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The 5 best presentation tools on the web

The time has come to rise up against the tyranny of Powerpoint; to say goodbye to 15MB .ppt files that you can’t email to anyone. The time has come for presentations to become dynamic, vivid and exciting. ‘Slides’ were invented for slide projectors – long since left to rot in highschool store rooms and hardly representative of 21st century communications.

So, banishing the ‘overhead projector’ philosophy and the need to share presentations on FTP because they’re too big to email, here are 5 of the neatest web tools to help you to make a bigger impact with your presentations:

1. Prezi

Okay, so I’ve mentioned this one before. But Prezi is the best example I’ve seen of trying to do something different with presentations. It takes a creative mind to  unleash the potential of Prezi, and in its current Beta test format (which means it’s free, people) it is a little limited in terms of fonts etc – but Prezi can make even the most boring topic alarmingly exciting.

Presentations can be downloaded as an .exe file without the need to download any software so it’s simple to use and save in your archive.  However, because the system doesn’t use slides and you can’t copy and paste presentation elements from one to the other it does mean you’re building shows from scratch every time.

2.SlideRocket

SlideRocket is an online, flash based tool for creating slides and presentations. It takes what Powerpoint can do and, well, does it better. It brings together a complete package of online slide making with features such as an intuitive interface, themes, flickr integration and much more. Best bits include cool slide transitions and the fact that hosted presentations can be accessed by everyone without the need to send a huge file.

Unlike Prezi, SlideRocket does have an amazing asset saving system, keeping all your pics, charts and multimedia in one place so making a new presentation is quicker and simpler than Powerpoint. You can even import Powerpoint slides if you want to update an existing presentation. Simples.

3. Animoto

I’ve banged on about Animoto enough here. It is seriously amazing though. Quick, easy, not free if you want the full service in terms of downloads etc, but not expensive either. Essentially, it lets you create amazing animated slideshows of image files (interspersed with captions if you wish) quickly and easily without any technical skill required – trust me.


From a PR perspective, presenting cuttings in an Aminoto presentation can reallly bring them to life. Good for design pitches too. Above is an example of an animation I created on Animoto to embed in a Prezi presentation at Going Social.

4. Slideshare

Okay – Slideshare is less an alternative to Powerpoint, and more a way to extend its uses. Slideshare is probably the most well-known presentation tool online, and rather than helping you create presentations or content, it’s a way to help your presentation go viral.

5. Empressr

Empressr essentially blends some of the benefits of SlideRocket with some of the benefits of Slideshare. Although at first glance it seems to be a poor man’s version of both, the best element is that, unlike Slideshare, it supports animated transitions within embedded presentations – making Empressr embeds less flat and lifeless than Slideshare.

I’ve not used this tool a great deal yet but will update this post when I have. It won’t let me embed an existing presentation because I’m on the free version of WordPress but it does seem to be more shareable on social networks such as Facebook than Slideshare. the animations seem pretty smooth but load times are much higher than Slideshare too.

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So, there you have it. By no means are any of these tools ‘hidden gems’. They’re just the best out there in my honest opinion – but please let me know if you disagree.

No more death by Powerpoint

So, we had the first ever Going Social event at Kaizo yesterday – a breakfast seminar designed as a sort of ‘social media 101′ for those who are looking to learn their Digg from their Delicious.

Now, it might not sound big to you, but a presentation in front of 50+ people (all bigwigs from major brands I might add) was a pretty big thing for me – but luckily it all went off without a hitch, and the presentation was really helped by two cool little web 2.0 tools, namely Animoto and Prezi.

Firstly, I used Animoto to create some punchy little vids to drop in – much more interesting than bullet points or screen grabs. Here’s one of them, created to talk about how brands are using Facebook:

Secondly – and probably most impressive in terms of impact – was Prezi. You might not have heard of it, but it’s a new online presentation tool (currently free!) that doesn’t use slides and provides an antidote to death by Powerpoint. Weird? Yes. Cool? Definitely. Click here to see the presentation. I was going to embed it in the post with an iFrame but decided it’s better in its full screen glory.

It might not make much sense without me and Neil Hallmark presenting it, but you can have a play and see what Prezi is made of. Although the best thing to do is probably just have a crack yourself and play around. Below is a quick vid that gives you a nice insight into some of Prezi’s tricks (although I have no idea what the native language of the narrator is – it’s definitely not English!)

And it’s not just Prezi that’s finally killing the beast of Powerpoint. Slide Rocket is probably the most famous online presentation tool at the moment and loads more can be found at Go2Web2 where I find loads of gems.