The slideshow has become an indispensable tool for sharing information in a compelling way—and fortunately, there are lots of ways to get your excellent work in front of viewers!
Here are eight top choices, divided into two groups: one group of sites where you can upload and share existing PowerPoint presentations, and another group featuring sites that combine presentation development with sharing functionality. All are free, except as noted.
These apps vary widely in focus–some stressing integration with social media, others providing a robust business environment. Which one to use will depend on the requirements of a particular presentation situation. So let’s take a look.
Begin with a PowerPoint:
1. SlideShare is probably the best known and most used presentation-sharing platform. LOTS of presentations to view, and options for posting your own either publicly or privately. There are easy connections to LinkedIn and Facebook. SlideShare accepts PowerPoint, Open Office and Keynote presentations, but does not preserve animation, transitions, or narration, and does not support embedded audio or video.
2. SlideBoom converts PowerPoint to Flash, and will preserve movement and sound. The site offers search-and-share capabilities similar to SlideShare, along with a Blog Sidebar Widget and a free PowerPoint add-in (iSpring) that enables you to convert a presentation to Flash in PowerPoint. A basic SlideBoom account is free, and there is also a Pro account that includes more storage and added features for $99 a year. SlideBoom also offers sophisticated business solutions.
3. SlideServe is very similar to the basic version of SlideBoom.
4. Scribd is quite different from the first three platforms listed. It’s a very popular (50 million viewers a month) document publishing site that enables users to upload all sorts of file formats—including PowerPoint presentations–for conversion to iPaper, a beautiful online reading format. Scribd also provides sophisticated community and search tools, plus an iPaper viewer that can be embedded on your own website. Scribd does not support any transitions, animation or embedded media in presentations.
Can begin without a PowerPoint:
5. 208 Slides is something of a hybrid, and the main goal seems to be simplicity. It lets you create and share slides via its online application–which is pretty basic–or you can upload a PowerPoint presentation and then enhance it, using a streamlined interface and tools that let you gather media easily. Then you can send the finished presentation to SlideShare, or download it to PowerPoint. No transitions or animation.
6. SlideRocket is intended as a replacement, not an accompaniment, for PowerPoint. It offers a fully functional presentation development application, with stunning 3-D transition effects. Although you can store and share presentations via Slide Rocket, there is no social platform—the focus is on creation. The basic account is free, with additional account levels (that include extra features like web meetings and presentation analytics) available at $10 and $20 per month.
7. Slide doesn’t create conventional slideshows at all, and has nothing to do with PowerPoint. It lets you create a “show” containing images (which you upload or select from a social media site), then apply an effect (such as rotating the images, collaging them, melting them, etc.) and optionally add audio from Slide’s music library. The images then play in the slide space, which is inside a “skin” that can be customized (for example, the images can play on a drive-in movie screen). Finally, you post the show on one or more social media accounts, or get the code and embed it on your own site, or email it. Slide defines itself as a “social entertainment application.”
8. Zoho Show is part of the Zoho suite, which provides a long list of online alternatives to desktop applications (Zoho Write, Zoho Sheet, Zoho Project, and so on). Show can start with a PowerPoint presentation, but provides a nice toolset for creating slides directly, including some attractive themes. It replicates much PowerPoint functionality, but transitions and animation are not yet available. Zoho makes it easy to export (to HTML, PDF, PPT, etc.), publish, and share presentations.