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PowerPoint, Google Slides, or Keynote? How do I choose and why does it matter?

PowerPoint, Google Slides, or Keynote? Years ago, you didn’t need to ask this question.

PowerPoint! It’s been the only game in town for so long. PowerPoint has been the brunt of disgruntled viewers who have had to sit through some of the worst, agonizing presentations ever. The truth of the matter, it’s not PowerPoint – it’s the presenter, but that’s for another day.

Let’s talk about the tools.

It’s 2018 and the good news is you have so many really great options to consider. Microsoft PowerPoint, Google Slides, and Apple Keynote are all strong presentation design tools. So how do you choose which one is best for you? Based on my experience – it depends on the features as well as how the final deliverable is going to be viewed and used over time.

Here is what has prompted me to write this article – we are hearing this on a regular basis. As one of my clients stated,

“Company wide decision to use Macs and they chose Keynote before I came. I hate it because nobody else seems to use it and it presents all kinds of problems with sending the deck outside the company.”

If you are an individual that primarily works alone on your decks

It makes sense to use the tool that matches your style of work. Let’s say you are a big believer in Apple products and for years have used Apple based applications. The Apple Keynote user interface, key commands, and shortcuts are going to be very familiar to you. If you are just presenting and don’t need to share your deck with outside users that may need to edit and customize it, then Apple Keynote certainly makes sense.

Another example – You just started at a new company and your role on the channel marketing team is to get a new presentation designed for your partners. 

Okay, so this is when it gets a little more challenging. You have to know your end user audience. It may be tempting to use an online presentation tool, like Google Slides, they are easy to use and can offer whiz-bang features. However, if you are distributing the presentation to a large group of channel partners for example, and they are likely going to need to edit content, then you need to find out which presentation tool the majority of your audience is going to be familiar with. Again, based on our experiences in a case like this, it very likely PowerPoint would be the most popular tool.

As an agency focused on presentation design, we need to be able to support them all, but what brought this on? Well, even the longtime favorite Microsoft PowerPoint now offers an online version. In my opinion, this is what has pushed many enterprise level clients to consider new options to the Office Suite of tools. PowerPoint has had a hold on this market for so long. However, the market is changing dramatically and new online presentation tools will continue to grow.

In short, it’s all good news as all of our options are getting better. Just remember to you keep your audience in mind and understanding how your presentation will be viewed, shared, and edited.

David Kelleher
David Kelleher