Alternatives to Microsoft PowerPoint

If you are in school, a business, or any other type of organization, there’s a good chance you will need to create a presentation at some point or another. The most popular presentation software available is PowerPoint, which is part of the Microsoft Office suite. However, there are free alternatives out there, so you don’t need to spend a lot of money to be able to create these presentations.

LibreOffice / Impress

LibreOffice / are the main competition to Microsoft Office because they are the most compatible suites available. They are free and work on all major operating systems. These are all very good factors in choosing an alternative to Microsoft Office. But what about features? Well, when it comes to features, Impress has the same features and then some as Microsoft’s PowerPoint.

Impress is a full-featured presentation application that offers all the options you would expect. There are even some added features that could make this your primary choice instead of just being “the alternative”. As you can see in the screenshot, it has the option of having transparency to let the slide background show through the content background. Transparency can make a lasting effect when it comes to a presentation. A big part of a presentation is the style. That’s also where the second added feature comes in. It can also do rounded corners. These are both aspects that enhance the style and can make a longer lasting impression on the people you are giving the presentation to.

On top of all the features Impress offers, you can export it to PDF or even PowerPoint formats. If you export it to PowerPoint, keep in mind that some of the formatting and styles can and most likely will be lost if you do anything other than basic designs.

Google Docs Presentation

Part of the Google Docs online office suite, the Presentation component is useful for making a more portable presentation that is accessible wherever you have an internet connection. At the same time, this can limit your options, but fortunately, you can also download the presentations you create.

Some of the more appealing features of Google Docs Presentation is the selection of templates. The templates are submitted by users all over the world to give you different backgrounds or designs. If you want to create something from scratch, you can do this as well. If an online solution is what you are looking for, Google Docs might be perfect for you.


Prezi is much like Google Docs Presentation in the fact that it is an online tool. There is also a desktop version available at the same time. Unfortunately, you need to have a Pro license to use it, which costs $159/year. A free account lets you create presentations online and download them. The presentations will be branded with the Prezi logo that can be removed if you buy an annual license. If it wasn’t for the licensing of this application, I would say it is the best option out there. Unfortunately, I can’t see spending $159 every year for creating presentations on my desktop. However, the free account is will give you plenty of features to do the task of presentation creating.

If you make presentations all the time and it is one of the more important parts of your job, it might be worth the price to get the Pro license for the desktop version and added features. Why? Because Prezi isn’t part of an office suite like most other options. This means the developers concentrate solely on making a better experience of making presentations.


There are several other options for creating presentations, but these are on the top of my list. Do you have another option you think should be on this list? Let us know what you have to say in the comments below.

Posted by: Josh @ 9:00 am June 30, 2011