4 Free Alternatives to PowerPoint

Last Updated Dec 14, 2010 2:47 PM EST

PowerPoint is the hands-down gold standard in presentation tools today. And it's not just because Microsoft has some sort of lock on the industry; PowerPoint is a superb tool that makes creating and delivering presentations easy. But you already know all that. The real reason you're all gathered here today is to find out if there are any worthwhile alternatives to the ubiquitous PowerPoint.

Spoiler alert: Yes, there are some great options out there, and they're free.

Courtesy of MakeUseOf, here are four free alternatives to PowerPoint that you should check out today. Some are just handy free options for situations in which you don't have access to PowerPoint, and some offer some compelling advantages to boot.

Google Docs Presentation. Google Docs isn't just a weak Word replacement; you can also use it to create Web-based presentations. You certainly don't get a lot of visual horsepower with this app, but it gives you a fallback if Google Docs is all you have easy access to.

SlideRocket. Unlike Google Docs, SlideRocket is a full-featured powerhouse of a presentation package. And indeed, it costs money ($24/month for the 1GB storage Pro version, for example) -- though the Lite version gives up to five people 250MB of storage for free. SlideRocket does everything you'd expect from a modern presentation tool, including the ability to apply gorgeous themes, add charts, video, and Flash animations.

280 Slides. Unlike the other PowerPoint alternatives listed here, this one embraces PowerPoint -- you can import an existing deck and edit it, so you don't have to start from scratch if you already have something created.

Prezi. I love Prezi -- I raved about it earlier this year. Prezi dispenses with the idea of individual slides. You get one huge canvas on which you can add text, images, and shapes. You scatter these elements anywhere you want on the page, and then build a path that you can use to "fly" through the presentation. There's never a page change or a "next slide, please" moment - it's all one big seamless zoom around an infinite virtual backdrop.