The Scoop on Alternatives to PowerPoint – Introduction
Apr 30, 2015 by Karen Daniels
Technology

Are you one of the hundreds of millions of people who use PowerPoint? Yes? Well, if the idea of either creating or sitting through yet another PowerPoint presentation makes you wish you were locked up in an asylum where technology is not allowed, take a deep breath and relax, because there are alternative choices which will not only give you something new to gnaw on but will also help you give your audience something to be excited about.

Sometimes we get used to a certain application to the extent that every business and person are using it. PowerPoint is like that – and honestly it has tons of great uses.

However, there is something to be said for trying something new, something unique which can help you notch up your presentation into something truly interesting and engaging with minimal effort and cost.

In this article series we’re going to be looking into some of the alternatives to PowerPoint – tools you might want to consider when you’re presenting at that next tradeshow or creating a slideshow or video for that large-screen exhibit to attract new customers.

Here are just a few of the many PPT alternative options that are available to you:

  • Prezi
  • PowToon – Beta
  • Emaze
  • CustomShow
  • Sliderocket
  • Slideshark
  • Haiku Deck (for iPads) http://computerrentals.com/products/Mac/Apple-iPad-Rental.php
  • Google Slides
  • SlideDog
  • Slide Bureau
  • Keynote
  • MediaShout

One of the issues with PPT is that far too many presentations are littered with slide after slide of bullet points and static text and images. Or, in an effort to spice things up, people put in way too many transitions and flying images which can become laughable.

So, to combat those static presentation blues, today we’re going to focus on PowToon – an easy-to-use tool which makes it simple to create animated presentations and/or videos.

Bringing in a little animation without having to spend a lot of time doing it, or needing a degree in cartoon science, allows you to engage your audience with more of a story rather than just slides of facts and information.

The entire point of any presentation, whether you’re a speaker or working on creating a breathtaking bit of content for an exhibit, large or small is, of course, to engage and hook your audience.

PowToon makes it easy to do all of this.

If you want to try PowToon out, here are some preliminary things to know:

  • The basic plan is free (has PowToon watermark and video outro) – this gives you the ability to try it out at no cost and you’re limited to 5 min. maximum.
  • They also have a Pro plan and a Business plan (here’s the page of pricing)http://www.powtoon.com/premium/ They also have student and teacher plans.
  • It has easy export options – if you go for a paid version, then you can download to your computer and use as desired
  • You can publish as either a slide show or video

We’ll walk through the basic process to create an animated presentation.

We tried PowToon from a Firefox browser and also Google Chrome – it did glitch out a few times using Firefox – we experienced no problems using Chrome.

1. Sign up and pick a profile type – this customizes your experience. For example, they have student, marketing, business owner and several others. Today we’ll work with the small business owner one. http://www.powtoon.com/

2. Choose to edit a ready-made PowToon, or start one from scratch. To get a feel for this, we’ll begin by editing a ready-made PowToon. If you’re familiar with Word or PPT or other similar programs, a lot of the editing tools will be intuitive to you.

3. We’re going to try out the “Product Launch” ready-made PowToon. Once you select one, you’ll see a small intro video that takes you through the basic tools. After that, your ready-made slide show will load, and you can get right to editing the text and images.

4. On the lower left of the screen you’ll see:

Left Corner

Which is what you’ll use when you want to play your slideshow to check your work. It will always start with the slide that is clicked, so if you want to watch from the beginning, make sure you click on the first slide before you click the play button.

5. To edit the ready-made text or other elements, start by double clicking on it. To edit, add text or effects of icons or characters or images, use the toolbar on the right of your dashboard – it looks like this:

Toolbar

All of this is pretty straightforward. What is a tad more difficult is getting the timing on some of the element transitions to be exactly what you desire. For this article we purposefully did not spend a lot of time changing or prettying things up. The slideshow, which is embedded below, took us less than 20 minutes – we altered text, swapped out some images, and played a little with the text effects. You will note that some of the timing could be improved, but we wanted you to see what it looks like pretty much “out of the box.”

Here is our final animated slideshow:

Once you publish, the final screen will give you options for posting to your social media, getting an embed code (like we used here), generating a transcript, and there is even a link to see all the attribution links of images you selected.

All in all, a reasonably straightforward tool to create a presentation which is definitely not a PowerPoint.

 

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