Types of Slide Presentations

Learning Objectives

Recognize different types of digital slide presentations.

Slideware is a generic term for the software used create and display slide shows such as Microsoft PowerPoint, Apple Keynote, Google Slides, Zoho Show, and others. Comprised of individual slides, collectively known as the slide deck, slideware is a de facto standard for presentation visual aids despite criticisms and complaints about the format. In truth, the problem is not with the software but in the use of the program.

Powerpoint icon
Microsoft’s PowerPoint is the dominant presentation software worldwide, with an estimated 95 percent market share.[1]

Google slides logo
If your school or organization uses the G Suite platform, Google Slides can be a good alternative to PowerPoint. One of the advantages of Google Slides is that it allows group editing in a similar way to Google Docs. We will dive deeper into PowerPoint and Google Slides on the next page. Apple’s answer to PowerPoint is Keynote, which shares the company’s focus on simple design and clean aesthetics. For presentations on the web, especially self-guided presentations, the open-source platform reveal.js offers strong features and a great deal of customizability. The commercial service slides.com runs on reveal.js.

Prezi logoWhile not quite slideware, Prezi is digital presentation software that breaks away from the standard slide deck presentation. It requires users to plot out their themes before adding primarily image-focused content (Panag, 2010). Instead of flipping through the slide deck, the presenter zooms in and out of the presentation to visually demonstrate connections not available in other slideware. The design of the software lends itself toward more rapidly changing visuals, which helps to keep the viewer engaged but also lends itself to over-populating the blank canvas with images (Yee & Hargis, 2010).

Prezi’s fast-moving images and, at times, unusual movement can make users dizzy or disoriented. Careful work is needed during planning and practice so that the point of the talk isn’t the wow factor of the Prezi software, but that your visuals enhance your presentation. The best way to learn more about this emerging tool is to visit the Prezi website to view examples (http://prezi.com/explore/). If opting to use Prezi in a corporate environment, you should strongly consider one of the paid options for the sole purpose of removing the Prezi logo from the presentation.

Woman speaking in front of a projected image

Pecha Kucha involves speaking for 20 seconds about 20 slides

Pecha Kucha is a method of presenting using a slide deck of 20 slides that display for 20 seconds per slide, advance automatically, and generally contain no text. This method began in 2003 as a way to “talk less, show more.”[2] Because of the restrictive format, Pecha Kucha–style presentations help the speaker practice editing, pacing, connecting with the audience, focusing on the message, and using images in place of words.[3]


  1. Thielsch, Meinald T.; Perabo, Isabel (May 2012). "Use and Evaluation of Presentation Software". Technical Communication. 59 (2): 112–123. AQI https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_PowerPoint
  2. Wikipedia contributors. "PechaKucha." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.
  3. Beyer, Alisa Miller. "Improving student Presentations: Pecha Kucha and Just Plain PowerPoint." Teaching of Psychology 38.2 (2011): 122-126.