Keynote vs. Prezi vs. Powerpoint – Which presentation software works best?

Face it. You may be a fascinating presenter, but you will still most likely need slides to support your presentation. Rich content such as images, videos and charts are now the rule.

Ensuring your slides are engaging and accessible are the big challenges. We have all watched the audience nod off at the first slide or cringed at amateur efforts such as tacky slide animations.

Worst of all is when the presentation won’t load and you suddenly forget everything you have ever known about the topic on which you are, reputedly, an expert. Death by slide is a real danger on either side of the podium.

Can you preserve yourself and your audience from the twin evils of tedium or technology malfunction? The answer, as with all things, is that it depends. Your choice of platform such as PowerPoint, Keynote or Prezi can make the difference.  Here’s how the three tools stack up.


Powerpoint is the most commonly-used tool. It is reliable in the sense that PowerPoint is likely to work with any equipment you may be offered. However, Powerpoint hasn’t been updated in a long time. The standard slide templates can be painfully boring. Presenters need to put extra care into creating polished and professional-looking slides.


Keynote is a Apple product, even older than PowerPoint. It is relatively easy to learn for PowerPoint users and has some advanced features that add flexibility. If the lecture room offers only a Windows machine with an older version of PowerPoint, you may then be faced with the daunting and uncertain task of converting the presentation to PowerPoint or exporting it to PDF. If you know you have a Mac available, however, it may be the best choice.


In an alternative approach, Prezi is web-hosted and built on an infinite–canvas platform. It offers some interesting potential for collaboration and the exploration of how ideas relate in a non-linear format. Prezi is accessed via the internet and hence you must have an internet connection in your presentation space.

So, how can you make the most out of your presentation?  PowerPoint is not the only choice. The best solution is to work closely with your AV rep to get advice on which tool will work best in the space to give your presentation the dazzle it deserves.