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Friday, October 08, 2010

Best Presentation Programs (according to LIfehacker)

Over at they rounded up a list of the five best presentation software packages (as voted on by readers of the site).

From least popular to most popular they listed:
5. Google Presentations
4. Beamer
3. Prezi
2. Keynote
1. PowerPoint

PowerPoint was at the top, largely based on its ubiquity since it's included in the most popular office software supported by the most popular operating system. Users found that Keynote offers a better looking presentation with more professional effects and transitions, but it's hampered by the fact that only about 10% of the computers in the world can run it.

Prezi (which I talked about here) has only been around for 18 months, but they've made a huge splash in a market that didn't look like it had any more room. They offer a free package that is accessible from the web, but leaves a Prezi watermark on your presentations. If you want to ditch the watermark and be able to use the software on your desktop you'll need to pony up some cash for a subscription (up to $159/year).

Beamer is interesting in that it's not a what you see is what you get (WYSIWYG) interface, but rather requires the presenter to write the code for their presentation. The main niche for this tool is people who already know the code for their job. The good news is that you aren't limited by what the software designers decided to include. The bad news is, you'll have to code it in yourself.

Google Presentations came in last place. Honestly they deserved to. I've tried on several occasions to use the Google Docs product and it's generally terrible. The one redeeming factor is that it's available online so collaboration  and access are fantastic. However, formatting, photo manipulation, and transitions are barely included. I could only recommend using Google Presentations to share something that you created in another product, it's just that bad.

What do you think? What tools do you use?

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