Beyond Powerpoint

Even though Microsoft Powerpoint is our old standby, there are other options to help get your point across. Consider changing things up a bit by experimenting with some of the tools below as either alternatives to Powerpoint, or opportunities to extend what you'd normally do with your presentations.

Alternatives to Powerpoint

  • Keynote - Apple's version of Powerpoint, with a few twists. Building a presentation works nearly the same, slides are created in a linear fashion. The presentation can be run directly from desktop/laptop/ipad.

  • SkyDrive - Microsoft's cloud connection to MS Office and its version of Google Docs/Drive. MS offers both free and paid versions of SkyDrive. In both, users can create office documents in a web browser and store/run them from the Internet.

  • Google Drive - Google's web-based Office Suite. This cloud-based presentation tool works much like Powerpoint, but it is truly meant to be collaborative. Share your slides, present them in real time, embed them elsewhere, share them with a link, etc.

  • Prezi - You've probably seen Prezi by now - the cloud-based presentation/collaboration tool. It's a completely different way of thinking about presenting information. Unlike Powerpoint, which is linear by default, Prezi offers a nearly-unlimited whitespace canvas on which to jot ideas, place media, etc. almost in a brainstorm mode. It can be collaborative, offering the ability to build a presentation with others. It is web-based, and quite slick. There is a bit of a learning curve, especially if you are more of a linear thinker/planner. Read this blog post about effective uses of Prezi. Also, be sure to sign up for the Education version - more features/still free.

  • Animoto - Make a collage of photos, videos, and short text. Think of Animoto as a way to make movie trailers, commercials for class, tours, and high-energy photo slideshows. Create on the web, present live, or share the link - very professional looking results, and very easy to use.


  • Haiku Deck - iPad-Only presentation creator - slick tools, great for imagery, creative charts - once created on the ipad, can be shared via social-media sites/web

Extending Powerpoint (and other presentation tools)

  • Slideshare - Once you've created your Powerpoint or Keynote presentation, consider uploading it to SlideShare. SlideShare is a web-based presentation-sharing tool. Using this will let your students/attendees view your presentation after the fact (or during), without having to download the slides. Using SlideShare is another way you can avoid printing out slides, and attendees like being able to review your slides often, and share the link with others. Slideshare has been called a YouTube community for presentations.

Other Ways to Present/Share

  • Blackboard Collaborate - free for UVA employees. Blackboard Collaborate (formerly Elluminate) is a collaborative, "live-meeting" tool designed to share presentations, live lectures, slideshows, video, etc. to students. Students can chat, share files, video/audio conference. Sessions can also be recorded/archived in a Collab site.

  • Panopto - also free for UVA staff/faculty. Panopto is a very slick tool for lecture captures/video sharing. Faculty can create screen demonstrations, regular narrated powerpoint presentations, and edit/record them to share and archive for student viewing.
  • Google Hangouts- use Google Hangout to host live chat/video sessions, share YouTube videos, etc. Google Hangout is similar to Skype, and primarily geared toward small-group demonstrations/sharing/chat. See more here.

A large presentation about visual imagery, slide tips, etc.:

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