Tired of the same old boring PowerPoint templates? Want to create a presentation that will really engage your audience? Take these PowerPoint alternatives for a free test drive.
Google Docs Presentation – This app bears a striking resemblance to PowerPoint, but it’s web-based, which means it’s easily shareable and conducive to collaboration among your team members. Importing your existing PowerPoint slides is a snap, too. Many users will find embedding web content into a presentation far more intuitive with this app than with PowerPoint. It also appears to be more stable than PowerPoint when handling video content. And it’s completely free-of-charge.
SlideRocket –SlideRocket also incorporates a slide-based approach to organizing presentations, but offers oh-so-much more, including an integrated library of media assets, automated Flickr searches, and the ability to embed real-time information (e.g., a Twitter or RSS feed, which are also searchable). Most intriguingly, SlideRocket offers analytics (unfortunately, only with the paid version) that track how users interact with your presentations, such as how long they spend on each slide and which ones get viewed multiple times. You can also embed forms or polls into the presentation to gather info from your audience. Free for the “Lite” version.
Prezi – Prezi gained almost overnight fame after James Geary used it in his “Mixing Mind and Metaphor” presentation at the 2009 TEDGlobal conference in Oxford. It dispenses with PowerPoint’s slide-based approach, instead utilizing flowing, zooming, spinning, motion-based depictions for a rich, immersive experience. Check out this video for a concrete example. Prezi works great on the iPad too, supporting drag-to-pan and pinch-to-zoom gestures. The basic web-based version is free, and the desktop version comes with a 30-day free trial.