We've rounded-up five of the most compelling online alternatives to Microsoft PowerPoint, and held them up together to compare features and examine compatibility.
Like the other contenders, 280 Slides is a cloud-based presentation maker that lets you create, access, and share presentations anywhere in the world. Now in beta, the service allows you to import existing presentations with the .pptx format as well as to create them from scratch on the site, and to export them back into that format as well.
280 Slides offers a limited selection of templates, and you can add images and movies from your own collections or directly from web services including Flickr, Vimeo, and YouTube. To share presentations, you can put them on SlideShare, send them via email, or embed them directly on a website.
It's not clear how much storage users of 280 Slides are allowed, or if it imposes any maximum presentation size. The service is currently free.
Trying to import an older PowerPoint file in .ppt format, we learned that 280 Slides accepts only .pptx files. After we attempted to resave that older file in .pptx format and upload it again, it showed up garbled in 280 Slides.
On the other hand, when we used a brand-new .pptx presentation from Office 2010, the slides and theme translated nicely, though the transitions didn't make it. 280 Slides did preserve the existing theme used in that presentation when we added new slides to it, however, which was particularly nice since the service offers only nine templates of its own.
In general, 280 Slides is rudimentary and rough around the edges. Features felt extremely basic - even more so than Google Docs in many ways, despite a more attractive interface.
Import/export: Import .pptx only from PowerPoint; export to PowerPoint 2007 in .pptx format only
- An attractive interface
- Compatibility with older PowerPoint files or other formats
- Capability to export to PDF or other formats
- Offline presentation capabilities
- Collaboration capabilities
- Mobile support
- Transition and animation capabilities
- Support for other languages
- Metrics and analytics
Best use for 280 Slides: We weren't very impressed with 280 Slides. It's free, but so is Google Docs, and that's better. 280 Slides needs some work before it will be competitive.
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