Most academics, entrepreneurs, executives, team leaders, organizers, and others rely on presentation slides to communicate. No wonder 70 percent of them consider presentation skills critical to career success. People often suffer from the dilemma of choosing the right app — Google Slides or Microsoft PowerPoint?
But what software will help your presentation pop? Well, the answer depends on factors like:
You already use a familiar software.
You need it for team collaboration.
Extending features with Add-ons and Extensions.
And there are lot of such factors that come in to play. Whether you plan to use it internally or presenting materials to the client, the usage highly influences the choice.
Should Popularity Influence Your Choice
When most people think of using a presentation tool, they probably think of Microsoft PowerPoint by default.
And that is quite obvious and makes sense since PowerPoint has been around for more than three decades now. Meanwhile, Google Slides has only been around for a decade. However, it amasses users steadily.
There are some apparent reasons why people use PowerPoint name in tandem with presentations.
It's the only presentation tool they've ever used.
PowerPoint comes with the MS Office package with the other apps.
Widely supported and used.
Google Slides users might argue that they love the tool because it's available on the cloud. But PowerPoint has suddenly caught on with the age of the internet. You can use PowerPoint online, save on OneDrive, and collaborate in real-time. Of course, owning the Office 365 subscription makes it easier.
So it looks like the competition is getting tougher. Amidst this battle for your slides, it is tricky to pick the right app for your usage. Does PowerPoint's dominance mean it's better?
We have the answer you might be looking for. Read on.
Templates and User Interface
Google Slides and PowerPoint have a similar interface. You won't feel completely lost going from one presentation software to the other. However, they have unique templates. For both presentation tools, you'll have to sign in to your respective accounts.
When you sign in to PowerPoint online, what you'll find it looking like the image below.
At first glance, you might think Google Slides doesn't have that many templates. But that assumption only holds until you click on the diverging arrows. See the image below.
These templates are also called Google Slides Themes.
Presentation Design Canvas
The presentation document design canvas for both PowerPoint and Google Slides are pretty much the same. So if you're used to PowerPoint and want to give Google Slides, you'll barely feel out of place there.
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PowerPoint Online lets you switch between the classic and simplified ribbons. Here's what the classic Ribbon interface looks like — quaint and concise.
And here's the simplified ribbon, which looks quite busy.
Adding New Slides
If you want to add new presentation slides to your document, you can do so quite easily. For both tools, go to the top left-hand side of your screen, click on the 'New Slide' to add a fresh slide to your presentation.
Here’s how you add new slides to PowerPoint.
Click the “+” and then choose a new canvas to use.
Google Slides and PowerPoint lets you design and present your slides instantly. You won't download or export any documents.
How Presenting Online Works in Google Slides
On the Google Slides platform, you can find the online Presentation option by clicking on the Present button.
That action instantly opens your slides in fullscreen, and then you can start presenting. But the instant presentation isn't your only option. You have a couple of customization options too.
You can present to a connected audience, hold Q&A sessions, and still access your speaker notes.
This option is excellent for webinars and other connected presentation settings. You can access this option by clicking on the arrow on the Present button. And then click on Presenter View to access this feature. That feature is probably one thing that makes Google Slides stand out.
Google Slides' Presenter View lets you do a host of things, which includes quickly making a presentation and even managing it smartly. Set, pause, and manage your presentation timer.
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Move between slides smoothly. You can see your previous slides, next slides, or jump to specific slides from your drop-down menu.
For live presentations, you can interact with your audience in real-time. So you can host Q&A sessions, polls, and other audience engagement actions.
The Presenter View feature also lets you keep speaker notes.
How Presenting Online Works in PowerPoint
The PowerPoint design isn't web-first. So it's online presentation capabilities are weak.
But the tool makes up for this weakness in other ways, like offering the Subtitle feature. Hence, you can speak to a mixed audience without much worry.
But this isn’t a feature I’d explore. I’d rather not outsource language interpretations to a piece of software. They can be incorrect or out of context. Although Google Slides is available in 65 languages, you can't subtitle your documents automatically.
To use the subtitle feature on powerPoint online, make sure you are on the classic ribbon, not the simplified ribbon.
On PowerPoint, you can access the "Play from Beginning" or "Play from Current Slide" feature right on the top navigation bar of the tool. This feature is consistent for PowerPoint across all platforms.
Behavior Across Platforms
Google Slides works on the web but lets you work on offline mode too. Just make sure to switch it to offline mode before going offline.
You can also use this Google tool on the iOS platform, but not on Mac. Albeit, you may download your presentation in Microsoft PowerPoint format if you have the Microsoft Office suite on your Mac.
Summarily, Google Slides works on the web, Android, iOS, PC, and Mac. All Slides' features remain uniform across platforms.
Microsoft PowerPoint works differently. Only the Windows PC version has the complete capabilities of PowerPoint. You won't find some PowerPoint features in its Mac, Web, Mobile, Android, or iOS versions.
You can assess all platform-based features of PowerPoint on the Microsoft website. Here are some of the specific features they cover:
PowerPoint Online is free, so you can quickly assess its features and decide if you're better off sticking with it. Or buy the PC version.
Exporting Your Presentation Document
Apart from being 100 percent free, Google Slides downloads to PC and Mac. Albeit, you'll need PowerPoint for Mac.
But you can even boycott PowerPoint by downloading your Slides as a PDF. A PDF reader like Adobe will do the trick.
You can access all of Google Slides' download options by clicking on File > Download > [C].
On the PowerPoint web, you can export your presentation almost as you'd export it on Google Slides.
Go to File > Download As > choose from the available options in B.
Battle of the Spreadsheets
These two presentation tools have their strong points and weak points. The online counterparts of both tools are free to use. So it all boils down to your convenience and requirements. That said, Google Slides has three critical things that PowerPoint lacks.
A uniform experience across platforms
Near-zero learning curve
Free to use across platforms
I love predictability. I want to have the same experience regardless of the platforms I use. So I don’t want to design my slides on my PC only to wind up having difficulties using it on the cloud.
And for this reason, I'd declare Google Slides the winner.
Next Up: Now that you know that Google Slides gives you a significant advantage, you might want to extend its functionalities. Learn how to add animations to your Google Slides in the next post below.