Create Presentations Online: The Ultimate Guide & Tools
With the introduction of Office 365, Microsoft has set out to optimize its Office package for remote work on the internet. The ability to create presentations online, i.e. in a purely browser-based application, plays a central role here. There are also new features and tools to allow efficient, collaborative work.
So, what are the advantages of creating a presentation online? And what tools are available if you don’t have or want a license for Microsoft products? In this blog post we offer a few answers to these questions and show you how online presentations could be worthwhile for you.
The Advantages of Online PowerPoint Presentations
Free Online Version
First things first: unlike the desktop version of PowerPoint, you can use the online version free of charge. However, the free online version does not offer all the features of the offline 365 version. The biggest disadvantages for most users are that you can’t edit the slide master and nor insert diagrams. This is particularly limiting when creating business presentations.
You can use PowerPoint for the web on PCs, Macs, tablets and smartphones. This makes it possible to work on your presentation from different end devices, meaning it’s mobile and not dependent on location. It is much easier to make changes at short notice, as you can just use your smartphone.
The cross-device usage also means that you no longer need a physical copy of your slides (e.g. on a USB stick) to store your presentation. An internet connection is all you need to access your set of slides and start your presentation! We would still recommend, however, that you bring a copy with you just in case.
In contrast to the offline version of PowerPoint, the online version of the program automatically saves all changes immediately. This minimizes the risk of data loss if the browser is accidentally closed. A positive side effect is that even if the end device suddenly crashes or dies, all your presentations are safely stored on Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud service.
PowerPoint presentations created online can be shared easily and quickly. By sharing your slides, you and your team can work on the same presentation at the same time. There is no need to split and merge presentations and deal with the layout problems that arise. This also eliminates the danger of team members working on different versions of the presentation and nothing quite fitting together in the end.
How to Create an Online PowerPoint Presentation
In PowerPoint Online
To create a presentation in PowerPoint on the web, you need to log on to the Office site: https://www.office.com/. If you don’t have a Microsoft account, you can create one on this page for free.
In PowerPoint 365
If you own Office 365, you can log on to https://office.com/signin and then start it via the Office 365 PowerPoint App Launcher.
Once you’re logged in via either PowerPoint Online or Office 365, you can create new blank presentations, choose from various templates or edit projects you have already created. All you need to do is click the appropriate buttons. It is also possible to upload presentations from your device and then edit them online. To do this, click on the “Upload Presentation” link in the top right-hand corner.
From here on, you can use the online version of PowerPoint almost exactly like the offline version. Create, edit, or move slides, and add effects and images. Apart from the features unavailable online, as mentioned above, the versions are practically identical.
Once your presentation is finalized, you can print, share or download it to save locally under the File menu.
Alternatives to PowerPoint Online
Microsoft is not the only company offering online presentations. We present the major alternatives below, with their pros and cons.
As well as Google Docs and Google Sheets, Google also offers a free alternative to PowerPoint for presentations – Google Slides. Like Microsoft, you only need a Google account to start and use the program in your browser.
Google Slides does not offer as many possibilities as the desktop version of PowerPoint when it comes to effects and visuals. Unlike the free version of PowerPoint, though, you can create online charts and edit the slide master. This means that you can also create business presentations without a problem.
Collaborative working is also easy with Google Slides – you can share presentations with others via email or link with just one click, and choose whether others can see, comment on, or edit your presentation. Just like in PowerPoint 365, it is possible for a team to work on the same presentation at the same time.
Like PowerPoint Online, Google Slides allows you to open and edit PowerPoint presentations, which is very convenient. There are also Google Slides add-ons that include additional features such as special charts, templates and more. But beware – these add-ons are created by third parties and some of them are subject to a fee.
If you want to use Google Slides professionally in larger teams, Google offers a business option. This makes no difference to the program itself and does not include any additional features, but it does increase security. Google Business customers are offered extensive sharing features, and can decide, for example, who can download and print presentations and view comments.
Prezi is another provider of online presentation software. What makes Prezi unique is that it does not use slide sets. Instead, all the content is presented as a single, large slide, around which you navigate during the presentation.
