Google Slides vs PowerPoint: Full Comparison Guide for 2021

Brian Nuckols

Written by:
Brian Nuckols

Last Updated: 12/30/2020

Which one of the 2 presentation software is better for your presentations?

In this guide, we’re going to compare the 2 popular presentation tools to help you choose the best for creating and editing presentations.

Choose the element that you’re interested in from the navigation below and find out what option is the best for your presentation needs.

Let’s get into it.

 

Jump to the Section You Want

What is Google Slides?

What is Microsoft PowerPoint?

Comparison Point #1: Features

Comparison Point #2: Templates

Comparison Point #3: Cost

Comparison Point #5: Online vs. Offline Performance

Comparison Point #6: Teamwork & Collaboration

Comparison Point #7: Storage & Backup

Comparison Point #8: Embedding

 

What is Google Slides?

Google Slides is a free presentation software included in the Google Drive service. Perhaps you have heard about some of the strengths of Slides as a presentation tool, but if you are not quite sure how to use it, read on.

There are a few aspects of Google slides that make it a unique presentation software.

First, Google built Google Slides to work in your browser as opposed to directly on your device. This browser-based functionality means you do not necessarily need to download anything to create presentations.

This cloud-based approach makes sharing and connecting easy. Because it is a browser-based service, you can easily share and collaborate with any collaborator with an internet connection and a Google account.

Another critical differentiating principle with Google Slides is simplicity. Google is famous for its iconic and straightforward homepage.

They bring simplicity into the Google Slides experience and attempt to make it as simple as possible to utilize their product.

 

What is Microsoft PowerPoint?

Microsoft PowerPoint is a powerful tool for creating professional presentations. Microsoft released its first version of PowerPoint in 1990.

The downloadable desktop app for Microsoft PowerPoint works seamlessly on both Mac OS and PC with Windows, and comes with the beloved and popular Microsoft toolbar.

PowerPoint is used everywhere from corporate boardrooms to startups, to non-profit board meetings and college classrooms.

PowerPoint is only one component of Microsoft Office, which also includes popular apps like Word and Excel.

 

Features

Now that we have explored some of the basics about Slides and Powerpoint, we will transition into a section where we compare distinct features of each tool.

First, it is worth noting what both pieces of software allow you to accomplish. Both Google Slides and Microsoft PowerPoint will enable you to do the following:

  • Add text, images, videos and links to any slide
  • Pick a custom font
  • Use a premade theme
  • Include charts and or graphs
  • Use basic transitions
  • Print to PDF

Additionally, both Slides and PowerPoint allow you to collaborate with team members to greater or lesser degrees.

 

Google Slides Feature #1: Automatic Saving

Google Slides comes with an excellent automatic saving feature for any changes you make. You don't have to worry about losing your progress because of some kind of malfunction.

 

Google Slides Feature #2: Version History

Another exciting feature Slides offers building off their automatic saving function is a detailed version history. You can quickly restore your presentation back and forth between a previous version if you make changes you no longer want.

 

Google Slides Feature #3: PowerPoint Compatibility

The third unique feature of Google Slides is easy PowerPoint compatibility.

Slides make it easy to create a presentation using their software and then export it as a PowerPoint file. You can also import a PowerPoint file and make changes to it using Slides.

 

PowerPoint Feature #1: PowerPoint Designer

PowerPoint Designer is a unique feature that uses a suggestion engine to provide you automatic design suggestions for your slides.

When you add a visual like an image to your slide, PowerPoint will show you several slide options to select. These layouts are based on principles from professionally designed slides.

 

PowerPoint Feature #2: Broadcast Live

Broadcast Live is another unique feature of Microsoft PowerPoint that allows you to share your slideshow in real time to anyone with an internet connection.

Broadcast live enables you to share a browser-based link where anyone can view your live presentation.

 

PowerPoint Feature #3:  Presenter View

Presenter View is another useful feature of PowerPoint. Using it, you can project your presentation to a second screen.

Sending your presentation to a second screen is a useful feature because it allows you to keep your speaker notes in front of you while your audience can pay attention to the slides.

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Templates

Google Slides and PowerPoint both have numerous templates you can customize and use in their presentation software.

In our next comparison section, we will look at these templates. A template is a pre-designed slideshow built to help you with a specific type of presentation.

Both Google Slides and PowerPoint have templates for things like classroom lessons, business plans and sales presentations.

Both Google Slides and PowerPoint have many examples of free templates, but they also have unique approaches to templates that we will discuss now.

Let’s look at how the templates compare between the two presentation software.

 

Google Slides Templates

When you are getting started with Google Slides, you will see its gallery of basic templates that you can customize according to your needs.

Additionally, Google Slide templates are open source and anyone can make an editable presentation using them.

