When it comes to presentation software, most users agree there's one clear standard. We've found some Web-based resources to help you make your point.
Best of the Net
Love it or hate it, PowerPoint is here to stay.
Got any doubts? Do a quick Web search. You'll find hundreds of sites supporting Microsoft's presentation software. The selection of sites has jumped noticeably since last year's release of PowerPoint 2002, with its expanded animation technology, new tools for diagramming and rotating images, and improved ways to print and preview presentations.
Although PowerPoint isn't the only slide-show software on the market -- Harvard Graphics Advanced Presentations and Corel Presentations are among the others -- it is very much the king of its universe. Analysts consider PowerPoint the category killer; it accounts for at least 95% of the presentation-software market.
That's why, when we recruited several power users -- and one novice presenter -- to evaluate on-line resources for slide-show software, we sent them only to PowerPoint-related sites. We excluded sites that weren't business related or that seemed too technical or industry specific. Finally, we opted against rating Microsoft's own PowerPoint site.
What was left? A handful of sites that offer free templates, self-paced tutorials, or presentation advice and information. In some cases, of course, those materials are loss leaders, intended to entice visitors into buying, for instance, training programs or bigger collections of templates. But we asked our panelists to focus on the free resources available.
The sites that are reviewed here offer plenty of value for PowerPoint presenters, but -- as is often the case when you get something for nothing -- you may have to hunt around a little to find it.
"Don't be afraid to dig into these sites," says panelist Karina Shaver. "Some have wonderful information that isn't accessible or obvious from the home page."