Non-Office Options: For when you don’t have PowerPoint

A recent house guest of mine was asked to do a Pecha Kucha while here in New York City.  She’s a surface-textile designer and doesn’t really use Microsoft Office products and doesn’t feel it’s worth the investment for the singular presentation.  She asked me what her options are, which had me thinking that others may be wondering what their options are as well.

For script writing:

  • Google documents:  similar to Microsoft Word and easy for joint editing.  Stores on your Google Drive
  • Open Office: Mirrors a lot of the functionality of Office, but is run by a group of open coders.  Colors don’t always translate well!
  • Pages:  Part of iWork, Apple’s answer to Microsoft Office.  Is more affordable and you can export your documents to Microsoft products. ~$20 in the US
  • Notes: a function on iPads and iPhones that you can export in email
  • Email:  it’s not pretty, but it spell checks.  Be sure to send the email to yourself!

Slide design:

  • Google documents: They have a slide function with very limited capabilities, but better than nothing!
  • Keynote: Cheaper than Microsoft Office, only works on Mac.  Has some functionality that you can’t get in PowerPoint, lacks a few other features, but only features that a PowerPoint Pro would miss.  Runs videos more smoothly.  Preferred format in many design circles.  Has an export to PowerPoint function, but slides need to be checked.
  • Open Office: Mirrors a lot of the functionality of Office, but is run by a group of open coders.  Colors don’t always translate well!  Limited number of functions.  Your documents need to be double checked in PowerPoint later.
  • SlideRocket: More functionality than Google documents.  Is also a great platform for giving presentations online both live and recorded.  There are fremium and premium tiers with different functionalities.  Closest option to PowerPoint without purchasing PowerPoint outright.  Worth an exploration in it’s own right!  You can export to PowerPoint or to a .pdf.  Also a stand-alone document to be run offline, but that requires the premium membership.  Update: SlideRocket was purchased and is now ClearSlide.  ClearSlide is focused on small companies and offers licensees for 4 or more users.  
  • Prezi:  It’s also got fremium and premium options.  It’s meant to be used in more of a motion-graphic sort of manner, but it does have a function where you can export your slides by stops.  Limited fonts and templates at this point in time (but full customization is coming in the future!)  If connected online, you can use Youtube and Vimeo videos directly without having to download.  The best Prezis have centralized metaphors, which doesn’t work for all audiences. You can’t export to PowerPoint but you can download as a .pdf for those situations when you really need a printed presentation. More here.
  • slid.es:  Similar look and feel to Keynote, but with less customization unless you are a CSS coder, at which point it’s VERY customizable   You have to show these either online or pay the $7 a month subscription fee to share offline in their own software.  You can save to .pdf.  Really meant for online sharing, lots of links into social media.  It’s still in it’s earlier days of development and is really promising.
  • Hire someone:  You can always go old school and just hand write it all out or work with a designer.

Do you have any other ideas?

software-options

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