Google Slides vs. PowerPoint for the Web: A Friendly Guide

Google Slides vs. PowerPoint for the Web: A Friendly Guide

Created: Wednesday, April 3, 2024, posted by at 9:30 am

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Hey there, slide creator! Are you tangled up in the web of presentation tools, trying to pick between Google Slides, PowerPoint for the Web, or some other presentation tool? Fear not! Let’s break it down in a super simple narrative, so you can make the best choice without needing a PhD in presentationology.

Google Slides vs. PowerPoint for the Web

Google Slides vs. PowerPoint for the Web

Welcome to the World of Google Slides

First up, Google Slides, the cool, easy-going cousin in the Google Workspace family. It’s 100% free, and has no strings attached. Yes, you get more storage space and some niceties with a paid Google subscription, but you can achieve quite a bit with the free version. You just need a Google account, which you already have if you use Gmail. VoilĂ , you’re ready to create slides that sparkle. Its superpower is collaboration! You and your team can edit slides simultaneously, chat, and leave comments in real time. Lost internet connectivity? No sweat, Google Slides has your back with its offline mode.

But hey, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Google Slides might not have all the fancy bells and whistles of its heavyweight cousin, PowerPoint. It’s a bit like having a toolbox but missing that one quirky wrench you never thought you needed until now. In time, you will also find that your toolbox is missing that screwdriver that can unfasten some proprietary Torx heads, or even some sandpaper that you need to smoothen some edges. But you cannot complain because Google is giving you everything for almost nothing. By complaining, you may appear ungrateful, which is why numerous individuals choose to remain silent about their grievances.

PowerPoint for the Web: The Familiar Face

Now, let’s talk about PowerPoint for the Web. It’s like the friendly neighbor you’ve known forever. If you’re cozy with the desktop version, you’ll find the web version a comfy blanket of familiarity. It’s free, too, but you’ll need a Microsoft account. Do note though that you will need the paid version for some of the snazzier features, such as a larger collection of photographs, or to use the Designer feature.

Is PowerPoint for the Web Different than Conventional PowerPoint?

Yes, PowerPoint for the Web is the version of PowerPoint that runs within your web browser. That’s the main difference between the desktop versions of PowerPoint, and PowerPoint for the Web. Microsoft continues releasing updated versions of all PowerPoint versions, including those for the Web and the desktop.

Now, it is completely unfair to compare Google Slides to PowerPoint’s desktop versions, since Google Slides also runs within your web browser. So, that’s the raison d’etre of this post – to compare browser-based versions of PowerPoint and Google Slides.

PowerPoint for the Web offers a decent chunk of features from its desktop sibling, but don’t expect the complete set. You get the essentials, which is great for most users. Surprisingly, you even get some advanced tools, but if you’re a real power user, you might want to use either the paid version or even the desktop version. That brings us to the two best features of PowerPoint for the Web that no other competitor can match:

1. Edit on both Web and Desktop

Start creating your presentation in PowerPoint for the Web. Then, collaborate online on the presentation, even with users who are using PowerPoint’s desktop versions. Need to do some fancy animations or some chart editing? As long as the computer you are using has a desktop version of PowerPoint installed, you can open the same presentation on the desktop and make changes that will automatically show on PowerPoint for the Web. Then, when you are on a flight, and remember that you need to change some figures in a table, you can open that same presentation within PowerPoint on your Android tablet or Apple iPad and make those changes.

2. Use the Stable PowerPoint File Format

Now, although there are many PowerPoint alternatives, including Google Slides, there will come a time, sooner than you think, when you will have to save your presentation as a PowerPoint file. Why? Because that’s the only presentation file format that everyone understands. Google Slides has made amazing strides, as far as PowerPoint compatibility is concerned, but this back and forth all the time, saving Google Slides decks as PowerPoint files, and then back to Google Slides multiple times will result in you losing fidelity within your slides, lower quality graphics that have been compressed often, and sometimes, even corrupt files.

So, Which One Should You Choose?

It boils down to these thoughts: if you’re all about using a free tool and love the idea of working from anywhere, anytime, Google Slides might be your BFF. This is true if you live in an ecosystem where you will never have to work with a PowerPoint file. But if you’re a fan of the classic PowerPoint experience and don’t want some trade-offs, then you might as well use the real thing, and that’s PowerPoint. PowerPoint for the Web will feel like home.

And there’s just one more thought to add: for some reason, many users believe that Google Slides is free, and PowerPoint for the Web is not. Well, PowerPoint for the Web is also free, for the same subset of features you get in Google Slides. It always has been!

There you have it, a no-sweat guide to picking your presentation pal. Now, go forth and create slides that’ll knock socks off!

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