Slideshow maker software facilitates the creation of slideshows full of text, pictures, video and special effects, which, in a business setting, are generally used for presentation purposes.
G2 includes a presentation software category on the site, and the Venn diagram between presentation and slideshows is almost a complete circle. Many of the slideshow makers available for buyers, free or otherwise, do cater to casual users who don’t necessarily use the tools in a business setting. However, there are plenty of slideshow makers out there that can be, and are, used specifically for business purposes.
The product with the most clout in the slideshow and presentation world is Microsoft PowerPoint. However, obviously, it’s not a free tool. Software providers in this space have created free, cloud-hosted (or SaaS) versions that fit the business needs of users — without spending money.
This list is a run down of the latter.
While slideshows can be used for presentation purposes, not all presentation solutions are slideshow makers. Some presentation software does offer slideshow-making functionality or facilitates the projection of files and documents into slideshow form. However, slideshow makers are specifically software for users to create, edit, publish and share slideshows for both personal use such as college presentations and professional use such as business pitch decks.
These products alone have well over 5,100 validated user reviews on G2 as of July 16, 2018, and only represent a small portion of the 65-plus presentation software offerings listed on our platform. Whenever possible, the products are ranked by user satisfaction score.
For each product we provide:
For products with G2 verified user reviews, we have included:
The list we’ve outlined here includes any presentation design solution with an available free offering. It should be noted that this does not include products that are only free on a temporary basis, such as limited trial versions for new users. They may only support one user or one project, but they’re truly free offerings. Scaling, however, will often require full investments.
Here are the nine best slideshow maker tools in 2018. Product reviews and G2 Crowd star ratings were updated as of July 16, 2018.
Product Name: Beautiful.AI
G2 Crowd Star Rating: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Total Number of Reviews: 3
Beautiful.AI automates the manual task of polishing up presentations. The tool suggests ways to better communicate your ideas in slideshow form and takes on the task of adjusting layout and other design choices.
Image courtesy of Beautiful.AI
“Beautiful.AI is an incredible tool. I can't recommend it highly enough. If you want to take your presentations to the next level and save hours and hours of time, then this is the tool to use. You will not be disappointed.”
— Beautiful.AI review by Rachel R.
“A few minor UX quibbles, but overall it works exactly as I want it to.”
— Beautiful.AI review
“I am the type of presenter who always envies the people who can give impactful, elegant presentations when mine always look like a wall of text. Beautiful.AI is like a secret weapon. It makes me look like I know what I’m doing.”
— Beautiful.AI review
Product Name: Xtensio
G2 Star Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars
Total Number of Reviews: 66
Xtensio is a team document management and project strategy platform, made up of Folios. Xtensio’s Folios are “living documents” that, when presented, turn into digital slideshows; therefore, Xtensio will be more comprehensive than a simple slideshow maker and its collaborative process differs than the real-time editing functionality of Google Slides. Xtensio helps your sales team create pitch decks, your management team gain full visibility over all projects, and your content team optimize their strategy planning.
Image courtesy of Xtensio
“Reports and assessments we would usually create and deliver in PowerPoint are easier, and thus faster and cheaper for us, to put together than previously. And our clients love the visuals and the ability to view it both as a presentation and scrollable .pdf report.”
— Xtensio review by Chrissie K.
“As with most WYSIWYG editors, Xtensio can be finicky at times. It does take a little effort to figure out its quirks, but a few experiments will help you get everything looking the way you want.”
— Xtensio review by Andrew C.
“Give it a shot and be willing to be flexible in your design so you're not fighting the template too much.”
— Xtensio review by Alexandra H.
Product Name: Visme for Business
G2 Star Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars
Total Number of Reviews: 15
Visme for Business helps organize, create and share beautiful, professional presentations that are chock full of analytics, infographics and other visualizations. An appealing benefit to Visme is that it comes equipped with privacy controls, helping protect your brand, as well as assessing which pieces of content you want to remain private versus shared and viewed publicly.
“Visualizing data in Visme is so user-friendly, it's crazy good! I also love that you only need to learn, and pay, for one software and you get a presentation editor, an infographic maker and a simplified Photoshop alternative for everyday, quick-design needs. It has tons of built-in visual elements, so you don't need to be a designer to make something really pretty in no time. Oh, and also, they have an amazingly knowledgeable blog with tons of learning materials!”
