The 15 best presentation software options in 2021

Edited by Nataly Bogorad

November 23, 2021

A lot has changed since 2020. While the COVID-19 pandemic certainly accelerated remote work and virtual meetings, people were already collaborating across thousands of miles in remote offices and work-from-home settings. Now, in a post-pandemic world, we’re seeing more need than ever before for high-quality slide decks – both online and in person. So, what’s the best presentation software available today? Let’s explore some of the top options to help you create an unforgettable presentation.

Quick summary

  • Editor’s choice: Fastreel
  • A robust presentation maker and editor available online with numerous templates, tools, and features at affordable per-presentation or per-month subscription pricing. We love the animation and transition features for presentations that really pop.

  • Top freeware pick: Google Slides
  • Great for veteran PowerPoint users who want a free platform with unlimited collaboration. Includes enough templates for most presenters who don’t need a lot of frills. Google Slides excels in its sharing capabilities.

  • Fastest presentation software for Mac: Apple Keynote
  • Included with most Mac and iOS devices, Apple Keynote is free in the App Store and gives Mac users a fast and easy way to create and collaborate on presentations. Apple claims it works for PCs as well, but it does best with Apple products.

  • Easiest online presentation maker: Canva
  • Canva started out as a free, easy alternative to Photoshop and it extends that reputation to its presentation-creation tools. Users can start from scratch or choose from free and paid designs for a range of topics and purposes.

  • Most attractive design templates: Beautiful.ai
  • Perfect for users who want professional-looking presentations but don’t have the time or design skills to do all the graphics work. Beautiful.ai’s templates are some of the most attractive we’ve found.

  • Best software for video conferences: Prezi
  • Designed specifically to integrate with video calls and online presentations, Prezi lets users overlay their presentation graphics and content on their videos – so you retain a human touch, even on remote calls and presentations.

  • Most compatible presentation format: Microsoft PowerPoint
  • While it doesn’t have all of the features of many newer presentation applications, PowerPoint is the original, and most applications allow imports and exports of PowerPoint files. Users with PowerPoint can often work with other platforms when needed by importing their existing presentation decks.

  • Best software for sharing to social networks: Genially
  • Genially’s value really comes out in its premium plan, with more export options and analytics tools. Its social sharing feature is very intuitive and convenient.

  • Best software for minimalist presentations: Haiku Deck
  • Haiku Deck takes its design aesthetics seriously. A lot of people try to do too much with their slides, and things can get muddled and ugly very quickly. By limiting slide text and other editing tools, Haiku Deck ensures beautiful, minimalist looks for each slide.

  • Best software for live sharing: SlideDog
  • With multiple import format capabilities, including Prezi and PDF, SlideDog is great for live sharing, especially for dynamic presentations with audio and video components.

  • Best presentation software for marketing teams: CustomShow
  • A lot of the features and tools available in CustomShow might be lost on individual presenters, but they’re essential for marketing teams, especially in the business-to-business world.

  • Best single-use presentation software: DesignCap
  • For presenters on a budget who don’t have to make multiple presentations every month, DesignCap’s free version is a great option. And the paid version is inexpensive enough to be attractive too.

  • Easiest professional-level presentation slides: Visme
  • Great for presenters who need something that looks “boardroom-ready” without spending a ton of time or money on design work – especially if you don’t mind exporting your presentation as a JPG.

  • Best full office suite: Libre Office Impress
  • If you only want presentation software, LibreOffice probably isn’t your best bet, but if you’re looking for a freeware alternative to Microsoft Office with a built-in presentation creator, this is a great option.

  • Best on-the-go presentation software for Mac: FlowVella
  • Designed specifically for mobile, FlowVella works beautifully on iPhones and iPads. And, if you’re willing to pay for the premium version, you can remove the watermark and create unlimited presentations and slides.

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Review: Best animated presentation software options in 2021

Fastreel is an online slideshow maker that allows users to upload images and videos in multiple file formats to create attractive slideshow presentations. Users have control over image duration and transition types, and Fastreel lets you upload your own music or choose from its library of music options. If you don’t mind having a watermark on your final slideshow, Fastreel may be the best free presentation software for you. Users who want to remove the watermark from their presentations may opt for a one-time export fee of $5.95 per video or an unlimited premium subscription at $9.95 per month or $119.40 billed annually.

What are its best features?

  • A user-friendly interface
  • Compatible with any OS with a supported browser
  • Includes advanced editing tools lacking in most presentation software

What could be improved?

  • A watermark in the free version
  • You must be online to create presentations

Google Slides is an online presentation platform with a similar interface to Microsoft PowerPoint. The platform is free, and users may collaborate with as many teammates as they want. The platform includes multiple templates for different presentation types, including portfolios, lesson plans, proposals, case studies, status reports, and others.

