(Last Updated On: November 7, 2023)

Why do you need better presentation alternative software than PowerPoint? What are the 4 best PowerPoint alternatives to install on your device? Let’s read this post to know how to level up your presentations by using what’s called authoring tools.

PowerPoint Alternative

We have all been familiar with using PowerPoint for presentations. But, the more developed the world is, the more we find the good old things might not be enough. As naturally as human demands, we are always seeking for better and more complete solutions. So is the case with education and presentation. PowerPoint itself can never be enough. That’s why we have witnessed the thriving era of Prezi as the next generator of PPT. And now, along with the bloom of new technology comes the dominance of authoring tools. 

An eLearning authoring tool is a type of software that allows you to create interactive educational or training content, convert it into an eLearning format, and distribute it to learners online or via a learning management system (LMS). 

What PowerPoint Lacks

Interactivity Features: Not Supported

At its core, PowerPoint is used for presenting and displaying purposes only. The strength of PowerPoint lies in animation elements, not interactivity ones. You can find the Morph, the Slide Zoom features are very convenient to make eye-catching effects. And, the Animation Pane with the Trigger actions is actually helpful to organize animations to take place more fluidly. 

But when you want to build interactions so that viewers can interact with your presentation/ course, you will find no options to do that. Especially since the COVID 19 time, teaching/ training online is a must-do task. This requires trainers to build more interesting and complicated courses with interactive factors integrated to increase the focus of learners/ viewers. Therefore, PPT alternatives are the solution for this lack of ability in PowerPoint.

Screen Recording Ability: Restricted in Recording and Editing Options

It’s true that PowerPoint does allow you to record the presentation, your voice, and your camera to have the final output as a complete video. However, does PowerPoint really do well in this field? The answer is no. Because PowerPoint only supports basic options. 

About recording screens, you can choose to record your screens with or without audio. You do not have the option to record your webcam here. And the recording buttons are simplified to the utmost with no customization, only clicking to turn on or turn off. After finishing recording, you will have the video recording on the slide, but have nearly no options to edit the video content. You can change a bit of the visual or animation only, which is not ideal regarding editing purposes. This is a minus point that makes many users change their editor to an authoring tool as a PPT alternative.

Output: Limited for Presenting Purpose Only

As mentioned above, PowerPoint is used for presentations and displaying purposes only. Therefore, their outputs are limited to PPT, media (video & image), and document (PDF & XPS) formats only. This is a unique, yet disadvantageous point as well. 

On one hand, the output as a PPT format has created an empire in presentation programs for Microsoft for decades. No one can deny the importance of PowerPoint invention and development in daily lives. 

On the other hand, this type of output format prevents PowerPoint users from diversifying their content into various formats to make them compatible in different environments and circumstances. 

How PowerPoint Alternatives – Authoring Tools – Surpass

To make it easier to compare, ActivePresenter and iSpring will be used as examples about how authoring tools surpass PowerPoint in every field.

PowerPoint Features Included

Authoring tools are of higher rate than PowerPoint because most of them can maintain PowerPoint features, yet still enhance editing experience with more upgraded functionality.

Both iSpring and ActivePresenter allow importing PowerPoint presentations into the software to continue editing and adding interactive elements. The PPT factors, styles, animations, and hyperlinks are kept similarly just as in the original PPT. All you need to do is add new elements like interactivity or assessment to create a creative and logical course. In fact, nowadays, almost any authoring tools support this PPT importing feature based on the realistic needs of users. 

Interactivity Features: Creative and Versatile

Now, this is the highlight of authoring tools: eLearning content. 

Screen Recording Ability: Powerful and Flexible

Many, but not yet all, authoring tools have ameliorated this weakness of PowerPoint: recording screens. Let’s take a look at ActivePresenter as an example. Unlike PowerPoint, ActivePresenter allows users to record their screen as videos or slide-based interactive simulation. You can choose to record your system audio and your own voice at the same time or not. You can also enable your webcam to record your face while presenting what is happening on the screen. Customizing the recording area and other settings like mouse or cursor path is easy like a piece of cake with ActivePresenter. Later on, after finishing recording, you can even edit those elements further until you feel satisfied. This is the advantage only the authoring tools can bring back to you, not PowerPoint.

Moreover, not many tools allow you to record screens as interactive simulation. This is especially useful when you want to create software tutorials or step-by-step instructions, then require learners to directly interact with that simulation to review what they have learned. After using this feature in ActivePresenter, you will get a slide-based project in your workspace, with image slides and video slides. Image slides include interactive elements like text entry, cursor path, key press, and so on. Meanwhile, video slides are recorded videos of your mouse-scroll or drag-n-drop movements. Such an amazing feature that only PowerPoint alternatives like ActivePresenter can have!