— Visme review by Lili P.
“Formatting options could be more user-friendly, such as aligning and spacing objects on the page.”
— Visme review by Sara B.
“I highly recommend checking our their free plan, to get an idea of what this tool can do. Additionally, you should check their blog, they have really good guides for beginners.”
— Visme review by Marius G.
Product Name: Google Slides
G2 Star Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Total Number of Reviews: 623
Google Slides is a Google Drive product. Users should expect the same free, cloud-hosted and easy-to-collaborate functionalities in this slideshow presentation maker as other Google Drive tools. Google Slides easily fulfills your basic presentation requirements and automatically stores your project in the Cloud.
Image courtesy of Google Slides
“I really like the simplicity of this program. It is quite simple to use with the Drive. I often work with different people in groups and we are able to collaborate with different slides and share ideas. The notes feature is really nice and people are able to leave comments with one another.”
— Google Slides review by Megan R.
“Much like with Google Docs, there just aren't enough slick and beautiful features to make an impressive presentation. Google Slides is a good place to start gathering ideas for what an eventual PowerPoint or Keynote presentation might look like. If you really want to see this in action, create a presentation in PowerPoint, upload it to Slides and see what happens. At least half of the formatting is missing in Google Slides.”
— Google Slides review by Phil C.
“Google Slides is a powerhouse when it comes to cloud-based presentation software. Not only that, but it can create some really nice-looking presentations! Give it a try, and utilize the simplicity of Google Slides to create fresh, appealing presentations.”
— Google Slides review by Faris E.
Product Name: Keynote
G2 Star Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars
Total Number of Reviews: 274
Apple’s Keynote application is available for anyone who uses a Mac or Apple device. Keynote was previously only available for those with Mac computers, but now the tool is available for anyone who can download the application. While Keynote facilitates the creation of polished slideshows, it’s very much a presentation tool; you can utilize Keynote’s “Rehearse Mode” and “Keynote Live” mode to best project your completed presentation.
Image courtesy of Keynote
“Keynote is a more advanced presentation tool than PowerPoint. It integrates with MacOSX, and even allows you to control the presentation from an Apple remote or an iPhone. My favorite feature is that I can embed a playable video file into the presentation, which eliminates the need to have a web browser open in the background. I am able to show a video to my audience without having to stop my presentation and go to the web browser, then return to the presentation, and try to find where I was.”
— Keynote review by Brian F.
“Non-Mac users might struggle when trying to use Keynote. The interface, gestures and setup will be confusing to non-Mac users because it is something they are [not] used to.”
— Keynote review by Mike K.
“Keynote is a worthy and comparable alternative to PowerPoint … Overall, Keynote is a really good alternative that's easy to use and has a lot of useful features. It's free, comes with plenty of templates and is easy to customize. Compatibility and collaboration features are still lacking, so those who really need these should probably try other alternatives first.”
— Keynote review by Tiffany L.
Product Name: Focusky
G2 Star Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars
Total Number of Reviews: 18
Focusky markets itself as an alternative to Powerpoint and Prezi. Focusky provides users with a slew of ways to engage with and present to their audience. One of those ways is a slideshow maker that helps users create and deliver animated presentations. Additionally, Focusky’s “Publishing to Cloud” feature is a free cloud-hosting service that makes it possible to publish completed presentations online, easing sharing.
Image courtesy of Focusky
“[Offers] simply great opportunities to customize presentations. This service is really more powerful than PowerPoint. The process of creating a presentation is not like the ones you used to see in standard programs like PowerPoint and Google Slides. You have a large number of different instruments and the limitation is only your imagination. Also, I was pleased with a large number of built-in languages and fonts and the large database of ready templates that are completely free (if you have a subscription). It is also possible to export the presentation directly to the EXE file and run it from any device.”
— Focusky review by Lida M.
“I do not like that it is dependent on other programs and that it is difficult (if not impossible) to start a project and work on it exclusively in Focusky. I have yet to discover a privacy setting that allows me to work on a presentation and store it privately to avoid the public being able to see my content-sensitive work.”
— Focusky review by Aaron H.
“I would definitely look into all the other options out there. The biggest thing when evaluating a software like this is: does it fit what you'd like it to do? If so, then you have yourself a winner.”
