Pros & Cons of Free Presentation Software
If you’re looking for very basic presentation tool, it can make sense to start by looking at free presentation options, or paid options that have a free version. It’s not what we specialize in, but we understand it!
While we believe ProPresenter can work in every environment, we want to empower you in whatever your situation even if that means using a free solution.
Still, before you get too heavily invested in finding a free Microsoft PowerPoint alternative, it’s worth taking a step back to evaluate: will a free presentation software solution truly meet your needs? Or will you find yourself frustrated or making compromises as a result?
To help you decide, we’ve pulled together some of the top pros and cons of free presentation software.
Pro: You Can’t Argue with the Price
We’ll start with the obvious: if costs are a significant concern, then choosing a free tool seems very attractive. It’s hard to argue with free.
However, privacy concerns can be an issue. For instance, the free tier of Prezi keeps your presentations public, and they can be found on Google.
Pro: Widest Accessibility
Because free solutions are, well, free, they’re accessible to anybody with the right device and an internet connection. This accessibility is deeply meaningful in education markets, for example, anyone can open the link to a Google Slides presentation. The same might be true of PowerPoint, but only on school-managed devices with a Microsoft 365 site license.
Free solutions tend to be more widely used, and wider adoption leads to wider user-based support.
Pro: Usually Easy to Learn
Free software solutions tend to go one of two ways: either they stay very lightweight (free often means it’s developed by hobbyists, instead of a full-time team), or they go deep, thanks to a passionate and dedicated fanbase with the skills to do the building.
In the world of presentation tools, most free solutions take the first approach. That makes them easy to learn — because their feature sets tend to be fairly limited, it just doesn’t take that long to master the tool. The simple user interface makes it easy to create presentations, even if those presentations are visually limited.
Con: Basic Isn’t Always Enough
Free presentation tools tend to be basic or lightweight, and often it shows in the final results. Yes, you can create presentations and share those presentations live, in real-time, but do your presentations stand out from the crowd?
Do you have access to unique, eye-catching designs? What about lower thirds styling? Does the free app give you the tools you need to create visually stunning results on your own? For instance, Google Slides can present text and pictures quite well, but if you start adding videos it hits limits pretty quickly, nevermind audio.
Basic might be fine enough for a classroom presentation. But when you need to stand out from the rest, basic might not be enough.
Con: Support and Updates Can Be Weak
Next, when you choose a free solution, support and updates can be patchy, weak, or nonexistent. The old saying “you get what you pay for” comes to mind.
If you’re having issues more complex than what some Googling can solve, you could be stuck if you choose a free presentation tool. There may not be a support department to contact at all, or you may be relegated to self-help via FAQ or knowledge base.
There’s also typically a lack of commitment to develop missing or requested features or to fix known issues. Companies focus on the tools and solutions that make money; free tools are mere value-adds.
Con: Limited Feature Sets
Free tools tend to be lightweight not just in slide design but also in feature sets. For example, you’re not likely to find an iOS and Android remote control app to go along with a free presentation tool.
You might get some kind of presenter view (Google Slides has an operator view, for example), but you’ll almost certainly not get anything more (like support for dual outputs, independent output layers, video support, and so forth).
If all you need is something basic, then these limited feature sets may not be a concern. But if these sound like they’ll box you in or keep you from doing stuff you need to do, then free likely isn’t the way to go.
Paid tools tend to offer deeper and more robust integrations than free tools. PowerPoint, for example, is well integrated throughout Microsoft Office and the Microsoft 365 ecosystem, while PowerPoint files enjoy wide third-party support as well.
Most free solutions don’t have many if any third-party software and hardware integrations. They tend to be standalone tools.
There are a couple of exceptions here: Google Slides is well integrated with Google Drive and Google Workspace, and you’ll find a limited number of other integrations (especially surrounding educational tools). Also, Apple’s Keynote (free, with the purchase of a Mac) is partially integrated with iCloud.
Is Free Presentation Software Right For You? Or Do You Need Something More?
Free presentation tools have their place, certainly. If you need basic functionality with limited integrations, a free version might be good enough.
But pro-grade users will need more. If you found yourself bristling at the limitations of free presentation software, consider ProPresenter. Read more about what sets ProPresenter apart from the rest.