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"Metro, boulot, dodo," the French saying goes. It's the catchy summation of the modern tedium: commute, work, sleep, over and over till you die. They should have added "preso" to the mix. For when it comes to corporate monotony, the predictable, boring presentation reigns supreme. And nothing represents that more than PowerPoint, Microsoft's ubiquitous slideshow software.
Thankfully, there are alternatives to the norm. (We're talking presentation software here, not bohemian lifestyles.) While PowerPoint might be pervasive, it's not the only option. Here are seven alternatives to help you live a .ppt-free life, without sacrificing quality presentations.
PowerPoint makes us stupid. It limits discussion, interaction, and engagement. Far too often, poor presenters simply drone through a series of slides. Even enthusiastic audiences will grow weary-eyed before a long succession of bullet points -- bullet points which often oversimplify complex concepts in order to fit them on a slide. Or, as Steve Jobs once put it, "People who know what they're talking about don't need PowerPoint."
The best alternative to PowerPoint is no alternative. Try ditching the software, or at least using it sparingly. You'll be forced to think on your feet more, to engage your audience with content instead of animations between slides.
But hey, if you really can't give up on slides and visuals, there are also alternatives two through seven.
Prezi adds a bit of surprise to the traditional presentation. Its main gimmick is animation. It lets you zoom in, pan, and scroll between "slides," a much more engaging way of presenting than just flipping between sides. Prezi takes a bit of getting used to, but the learning curve is worth it. Plus, it autosyncs between devices, meaning you'll never have to email yourself a backup again.
3. Haiku Deck
If you want a pretty preso, check out Haiku Deck. It's a web and iPad app that comes complete with a wide gallery of free and attractive presentation templates, which it suggests based on the content of your slides. You can share presentations via social media or email, sync them between devices, and change them over to .ppt's. It's more of a pretty face than a hard worker though; the app doesn't have transitions, sounds, or animation, for example.
Speaking of boulot, this French start up has made it its job to take down PowerPoint. Bunkr's earlier attempt wasn't so great, but the software has been rebooted with a few impressive new features. Bunkr makes it easy to pull information from the web and straight into your presentation.
The best part, though, is that it can keep your web information and presentation connected. If you use Infogram to make charts, for example, you can throw those visuals into your Bunkr presentation. Change the Infogram chart in a week and, voila, your presentation is updated as well. It's great if your routine encompasses routine presentations -- there's no need to keep remaking the same deck with new info.
We've recommended LibreOffice before -- it has a great alternative to Word -- and we'll continue to here. It's a smart, open source presentation software with an active community behind it. It can perform pretty much all the functions you'll find in PowerPoint, but with even more options to customize your work.
SoftMaker's Presentations is a pretty standard PowerPoint alternative, particularly if your version of PowerPoint is a few years out of date. You might not even realize you're not using PowerPoint. We're not complaining, however. It does the job it needs to do. If it has one major bonus it's the mobile app, which allows you to create presentations from your Android device -- great for working on the go.
We can't forget about Google! The search megalith has set its sights on Microsoft's market, going after Word with Google Docs and PowerPoint with Slides. You can import your .ppt's and edit them in drive or create slides from scratch. It's light on advanced features but great for collaboration. Multiple partners can put together a presentation and keep track of changes easily.