— Focusky review by Jon L.
Product Name: Prezi
G2 Star Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars
Total Number of Reviews: 4138
Prezi provides users with interactive, engaging and beautiful presentation software. The completely cloud-hosted software is a slideshow maker without traditional slides. Prezi also helps users track audience engagement and integrates with business applications. The free version of Prezi is a basics version, ideally for individual presentation use cases, but Prezi also offers a business version, which adds in collaboration functionality.
Image courtesy of Prezi
“1) The flexibility to talk through a story based on who is listening and what is important to them, and the creativity that is poured in this process! 2) Having more options to show visuals in ways that make our story more compelling and using them to guide the viewer through the presentation. 3) Showing the right content at the right time using animations and hidden content”
— Prezi review by Michelle O.
“It is not very easy to [comprehend]. It takes a few hours to understand the logic of the software and if you don't have any design skills, it might be a bit esoteric.”
— Prezi review by Aurelia D.
“Prezi is a great resource to really enhance the look and feel of your presentations. In recent presentations, participants have been really captivated and have complimented me on the look and feel of my presentation. If you're looking to go outside of the box and really impress ‘bigwigs’ or executive leadership, try putting a Prezi presentation together. Guaranteed to get people talking!”
— Prezi review by Alexis W.
Product Name: Apache OpenOffice Impress
G2 Star Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars
Total Number of Reviews: 10
Apache’s open-source presentation suite helps users create slideshows that are full of engaging multimedia. Like Microsoft Powerpoint, presenters can create a notes and handout section should their audience need it. Impress is essentially an open-source version of PowerPoint, even supporting imports of and exports to Powerpoints for better sharing.
“Impress is an excellent, free alternative to PowerPoint. It can use many different formats and open any presentation made with PowerPoint without problem. It also recognizes the most popular video formats like .AVI and .MP4, and recovers your data perfectly if the program crashes or is unexpectedly closed for any reason. The UI might be a little simple, but it's also very easy to understand and has everything I need to create my presentations.”
— Impress review by Santiago Elias R.
“Impress, ironically enough, is rather un-pretty and barebones as a program. It will do most everything you want, but it isn't a very smooth experience. The navigation to tools is also a little unintuitive.”
— Impress review by Quang D.
“Impress contains all the necessary tools to create a high-quality presentation that meets all requirements. If you are looking for a free alternative to PowerPoint, this is probably your best option.”
— Impress review by Santiago Elias R.
Product Name: SlideDog
G2 Star Rating: 3.9 out of 5 stars
Total Number of Reviews: 5
SlideDog does offer slideshow-making capabilities, but it’s more of a tool to help you manage and arrange your slideshows and presentations created from third-party solutions into a seamless viewing experience.
“I had been using many presentation tools for my work but SlideDog makes it easy for me to present in a better way so that clients can understand. It works as a multimedia tool and also allows us to download things even if there is no internet available. Thus it is a nice tool.”
— SlideDog review by Savitri S.
“If you want to add a presentation from a PDF file, you must have a PDF Reader installed on your PC. Otherwise, it would not work. SlideDog can be slower than Prezi and PowerPoint.”
— SlideDog review
“Take the time to learn all of the features, they are next level. You may never use other tools again.”
— SlideDog review by a user in higher education
Those researching free slideshow makers online can sift through thousands of verified user reviews on G2 to find the best option. Slideshow making solutions are often offered as functionality bundled within presentation software or as standalone tools specifically designed to simplify the manual task.
Check out the presentation software, where you can compare products, discover available features and read user reviews, but make sure that you keep a discerning eye out for the solution that will best fit your slideshow needs.
For those looking for more free software options, check out our free video editing software based on real-user feedback for beginners and video professionals on a budget.
* Please note: Reviews may have been edited for spelling and grammar.
Jasmine is G2's senior research analyst for a slew of vertical categories, currently focusing on the trends, impact, and evolution of the healthtech, medtech, agtech, propertytech, and construction spaces. Prior to joining G2, she worked in the nonprofit sector in a copywriting and customer service capacity, and contributed to a handful of online entertainment and pop culture publications. G2 allows her to continue investing in her passion for digging into the nuances of consumer-focused, legacy industries to offer digestible, relatable insight to those same consumers.
Subscribe to keep your fingers on the tech pulse.