The use of Google Slides templates makes it easy to designing beautiful presentations. These templates also makes Google Slides a formidable presentation app that competes with Apple products like Keynote and Microsoft products like PowerPoint.

If you need help translating templates into presentation designs, Google offers tutorials and even shares how you can use Slides to stream on Chromecast.

 

PowerPoint Templates

When it comes to templates, PowerPoint has the edge with volume. You can find thousands of visual elements and custom templates for PowerPoint in their gallery and across the web.

PowerPoint templates have a wide range of design options. This diversity makes PowerPoint the right choice for someone looking for variety with their presentations.

Additionally, PowerPoint has interesting custom graphs and stylized charts that can be challenging to recreate on Google Slides.

You could create a unique and robust presentation by just filling in the template with your visuals and copy. However, PowerPoint also gives you the option to more fully customize your presentation if you want to take a more hands on approach.

However, many of the templates inside the PowerPoint software have been the same for years. There are quite a few legacy templates that, while commonly used, are an excellent way to create presentations.

Aside from their presentation templates, PowerPoint utilizes a variety of theme layout options that you can use if you want to customize a presentation without using a template.

Additionally, PowerPoint templates are available in many places online.

Envato is an excellent repository for PowerPoint themes. There are thousands of ready-to-use templates with unique styles for different use cases.

Because so many designers go out of their way to create PowerPoint templates, Microsoft does not emphasize creating templates inside of PowerPoint.

 

Cost

Next, we will move on to the cost of each presentation software. Let’s take a look at a Google Slides vs. PowerPoint comparison when it comes to cost.

 

Google Slides Cost

Google Drive and Google Slides are completely free services. You will not need to pay to download and use these programs. All of the features we've discussed so far are 100% free.

The free cost is one of the most important value propositions for Google Slides. You can use all of the features on any device that’s compatible with the Google Slides app. All you need is a Google Account to use Google Slides.

 

PowerPoint Cost

PowerPoint is most typically purchased as part of the Microsoft Office suite, now called Microsoft 365. The monthly fee starts at $6.99/per month and increases depending on users and team needs.

Buying the software by itself costs $139 and comes with no storage.

Keep in mind that both PowerPoint Designer and Broadcast live are features that come included in the Microsoft Office suite.

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  • Add your own text, images and more
  • Customize colors, fonts and everything else
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Online vs. Offline Performance

An important consideration when comparing your presentation software choices is how they compare with online and offline performance.

There are some distinctions when it comes to presenting online and offline with Google Slides and PowerPoint.

This section will look at their distinctions and how each presentation software approaches online and offline options for their users.

In both cases, if the presentation is rich in interactive media and large photos, a slow connection will slow down performance if viewed online. In general, offline access is available on a limited basis.

 

Google Slides Performance

Google Slides is a predominantly cloud-based app built for seamless online performance. Slides offer a user experience in the browser that makes online use and collaboration simple, especially on desktop.

Google Slides has invested in its offline functionality via the Google Slides Offline program when it comes to offline performance.

Google Slides Offline is available via a Chrome browser extension or by using the Chrome operating system. It is possible to use Google Offline for iPad, iPhone, Android and any desktop operating system.

There’s even a Google Drive plug-in for Microsoft Office that allows you to work on PowerPoint offline and upload the finished result to Google Drive for collaboration or online sharing.

 

PowerPoint Performance

Microsoft has its own set of online accessibility options such via the Office 365 subscription. Additionally, you can use the PowerPoint Online web app.

When it comes to offline performance, PowerPoint provides robust offline apps for experience for desktop users. However, the offline experience is not as healthy for smartphones and tablets.

The PowerPoint mobile apps for Android, iOS and even the Microsoft Surface tablet fall short compared to Google Drive. The PowerPoint mobile apps are not as powerful as the desktop version.

 

Teamwork & Collaboration

Collaboration is a critical consideration when selecting the best presentation software for you and your company. The ability to work on presentations as a team is vital across business and education sectors.

This section will explore how Google Slides and PowerPoint compare to each other in terms of teamwork and collaboration.

 

Google Slides

Google Slides makes seamless collaboration possible between you and anyone on your team.

Multiple users can make comments and edit the presentation simultaneously using Google Slides. Any user can instantly see any changes that are made to the presentation.

It is also easy to restore previous versions of your presentation if you need to return to a preferred version.

For team members to work together on a Google Slides Presentation, they need a Google Account to work on the presentation.

The original author of the presentation can share the project with an unlimited number of users. Any collaborator just needs to be granted editing rights via their Gmail account.

Any edits on Google Slides occur in real time. Additionally, collaborators can also leave comments so everyone can stay on track with each other.

 

PowerPoint

Collaboration on PowerPoint is possible but needs a bit of preparation.

For a PowerPoint presentation to be editable as a team, it first needs to be uploaded to OneDrive or SharePoint Online for Microsoft 365.