What are its best features?:

  • 100% free
  • Automatically saves slides
  • Easy sharing and accessibility

What could be improved?:

  • Limited animation and transition options
  • Formatting loss when importing existing presentations
  • Limited export options

Apple Keynote is free presentation software by Apple that’s included with most Apple devices. While some users consider it the best presentation software for a Mac, it’s also available for PCs. It includes real-time online collaboration options, as well as the capability to create illustrations, charts, and diagrams using an Apple Pencil on an iPad. PC users who have experience with Apple products may enjoy this presentation creator and editor, but those who aren’t accustomed to Apple’s interfaces may experience some challenges.

What are its best features?

  • An easy learning curve for Mac users
  • Export options include PowerPoint and QuickTime formats
  • Quick and easy on-the-go presenting capabilities

What could be improved?

  • A steeper learning curve for non-Apple users
  • Formatting issues with imported documents
  • No timeline display for animations

Canva is a well-known online design application, but – thanks to recent updates – it now does much more than simple designs for social posts. With Canva’s new presentations feature, users can design, share, and collaborate on presentations online through the Canva site. The interface is very similar to Canva’s design interface, with available presentation templates, design elements, fonts, and the capability to upload and use your own images. You cannot import an existing presentation, though, which can be problematic for users who have started on a deck and want the freedom to revise and collaborate on their existing work.

What are its best features?:

  • Free online presentation creation, editing, and collaborating
  • A user-friendly interface
  • Multiple preloaded fonts

What could be improved?:

  • Limited to 30 slides per presentation
  • No animation features
  • No transition options

Don’t have time to create a custom presentation deck? Beautiful.ai claims that it does all the hard design work for you. While this application prides itself on its library of fully customizable, professionally designed templates, you’ll still have to input your deck’s content and make changes to slide designs to fit your presentation. In that sense, it’s similar to Canva and other platforms that provide a range of templates and presentation themes.

What are its best features?

  • Easy to use
  • Professional-looking templates
  • Lots of free images to illustrate slide content

What could be improved?

  • Issues copying and pasting from other applications
  • No “Undo” button
  • Limited user control in templates

Prezi is a presentation platform that focuses specifically on video-presentation capabilities. Instead of sharing your screen in a video conference or online presentation, you can share your presentation slides alongside or overlaid on the video output of your face. Basically, your audience will still see you as you speak, but they’ll also see your presentation – and you can interact with your presentation elements on screen.

What are its best features?

  • An intuitive interface
  • Highly customizable
  • Adaptable for formal or casual presentations, gameplay, and other presentation scenarios

What could be improved?

  • No offline or download capabilities in the free version
  • Uses a lot of storage and processing power
  • Slow load times

For many users, Microsoft PowerPoint is the original presentation creator. For years, instead of referring to presentations as decks or slideshows, people simply called them “PowerPoints.” PowerPoint is available for Mac or PC and now has a mobile app version as well. Templates and themes are available for PowerPoint presentations, or users can start with a blank slate and create their own custom templates.

What are its best features?

  • Easy slide customization
  • 100% customizability for font sizes and colors
  • Easily insert photos and other media from desktop

What could be improved?

  • Dated template designs
  • No capability to add video-based slide templates
  • Adding custom fonts can be difficult

Genially is a free online application for creating and collaborating on presentation decks. It includes free and premium subscriptions. If you opt for the free version, you can access free templates and resources, and you can make and view as many presentations as you want. Paid versions include features like importing PowerPoint files, inserting audio files, removing the watermark, and integrating Google Analytics, among others.

What are its best features?

  • Easy to use
  • Interactive elements
  • Easy sharing to Facebook and other social networks

What could be improved?:

  • Cannot remove the watermark in the free or basic premium version
  • Difficulties saving work if users need to stop and come back later
  • Few templates for the free version

Haiku Deck is an option for the best presentation software for Mac, especially for mobile users. If you’re creating and sharing presentations from an iPhone or iPad, this platform is specifically designed for you. It includes a range of fonts, image filters, and layouts to create professional-looking slides and decks, and you can choose from templates based on categories like Startup Pitch, Culture and Core Values, or Professional Profile. While the designs are minimalist and beautiful, some users don’t appreciate the limit that Haiku Deck places on the content of each slide. You can only add about five lines of text or bullet points per slide.

What are its best features?

  • A fast learning curve
  • Flickr integration for photo uploads
  • A capability to save presentations as videos

What could be improved?:

  • Very limited free features
  • No way to export files without creating an account
  • No way to add more than a few lines of text to each slide

SlideDog is free-download presentation software with a monthly or lifetime subscription fee after an initial trial period. Subscriptions start at $19 per month, or you can opt to pay $299 for a lifetime subscription for two users. With your subscription, you get free software upgrades, offline presentation capabilities, and the ability to use the software on two devices simultaneously for collaboration purposes. Along with creating presentations in the software, SlideDog also includes a playlist feature and the ability to add videos to your presentation from YouTube.

What are its best features?

  • Live sharing capabilities
  • Seamless playback
  • Import capabilities for PDF, Prezi, PowerPoint, and others

What could be improved?:

  • Not compatible with Apple products
  • A small preview window
  • Very limited design modification capabilities

CustomShow is presentation software designed for B2B (business-to-business) sales and marketing teams. Its main focus is on audience engagement, through professionally designed templates, simulcast capabilities, audience engagement and insights tracking, and collaboration across multiple teams. CustomShow also gives users the means to build slide libraries for sales and marketing teams to use – with version control options to maintain brand consistency across presentations. If you’re an individual presenter or you’re not in the sales and marketing world, this may not be the best presentation software for your needs – but it excels in its specific area.