Like Google Slides, Prezi positions itself primarily as an online service; the offline version requires a subscription. You can use Prezi to create presentations online and share them with others via links. Up to ten people can work on a slide at the same time, and an overview window shows who is currently where.
Prezi allows you to control presentations remotely; i.e. if someone starts a presentation on site, you can guide through the presentation from anywhere. This is especially helpful when international teams are presenting a topic together, but not everyone is on site. It also means that any smartphone can be used as a remote control; you can therefore present whatever the technical environment on site.
With Adobe Spark, you can create presentations for free without the need for design skills. Adobe uses a so-called presentation generator with visual design tools to create professional charts and presentations. In addition to ready-made layouts, you can add videos and media to your slides and choose from templates with free images, video clips and icons to illustrate your message.
There are other options for creating presentations on the internet. Sites like Zoho [https://www.zoho.com/], Pitch [https://pitch.com/] and Slides.com [https://slides.com/] offer broadly similar feature sets to PowerPoint Online, Google Slides and Prezi. The differences are negligible and rarely worth mentioning. Ultimately, what you choose depends on the software being acceptable to your team.
PowerPoint stands out from the others as a program that can be used fully offline. If you don’t have an Internet connection, you can still work on or deliver your presentations. Whilst this is rare nowadays, it can sometimes help.
We should also mention a few applications that are intended to facilitate online collaboration. Mobility is becoming more and more important nowadays, and teams are increasingly international, which means that demand for such solutions is growing. You don’t need to have a huge multinational company to benefit from these, however; teamwork and the effective transfer of knowledge are important in every company!
Microsoft Teams is a teamwork hub and Office 365 app that fuses group chat software with collaboration tools. Messages can be sent to individual users, selected groups or to all members. By exchanging messages in real time, communication becomes more efficient and it aims to avoid the flooded inboxes that can happen with e-mails. In addition to chat, Microsoft also offers teams the option of using a variety of video and audio communication options. Meetings with external parties, even entire webinars, can be realized via Microsoft Teams. Microsoft Teams is ideally suited to small and medium-sized teams, increasing the efficiency of group work. In large companies, the logistical challenges can be greater, but Microsoft Teams has gradually developed into a powerful solution. The app is free of charge for Office 365 users and also allows you to edit PowerPoint presentations together.
Similar to Microsoft Teams are Slack [https://slack.com/] and Workplace [https://www.facebook.com/workplace] from Facebook. Each of these options has minor advantages and disadvantages, but since Microsoft is solidly behind both Microsoft Teams and PowerPoint, the integration in Teams works seamlessly. It’s possible, for example, to upload PPTX files to a team chat and then work on them together.
SharePoint is another web-based platform for document management and collaboration developed by Microsoft. The program is aimed more at large groups or companies requiring a solid structure for data exchange. SharePoint is ideal for long-term storage of data and documents and also for real-time collaboration. With the introduction of Office 365, a cloud-enabled version of SharePoint was also introduced as SharePoint 365, which interacts perfectly with the Office 365 applications and simplifies data exchange in cross-departmental collaboration.
Depending on your needs, Microsoft Teams and SharePoint both provide you with highly suitable tools for networked teamwork. These tools can be used to meet your company’s individual needs, making both short-term and long-term collaboration as easy as possible.
Conclusion: Why Not Try Creating Presentations Online?
As you can see, there is now a wide range of applications that can be used to create online presentations. Since the different providers try to fit in with each other and new features are quickly adopted by the competition, the differences are pretty negligible.
In the end, choosing a favorite comes down to personal preference. Just as long as it suits your team!
PowerPoint 365 users are likely to use PowerPoint for the Web, while Google Power users will use Google Slides. All applications are at a similarly high level, though, making it increasingly easy to create high-quality presentations for free and without the need to install software.
We recommend that you simply try out the different options and find out which one suits you best. The various apps work in pretty much the same way, so switching between them is easy. Go on a search and find your personal favorite for creating presentations!