From there, someone needs to add collaborators via email. Users can see when team members log into the presentation to make changes and see their projects.

If someone makes changes while a user isn’t logged on, they get a notification that changes have been made while they were away.

PowerPoint comes integrated with OneDrive, with sharing options ranging from email, direct link, social media to SharePoint and Live broadcast of PowerPoint slides via Office Presentation Service. You can also collaborate with others using the various online editions of PowerPoint.

Needless to say, PowerPoint has a robust Slideshow mode for presenting presentations which can be further aided using third-party add-ons like live annotations.

 

Storage & Backup

Creating a presentation is a lot of work. One of the worst feelings is when you lose a presentation after hours or days of work because of error.

To solve this issue, both Google Slides and PowerPoint have backup features that you can take advantage of on your desktop or mobile devices.

 

Google Slides

Every Google Drive account offers up to 15 GB of storage for free

When it comes to backup options, Google Slides saves all data on their cloud. This means you don't need to hit save every few minutes to ensure your work is not lost.

Google Slides also provides a helpful history review where you can explore previous versions of your presentation. This means you can restore earlier versions of your work if you do not like some of the recent edits you made.

 

PowerPoint

Because PowerPoint is a primarily desktop based presentation tool, all your presentations are stored directly on your computer.

However, you can also take advantage of the Microsoft OneDrive to store your PowerPoint files. Microsoft OneDrive is a cloud storage solution similar to Google Drive.

However, it requires a Microsoft 365 subscription that comes with a 5GB cloud storage plan for users.

Something to be aware of is that PowerPoint doesn’t offer automatic saving features unless you have an updated version of PowerPoint and you are an Office 365 subscriber.

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Embedding

Embedding media features like video and audio are critical to keep in mind when selecting a presentation software. Additionally, understanding how to embed the presentation itself on a web page is important if you need to share your presentation later.

Let’s take a look at how Google Slides and PowerPoint compare on this vital feature.

 

Google Slides

Google Slides enables you to embed your videos from a YouTube or Google Drive account. However, it is not possible to store standalone audio files in your presentation.

One of the major pluses about working with Slides is how easy it is to work with videos. You don't have to worry about installing any additional software to use video in Slides.

When it comes to uploading static pictures in Google Slides, you can upload your photos from a URL, a camera, your Google Drive or any desktop computer.

 

PowerPoint

In PowerPoint, media content is easy to embed into your presentation. You can freely embed both video and audio files in PowerPoint.

When you add your video or audio content to a One Drive account, embedding content on PowerPoint is particularly easy.

When it comes to adding static pictures into your PowerPoint presentation, you can include many types of graphics and animations.

In fact, for advanced users, you can even draw your own animations. You can also insert a YouTube video by using the online video embed option.

These are some of the possibilities for visual content in PowerPoint presentations.

 

Should You Use Google Slides or PowerPoint?

Both Google Slides and PowerPoint have their own strengths and weaknesses. The software you choose depends entirely on your unique needs.

For example, Google Slides offers real time collaboration abilities that make it an ideal solution for teams working on a presentation together.

Likewise, using Microsoft PowerPoint may be a better fit for someone who wants to work offline and who wants customization options without the need for internet accessibility.

When it comes to choosing between Google Slides and PowerPoint it mostly comes down to how you want to design your presentation. Each tool has capabilities and strengths that the other lacks.

For example, Google Slides makes it much easier to work across IOS, Android and desktop devices. However, Microsoft PowerPoint has a robust desktop solution that gives you the ability to do things like embed audio files and draw your animations.

 

Looking for the Best Presentation Software?

If you read this far, you might already know if Google Slides or PowerPoint is the best software for you. If not, don't worry — we have another option!

If you are looking for the best of both worlds, Visme is an incredibly effective presentation tool.

From unique and fun slideshows to sharp business slides, you can create the most effective presentation for your needs with our professionally designed templates.

Watch the video below for a quick intro to making presentations in Visme.

Additionally, you can create interactive slide decks with GIFs, maps, charts, popups, external links, voice-overs, YouTube videos and audio.

If you need to store your presentation in the cloud using Google Drive, Dropbox or other cloud-based systems, Visme gives you the ability to upload presentations easily.

When it comes to collaboration, Visme helps you work with your whole team to create beautifully designed presentations, infographics, reports, ebooks and social media graphics in file formats like JPG, PNG, GIF and MP4.

Sign up for a free Visme account today and try out the tools your presentation needs to be outstanding and unforgettable.

Disclaimer: Information is accurate as of January 2021

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    About the Author

    Brian Nuckols is a writer working in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He enjoys communicating visionary ideas in clear, action oriented language. When he’s not working on content for a transformative company you can find him analyzing dreams, creating music, and writing poetry.

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