If you’re reading this, chances are you’re preparing to design a presentation. And you’re looking for either a free powerpoint alternative or maybe just new presentation software that’s better than a certain clunky, time-consuming Microsoft Office tool you’ve used in the past. Are we close on either front?
If yes, then chances are you’re also fairly overwhelmed by the volume of powerpoint alternatives available to you. Choosing the right presentation software can be crucial — especially if you want to engage your audience with a professional-quality presentation. But with all the different features, widgets, animations, free templates and more that every new presentation software option boasts, finding the right tool for the job of creating your presentation has become a job in itself.
Fortunately, you took a valuable first step and landed here, because we’ve got the details on some of the best free presentation software tools on the web. We continue our 1:1 battle of the presentation software (we've previously compared Prezi and Microsoft PowerPoint) with our newest opponent, Visme. For a complete list of all paid and free powerpoint alternatives, including Google Slides, Apple's Keynote, Haiku Deck, Slidebean and more, read this.
Ok, so what is Visme and why is it different? Visme is an online design tool that helps users create a variety of visual content, including slideshows of course. The Basic plan is a free powerpoint alternative for business, marketing and education, with simple templates to get you started. But Visme markets itself as a one-stop shop to create a variety of digital documents — infographic creator, social asset designer, presentation tool — for users of all skill levels.
“You don’t need to go to other tools to get other things done,” State of Digital founder Bas van den Beld wrote of Visme. “Everything you need to do can be done in one place. Especially when you have the full subscription, that’s a plus.”
So does Visme live up to the hype? And when it comes specifically to presentation software, can it help users design more engaging presentations than other PowerPoint alternatives? Is it a better presentation software tool than Beautiful.ai? After all, both tools claim they make presentations, but which one is a better all-around solution?
So many questions, but we'll cover it all. Granted, we could be biased, but we’ll do our best to stay objective in this head-to-head contest, and let you know which free powerpoint alternative is the best presentation software for your individual presentation design needs. One important thing to note: In this post, we are specifically comparing the FREE versions of each presentation software program, not the upgraded plans (however, we do talk about pricing tiers at the end). Ding Ding Ding! Round One begins!
Round #1: User Experience
Which presentation software is easier for users to learn and use?
Visme – Signing up for Visme is quick and simple, and users are immediately able to create a variety of visual content types from scratch or from a template. Visme features literally hundreds of fully customizable presentation and infographic templates, along with plenty of shapes, images, charts, graphs and videos that can be added to bring data to life.
Virtually every item on a presentation or infographic created with Visme can be edited and customized, and Visme offers a variety of tutorials that teach users the principles of presentation design, so it’s a perfect tool for experienced presentation designers, and resources for beginners to learn the ropes. All the design freedom and add-on widgets and features can be a bit intimidating for some, so your success with Visme depends on your level of tech "know-how."
Beautiful.ai – Even non-designers can create professional presentations that are high quality by using Beautiful.ai’s customizable smart slide templates. Users can choose to customize a pre-designed templates for their startup, sales or business presentations, or start from scratch by choosing a blank design theme. Then, using AI technology, the slides automatically adapt in real-time using common principles of great design. Beginners in presentation design can create professional-looking slideshows with Beautiful.ai's simple and user-friendly platform.
Plus, since users can focus their time on adding content instead of creating a cohesive design, this free powerpoint alternative saves time and money. Granted, you need to make sure you’ve installed the Chrome or Safari browsers to run Beautiful.ai since it's on the cloud, but signing up is quick and painless, and the sheer magic of the tool makes it totally worth it.
Round #2: Design
What types of presentations and other visual content can be designed by the two presentation software tools?
Visme – The data visualization tool is nothing if not versatile. Not only can users design presentations using Visme, but it can also be used to create infographics, charts, banner ads, printable designs and even social graphics like wallpapers and memes.
As far as designing visual presentations, Visme users can create them from scratch or start off with any of more than 1,000 templates and sample slides that can be customized to create a personal slide library. Even those options can seem endless, as users can choose from more than 120 custom fonts, more than 50 charts, widgets and other data visualizations or import any of 500,000 high-resolution stock images from Visme’s library.
Beautiful.ai – Sure, Beautiful.ai users can customize one of the dozens of presentation templates. But most people prefer to start from scratch, choosing one of more than 50 smart templates at a time — that automatically adapt using principles of great design.
Instead of wasting time changing fonts, aligning text and images or worrying that you’ve missed something, the built-in "A.I." bots do it for you. Slides created with Beautiful.ai always come out clean, modern and cohesive because the presentation maker limits what and how much content you can place where. (The key is letting go and trusting the tool, however, which does require a shift in mindset)
Beautiful.ai’s “smart” technology doesn’t stop with slide templates, either. The AI will also suggest ways to visualize your ideas. Plus, users can add images from a library including millions of stunning – and free – photos and icons from the web’s best sources. With a search engine that intuitively suggests images related to practically any topic, it’s simple to create the most beautiful presentation designs.
Round #3: Special Effects
Do the presentation software tools feature animation and other special effects that boost audience engagement?
Visme – Users can wow audiences and bring their visual presentations to life using Visme. The cloud-based presentation software automatically adds animated transitions between each slide using its proprietary AI-based rendering engine, so even the most amateur visual designers can produce memorable presentations. Plus, Visme users can animate any object in their design and create actionable areas like links and pop-ups within their presentations. Interactivity can also be boosted by adding videos, voice overs and even music to Visme presentations.
Beautiful.ai – Since engaged audiences absorb more information, and animations boost audience engagement, it only makes sense that Beautiul.ai’s smart templates automatically add animated transitions between slides. Of course, that doesn’t mean those decisions have to be left up to the design bot. Users can still edit the control, timing and speed of each transition. Some smart templates – such as the popular word cloud – are even animated, further enhancing audience engagement. In terms of advanced interactive presentations, you'll need to look to Prezi or a professional animator, but Beautiful.ai definitely has solid basics.
Round #4: Pricing
What is the cost to upgrade from free to paid for both powerpoint alternatives, and what additional features do you get?
Visme – There is a Basic plan that is free, with limitations on number of projects (max of 5), cloud storage (100 MB), slide templates, download formats (JPG only), and security (public only). However, when compared to other powerpoint alternatives that don't limit number of presentations or seriously narrow the feature set of the Basic plans, Visme is definitely on the more stingy end of the spectrum. It really is amazing how fast we hit that 5 project limit...maybe a day or two?
Beautiful.ai – The Basic plan is 100% free, and gives users up to 200 "smart slides" with no limits on features, templates, collaboration, export and more. For more advanced "presenters," a $12 subscription to Beautiful.ai Pro per month comes with unlimited slides and presentations, the ability to upload custom fonts, download the desktop player, view revision history, viewing analytics and many more additional features. Both free and paid users can export their presentation as PDF or powerpoint files.
Both of the above free powerpoint alternatives are strong contenders, so it really depends on your needs and wants. It should be stated that both Visme and Beautiful.ai are hosted on the cloud and therefore accessible to both Mac and Windows users, which is a plus. Visme features a plethora of bells and whistles for the experienced designer or beginners who are committed to learning the ropes of infographic or presentation design. Beautiful.ai, on the other hand, automates most of the presentation design through artificial intelligence, to ensure your slideshows are always fresh, modern, clean, polished and professional — but it is more basic than Visme, when it comes to the finished product, for sure. So if you're more advanced, you may like Visme. For everyone else, try Beautiful.ai.