Sat. Jun 22nd, 2024

PowerPoint and Google Slides are two popular options for presentations, but which one is best? As someone who has used both programs for a long time, I’ve found that Google Slides offers many advantages that make it my go-to choice.

Let’s be clear: I’m comparing the web-based PowerPoint and Google Slides versions. It’s unfair to compare Google Slides to the desktop version of PowerPoint, isn’t it? Here are some reasons why Google Slides is my favorite presentation tool.

1. Ease of Collaboration

Ease of collaboration was the central reason I switched to Google Slides for my presentation needs. As a content creator, I always aim for a seamless collaboration experience while dealing with my clients and team members. Google Slides offered exactly that, and I was in love with it.

So, is Google Slides better than PowerPoint for collaboration? It certainly has advantages that make it an ideal choice for a lot of users.

With Google Slides, you can efficiently work with others and share your work, no matter what kind of computer or phone you use. If you have a Google account and the link to the presentation, you can join in and make changes simultaneously with other members.

In contrast, to collaborate in PowerPoint, you have to consider various external factors, such as the user’s working device and storage locations. For example, you might not be able to easily collaborate with someone who has an older version of PowerPoint, or with someone using a PowerPoint mobile due to feature limitations. Some things that are restricted in the free web and mobile version compared to PowerPoint on desktop include limited commenting tags, editing options, and more.

Additionally, Google Slides also has built-in chat and commenting features. This feature allows all your team members to stay on the same page and communicate with each other to streamline editing. In PowerPoint, you’re limited to comments only.

2. Offline Access

Another important reason for my switch to Google Slides is the offline access feature. With this feature, you can create, edit, and present presentations to others even without an internet connection. Any changes you apply offline are synced automatically once you’re back online, so you can keep working even without an internet connection.

You can activate offline access by checking the offline mode option in your Google Drive settings.

turning on the offline access option in Google drive setting.

Also, with Google Slides, you don’t need software installed on your computer to access your presentations offline. However, Microsoft PowerPoint requires an internet connection to save changes to OneDrive storage. No internet, no autosave!

Switching to Google Slides is easy if you already use Google apps like Docs, Sheet, Meet, and Gmail. They all work well together. You can import charts and tables from Google Sheets into your presentations with just a few clicks. Any modifications to the original data in Google Sheets will automatically be reflected in your Google Slides presentation.

For example, on Google Slides, open the “Insert” tab and navigate to the “Chart” option. From there, click on the “From Sheets” option and import a chart from Google Sheets.

Google Slides main window showing the selection of 'From Sheets' option of 'Chart' drop down menu in the 'Insert' tab.

Furthermore, you can add Google Keep notes to your Slides and share your content in Google Meet with Smart Canvas without switching between tabs.

On the other hand, Microsoft PowerPoint integrates with other Microsoft tools, but it’s not as seamless as Google Slides and has limited integration capabilities. For example, unlike Google Sheets, which updates data automatically in Slides, PowerPoint requires you to manual refresh to update Excel charts. This means you need to copy and paste the updated chart from Excel to PowerPoint.

4. More Storage Space

Google Slides offers more storage space through Google Drive. With a Google account, you get 15GB of storage shared across Google Photos, Drive, and Gmail. This is significantly more than what Microsoft offers with its free PowerPoint Web version, which only provides 5GB of OneDrive storage. If you create large presentations with many images or videos, Google’s extra storage space can be a significant advantage.

Additionally, Google offers affordable plans to upgrade your storage if needed. For example, you can get 100GB of storage for a $20 annual fee, which is perfect for those who create and store a lot of presentations. However, it’s important to note that pricing for additional storage might be different depending on your region.

For detailed information, it’s best to check your plans manually by clicking the “Get More Storage” option in Drive.

Clicking 'Get more storage' option in Google Drive.

5. Compatibility With PowerPoint

I know what you’re thinking—what if I need to work with someone who only uses Microsoft PowerPoint? Fear not; Google Slides has got you covered. You can import and export PowerPoint presentations into Google Slides, making switching between the two platforms easy.

This feature has been a lifesaver for me when I work with my clients or colleagues who use PowerPoint. I can easily collaborate with them and edit their files without any hassle. After making changes, I can save the Google Slides file again as a PowerPoint file.

You can add your PowerPoint file to Google Slides by either uploading it on Drive or directly opening it from the File > Open option.

6. AI Features

You can also use Google AI tools like Gemini to improve your presentations. For example, the Gemini AI feature in Google Slides allows users to generate images and slides based on their prompts. You can access Gemini from the Slides side panel and input your prompts, such as “Create a slide about,” and it will generate slides accordingly.

creating new slide with the help of user prompt in Gemini side panel of Google Slides.

This feature lets you quickly add relevant and visually appealing presentation content without leaving the Google Slides platform. Using Gemini AI, you can also generate background images in various styles, such as Vector art, Photography, Watercolor, and others.

In contrast, Microsoft AI feature tools like Copilot are not available on the PowerPoint web version. To use Copilot and other AI features in PowerPoint requires a paid subscription to either Microsoft 365 or Copilot Pro.

7. Provide Detailed Version History

Both Google Slides and Microsoft PowerPoint allow you to view and restore previously edited versions of your presentation. However, Google Slides stands out with its detailed version history feature. This feature groups certain versions of your presentation together if you make multiple changes over a short period. This makes it easy to find and select the version you need. These group versions are displayed under the Version History panel.

Another notable feature of Google Slides is the ability to name the modified versions. This is quite useful when working on large documents with multiple collaborators, as it can take time to find the version you want, among many others. To rename a version, open the “Version History” panel, click the three-dot icon, and then select “Name This Version” from the dropdown menu.

Renaming a version of a Google slides by clicking three dot icon to the right of the time stamp in version history.

Once you’ve named important versions of your presentation, you can filter them by selecting the “Named Versions” option from the drop menu. This will highlight only the renamed versions, along with the current version of the document, making it easy to locate the version you need.

8. Customization Features and Template Options

The web version of Microsoft PowerPoint has limited features compared to the PowerPoint desktop app, which can sometimes be helpful while designing presentations. For example, you can’t insert charts or equations in the web version. Additionally, you can’t add hyperlinks to pictures or shapes. On the other hand, you can add equations, charts, and hyperlinks to images in Google Slides.

While both platforms offer a good selection of templates, I prefer Google Slides because its templates are user-friendly and easy to customize. It also provides more flexibility when working with themes compared to the web version of PowerPoint.

Google Slides isn’t a flawless tool, but for me and many other presentation creators, it not only gets the job done but also has some advantages over PowerPoint. Whether you’re a student, team, or regular user, you can use it to make clear and effective presentations.

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By John P.

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