Cloud-based presentation software

Microsoft’s Powerpoint and Apple’s Keynote have long dominated the presentation software market.  Their colour schemes and animated bullet points have become second nature to us all.  However, there is a new breed of presentation applications that are aiming to compete for a share of this market.

This new breed of presentation applications mean that you no longer need to have the software installed on your computer.  You are able to create and access your presentation through the internet. This allows other colleagues to access and add their input to your presentation, thereby encouraging collaboration. This review puts some of the most popular ‘cloud-based’ presentation applications to the test.

SlideRocket 

http://www.sliderocket.com The SlideRocket website offers a very user-friendly interface which allows users to upload previously created presentations or simply create a new presentation.  All the expected options are there from inserting text to choosing from a range of templates. A highlight is the ease in which you can embed videos.  The videos play seamlessly within the presentation and the website accepts a wide range of video formats.  Of particular interest is the ability to gain feedback on your presentation.  SlideRocket gives the viewer the ability to leave comments so that you can further improve your presentation. As a free user your presentation editing tools are limited, and to really experience all the wonderful facilities of SlideRocket costs $24 (£15) per month. However, there is a free trial period to assess the professional package before you part with your money.

PReZI

http://www.prezi.com Prezi is a cloud-based presentation application that was co-founded by an internationally renowned architect and visual artist. Its website creates presentations with a unique look and style which is sure to ‘wow’ your audiences.  Presentations are created on a giant whiteboard with all the slides laid out.  The presentation runs by zooming into the different slides on the whiteboard with an impressive cinematic look.  This works best when having a slide within a slide to draw the users’ attention to a finer detail outlined in the previous slide. There are several beautiful presentation layouts to select from and infinite ways in which to tailor them to your specific needs. You will find yourself spending many an hour perfecting your presentation to run exactly as you envisage it. And there in lies the problem, the website is quite complicated to use and a lot of dedication and time is required to create a presentation.  However, you receive a sense of accomplishment after completing the presentation just the way you envisaged. As a free user your created presentation will be public.  The basic subscription cost is $60 (£38) per year with a 30 day free trial period which will give you the ability to make your presentations private or share with whom you wish.

Slideshare

http://www.slideshare.net Slideshare provides an alternative to learning to use new software and allows you to upload Microsoft Powerpoint or Word documents, Apple Keynote or OpenOffice Presentations directly to the web. Presentations are converted into a web format and can be viewed from any internet browser. As a free user your presentations are public but there are a variety of paid options which allow private presentation sharing and even online meetings with the use of presentations. The most popular paid version costs £19 per month.

Google Docs – Google Presentation

http://docs.google.com Google provides a freely available presentation application compatible with Google’s cloud based storage solution. The solution offers basic presentations including templates and a familiar interface. The ability to import PowerPoint presentations and share with other collaborators make this a viable alternative.

Conclusions

The main advantage of cloud based presentation software is the ability to collaborate and share ideas.  Currently, none of the above applications provides the perfect solution. However, these programs are very user-friendly so even novice users will feel comfortable with them. We encourage the reader to experiment with the above and embrace the enormous potential of cloud-based applications. On a final note, as some hospital trusts have needlessly blocked these websites, be sure to check whether you can access the websites before working hard on a presentation that you are unable to deliver when it counts!

Authors

Dr Abdullah Albeyatti, Foundation Year 2, United Kingdom
Mr Ivo Dukic, ST5 in Urology, United Kingdom

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