PowerPoint has been the worldwide leading presentation software for over 30 years now. Compared to PowerPoint, Google Slides was introduced only a few years ago but have been steadily gaining speed until then. Today, both software programs are widely used and almost equally popular among users across the globe (for reference, check out the graph below). However, many people are facing the battle “Google Slides vs PowerPoint” or to put it in other words, which software is better for your personal needs.
At first, it may seem that Google Slides and PowerPoint are complete rivals. Both software programs experience the same annual cyclicality: a lower demand during the summer holidays and even bigger drop-offs during the Christmas-New Years’ breaks.
However, these two famous tools for presentations might be targetting completely different audiences. We’ve picked the 13 most important criteria according to users’ feedbacks, so we can compare the performances of both. Our mission is to find out:
what the differences between the two software programs are,
who wins the battle “Google Slides vs PowerPoint”,
and is there a battle at all or are they targetting different buying personas? Let’s find out!
Google Slides is a part of Google Docs and is completely free to use.
PowerPoint is a part of Microsoft Office package. Therefore, in order to use it, you need to have a license for Microsoft Office. The packages start from $70 annually charged with OneDrive storage included or $150 one-time charge without OneDrive support.
Google Slides doesn’t require any software installation in order to run. Since it is a cloud-based software, all you need to start preparing your presentation is a Google account and the internet. This makes Google Slides and your templates accessible from any device connected to the internet. Google Slides also comes with support for Chromecast, Hangouts, and AirPlay.
PowerPoint, on the other hand, requires the Microsoft Office software to be installed on your PC in order to run. Your presentations are saved on your hard disc which means they are accessible in your personal computer. If you need to access your presentations online, you need to have access to Microsoft’s cloud storage OneDrive and save your templates there. PowerPoint also offers a free online version of the software named PowerPoint Online. However, it lacks many of the advancements included in the desktop-based original product.
Google Slides was created with an online performance in mind. The cloud-based software works flawlessly when the internet connection is strong. Since it runs in your browser, it is possible to experience glitches or slow loading sometimes.
The online version of PowerPoint – PowerPoint Online comes with fewer features than Google Slides and even lesser than the advanced desktop version. If you’d like to learn which features lack in PowerPoint Online compared to the desktop PowerPoint, you can see them described in Microsoft Office’s support.
Google Slides supports an offline mode. All you have to do is turn on this option while you are online. Here are the instructions of how to do so, provided by Google Drive support.
PowerPoint was designed to work on a PC. Once downloaded and installed, it doesn’t require an internet connection to behave properly. The desktop software comes with a big diversity of features, cool animations, and effects which run really smoothly and allow the creation of advanced presentations.
Backups and Storage
Google Slides saves all data on Goole Drive storage which is cloud based. This means – no need to hit “Save” every 5-10 mins. All changes are automatically saved to the cloud as you create them. Google Slides also provides a history review. You can go check out previous versions of your presentation, and restore them at any time if needed.
PowerPoint doesn’t offer automatic savings unless you have the latest version of the software (PowerPoint 2016 and onward) and you are an Office 365 subscriber. Then, the program comes with an AutoSave option, which if checked, saves a copy of your document every few seconds on OneDrive. The software has an AutoRecover option, as well, available even if you’re not an Office 365 subscriber. This feature recovers your presentation if case of unexpected crashes.
Google Slides allows seamless collaboration between you and your team members. You can chat, comment, and make edits while you create your presentation simultaneously. All changes are viewed instantly by the rest of the team. Also, you can easily restore older versions of the presentation.
Collaboration is not always possible with PowerPoint. In order to collaborate on a PowerPoint presentation, you and your team members need to work with PowerPoint 2010 or later, then save your template on OneDrive, and share the presentation with your fellow collaborators. Another option is to use PowerPoint Online.
Google Slides offers basic animations and transitions which are quite fewer in comparison with its rival PowerPoint. If you are more of a creative person, this might feel a bit restricted to open up your whole potential.
PowerPoint, in contrast, is an advanced software with many more features and special effects (reflections, 3D, fancy transitions) which are only available in the desktop-based version. PowerPoint Online is a quite more basic product compared to its desktop-based analog.
Google Slides comes with a gallery of pre-made basic templates which you can edit and change according to your preferences. Moreover, the web is full of ready-made templates you can use as a base for your presentation, both free and premium. Go check out our selection of Google Slides templates.
PowerPoint also includes a gallery of ready-to-use templates for various purposes. When it comes to template diversity, PowerPoint certainly takes the lead with the thousands of custom templates and graphic elements on the web created especially for PowerPoint. Check out our PowerPoint templates.
Google allows you to embed video from YouTube or your GoogleDrive but not audio files. The good thing about embedding videos in Google Slides is that it’s very easy and since it’s all happening in the cloud, you don’t have to worry about having the right codecs installed. Regarding pictures – you can upload pictures from your PC, Drive, URL, Camera, or search for pictures right from the presentation.
You can freely embed video and audio files in PowerPoint. Here are some recommendations for file formats that run best in PowerPoint. When it comes to pictures, you can add any kind of graphics, animations, and even draw your own. Here are all visual content opportunities in PowerPoint. You can also insert a YouTube video by using the option Online video.
Google Slides supports all Google Fonts, so you have a great variety of fonts available without needing to install anything. Plus, they will display properly every time you present.
PowerPoint uses locally installed fonts. This means you’d better avoid using additionally installed fancy fonts on your computer if you plan to use a different computer for presenting later. In such a scenario, your fonts won’t display properly.
Google slides lets you link images and texts to URLs or other slides in the presentation. Also, when inserting other Google files, you can link them to the source. This way, when the source file is updated, the new version will be synced with the file you’ve inserted.
PowerPoint lets you link parts of your presentation for a variety of reasons. By using linking, you can quickly navigate to a different presentation, go to another place in your presentation, go to the web, etc.
Google Slides allows you to browse images in a block that pops up on the right without having to leave your presentation. Generally, you can browse anything without switching tabs. Simply use the “Explore” option.
PowerPoint lets you browse images by opening a Bing popup window from the option “Online Pictures”. By default, Bing will show you only those pictures whose license you to use them.
Conversion / Export
Google Slides can easily be converted to PowerPoint file format and vice versa. When exporting, you have the following options: .pptx, .odp, .pdf, .txt, .jpg, png, .svg (vector).
PowerPoint supports a variety of export formats such as .pptx, .ppt, .odp, .potx, .pot, .pdf, .ppsx, .pps, .potm, .pptm, .ppsm for PowerPoint presentation formats; .thmx for a PowerPoint theme; .jpeg, .tiff, .png, .gif, or .bmp for an image file format.
Both software programs offer unique advantages over the other. Google Slides is certainly user-friendly, multifunctional, and allows super easy collaboration with your team members. PowerPoint, on the other hand, is an advanced product with many years of development behind its back, and it naturally offers more functions for the end-user but it’s limited when it comes to co-working. At the end of the day, you have to choose your personal winner based on your own priorities and demands for presentation software.
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Iveta is a passionate writer at GraphicMama who has been writing for the brand ever since the blog was launched. She keeps her focus on inspiring people and giving insight on topics like graphic design, illustrations, education, business, marketing, and more.