What are its best features?

  • Easy sharing and collaboration
  • Useful metrics
  • Video input capabilities

What could be improved?:

  • May crash unexpectedly
  • No way to import a full existing PowerPoint presentation
  • Limited editing features

DesignCap is an online presentation maker with free and paid options. Users on a budget can get access to limited templates and stock media (images and videos), but you can only save up to five designs per month. Further, with the free plan, you may only upload five of your own images per month, as well. If you’re looking for a relatively inexpensive way to produce multiple presentations each month, paid plans start at $4.99 per month.

What are its best features?

  • Easy to use
  • Relatively inexpensive paid plans
  • No watermark on free presentations

What could be improved?:

  • Very limited image uploads for the free plan
  • No high-resolution exports in the free plan
  • Limited editing capabilities

Visme markets itself as more than just presentation software. Along with “boardroom-ready” presentations, this software includes pre-made charts and infographics, branding for online and print documents, and designs for social posts. Unlike some other presentation software options, Visme also includes tools to create and edit animations and short videos for your presentations. But is it the best animated presentation software? That depends on your budget. While it’s largely aimed at businesses, Visme does have a free version with limited templates and design assets. Unless you opt for the business plan, though, you’ll only be able to download your presentations as JPG files. Starting at $29.99 per month, you can download PPX, HTML5, and video file formats.

What are its best features?

  • Attractive templates
  • A capability to save frequently-used elements for fast access
  • Easy content creation for branding and marketing teams

What could be improved?:

  • Very limited download formats for free version
  • Limited editing and modification of design elements
  • Glitchy text box formatting

LibreOffice Impress is open-source presentation software included with LibreOffice’s suite of applications. While it doesn’t have a lot of the pre-made designs and templates that some other tools boast, Impress has a wide range of editing and content creation tools. Users can create animations and effects for their slides, and the software’s Fontworks tool has 2D and 3D capabilities. When it’s time to present, Impress excels with multi-screen capabilities and options to see your notes and upcoming slides while presenting.

What are its best features?

  • 100% free and open-source
  • Easy to use
  • A good alternative to Microsoft Office tools

What could be improved?:

  • You must download the full LibreOffice suite
  • Lack of premade templates and designs
  • Users report frequent software bugs

FlowVella is a presentation-making app designed specifically for use with tablets for presenters on the go. While it is versatile across desktop and mobile platforms, it’s only compatible with macOS and iOS. Users will need a Mac computer, iPhone, or iPad to use this software. The free trial allows users to create up to four public presentations with up to 10 “flows” (slides) each. During the free trial, slides will include a “Created in FlowVella” watermark. After the free trial, users may opt for plans starting at $10 per month or billed annually at $60. At this rate, you can create unlimited presentations and slides, get password protection and additional privacy features, analytics, and no watermark. At $20 per month or $200 billed annually, you get additional features, such as private team sharing, alerts when someone views your presentation, and access to FlowVella’s online presentation player.

What are its best features?

  • A free trial
  • Multimedia import capabilities
  • Works online and offline

What could be improved?:

  • A watermark in the free trial
  • Not compatible with PC or Android
  • Users report periodic software glitches

Summary: Four things to keep in mind when choosing the best presentation software

Now that you’ve read through our reviews of the top 15 presentation software options available today, you should have all the info you need to make the best choice for your needs. As you consider which software to use, you’ll want to answer a few questions:

  • What types of presentations will you be making? If you’re making presentations with your company’s marketing team, you’ll be making very different slide decks than if you’re presenting a project to your class or pitching a startup idea.
  • How often will you need to create presentations? If you only need to make a single presentation, you might find a free version of one of these applications that will do everything you need. If you’re going to be making multiple presentations every month, you may want to consider a paid subscription or freeware option.
  • How many slides do you need in your presentation? If you’re on a budget, a free trial or basic plan could work for your presentation needs, but you’ll need to ensure that the application you choose doesn’t place limitations on how many slides you can create for your presentation.
  • Will you need videos and animations in your deck? If you really want to engage your audience and keep their attention, you should consider the best animation presentation software to meet your needs. Look for editing features and tools, transitions, and animation effects, along with video capabilities. We recommend giving Fastreel a try for this.

Take a moment to answer these questions for yourself. Then, with those answers in mind, consider each of the applications we reviewed in this article. Hopefully, this will help you identify the best option for all your presentation needs. And, while you’re at it, why not do a trial run with Fastreel to see what you can make? Good luck!

Nataly Bogorad

Nataly Bogorad is a content creator and a chief editor. With qualifications in English and American studies and art criticism, she specializes in writing SEO-optimized and user-friendly content. Nataly graduated from Universität Kassel with a bachelor of arts degree and worked as a project assistant for Regionalmanagement Nordhessen GmbH.