a public presentation.

Cons of Google Slides include:

  • Fewer Choices. Google Slides has fewer choices for effects. There are also fewer themes, though Envato Elements 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'll need one to use this package. But 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.

More Google Slides Tutorials

Make sure to use these other Tuts+ tutorials to level up your Slides knowledge:

How to Use Custom Templates With Google Slides

Envato Elements offers many professional templates for Google Slides. How good can a Google Slide presentation look? Check out this article featuring a collection of premium designs: 

Or look at our best-selling Google Slides template, Braze. Here’s a closer look at this template and thumbnails of some of the best slides inside of it:

Braze Google SlidesBraze Google SlidesBraze Google Slides
Braze is a bold and dark presentation template that's easy to use with Google Slides.

Grab This New eBook on Making Great Presentations (Free Download)

We've got the perfect complement to a professional PowerPoint template. It'll help you learn how to write, design, and deliver great presentations.

Download The Complete Guide to Making Great Presentations now for FREE with a subscription to the Tuts+ Business Newsletter. Get your ideas formed into a powerful presentation that'll move your audience. 

Free eBook PDF Download Make a Great Presentation Free eBook PDF Download Make a Great Presentation Free eBook PDF Download Make a Great Presentation

Plus, 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. Or, jump into more of our presentation tutorials on Envato Tuts+.

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'll be working for a business that prefers Microsoft Office products, this may be the right choice for you. There are thousands of PowerPoint templates from professional designers 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. 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's a growing base of Google Slides presentation templates on Envato Elements, with more being added on a regular basis.

Spend Less Time Designing With Envato Elements

No matter which presentation app you use, Envato Elements is a subscription that's got a place in your creative toolbelt. A single flat rate subscription includes creative assets you can use on all your projects!

Elements presentation templatesElements presentation templatesElements presentation templates
All these presentation templates are included as part of a subscription to Envato Elements.

PowerPoint, Keynote, and Google Slides: you name it, Elements has a template for it. Those templates represent many hours of design work you'll save when giving yourself a head start by using a presentation template.  

What Is the Best Presentation Software for You?

You've just learned about PowerPoint vs Keynote vs Google Slides. Which one should you choose?

This article lists some of the pros and cons 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.

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

Editorial Note: This post was originally published in 2016. It's been comprehensively revised to make it up to date by our staff—with special assistance from Andrew Childress.

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