Input and Output: Multimedia Supported and Up-to-date

Regarding input options, not only PowerPoint, but also almost any authoring tools support importing various types of formats to create complete projects. For example, in iSpring and ActivePresenter, you can easily insert PPT and different formats of images, videos, audio clips, and charts to your project. Furthermore, in ActivePresenter, 3D model, YouTube video, web object, closed caption, and question file (GIFT, SRT) are also supported. 

About output options, file conversion is easy like a piece of cake when you use authoring tools. Why? Because the output options are definitely more than those of PowerPoint. From document formats like PPT, PDF, Excel, Word; to media formats like video, image, audio, closed caption, authoring tools all support converting. What makes those PowerPoint alternatives surpass PPT is the eLearning output: HTML5, SCORM, and xAPI. These output formats help the outcome projects integrate well with either a webpage or an LMS.

Editing Options: Various and Highly Customized

Top 4 Alternative Software Better than PowerPoint

ActivePresenter – Economical All-in-One PowerPoint Alternative 

  • Rating: 4.7/5 (Capterra)
  • Pricing: $199/ Standard license, $399/ Pro license, $199/ EDU Pro license (perpetual license, one-time cost)
  • Free version for free trial/ testing with no limit in time and functionality, only watermarks included

It is not an exaggeration to place ActivePresenter at the first position. Why? Because at a reasonable price and much cheaper than any other authoring tools on the eLearning tool market, you can own a software with the same quality like the other 3 tools below.

ActivePresenter combines all the factors to become a comprehensive authoring tool: quizzes & surveys, video lectures & screencasts, interactions, SCORM compliance, LMS compatibility, and responsive devices supported. It is not only a powerful eLearning course designer with various interactivity, but also a versatile screencasting tool, a truly all-in-one content maker. From basic features in PowerPoint like slide designing, to advanced functions in iSpring like quizzes and interactive courses, Articulate Storyline 360, and complex elements in Adobe Captivate like variables, advanced actions, and conditions, v.v… You can experience all in just one app but still with a user-friendly and logical workspace.   

iSpring – Well-known PPT Alternative 

  • Rating: 4.7/5 (Capterra)
  • Pricing: from $770/ author/ year
  • Free trial in 30 days

One big advantage of iSpring over other tools that makes it favorable is its integration with PowerPoint. In other words, it works more like a PPT add-in. Users can quickly convert an existing PPT presentation into a course with iSpring. And, iSpring’s functions are much similar to ActivePresenter, with ready-made question types, various editing options for video and audio, as well as responsive content support. It converges all elements to help users be at ease in creating high-quality courses. 

However, with a high price, iSpring might not be ideal enough when it comes to reaching different groups of people. With the same quality and features, we can have better options to try, like ActivePresenter for example. And, it’s undeniable that iSpring’s intuitive interface and user-centric design makes many loyal users fall in love and find it hard to move on trying other software. But, don’t hesitate to give other tools a chance, as you might get surprised! 

Articulate Storyline 360 – Full Suite Alternative to PowerPoint

  • Rating: 4.7/5 (Capterra)
  • Pricing: from $1399/ user/ year
  • Free trial in 30 days

Articulate Storyline 360 has been famous as another PowerPoint alternative due to its versatile capability as well. Though the user interface is not quite friendly and eye-catching like that of iSpring or ActivePresenter, those who have been used to it still find it quite logical and easier to use than other tools. 

Adobe Captivate – Trustworthy PPT Alternative from A Reputed Name, Adobe

  • Rating: 4.5 (Capterra)
  • Pricing: from $33.99/ license/ month, $1299/ full license
  • Free trial in 30 days

Compared to other 3 PPT alternatives above, Adobe Captivate seems to be less predominant. However, besides the basic functions an eLearning authoring tool includes, it is undeniable that it has unique features that not many tools can provide. People can use Adobe Captivate to create virtual reality projects. Or, similar to ActivePresenter, Adobe Captivate supports creating interactive software simulations. Those who have already mastered Adobe Captivate will definitely enjoy this tool as it offers a set of advanced techniques. For example, enhanced actions with system variables, text entry boxes, mathematical expressions, and widgets. The user interface of the software is not quite user-friendly, either. Therefore, only experts and experienced ones can get used to using this complex tool. 

But, if you have mastered the other 3 authoring tools above, getting to know this application will not be a too harsh challenge. Maybe you will grow interested in its complexity as it will test your creativity and logical thinking. So, don’t hesitate to give Adobe Captivate a try!

Final Thoughts

Above are some thoughts and analysis about why you need PowerPoint alternatives and which PPT alternatives you should try. We all know that PowerPoint is necessary but not sufficient. In reality, we will always seek other PPT alternative options that can level up our presentations, courses, or training materials. So, based on your purpose and budget, you can select a suitable tool. And, you will not get disappointed once trying and experiencing the benefits authoring tools bring back. 

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