Finally, free presentation tools are giving PowerPoint a run for its money. Here are the three we like best.

SlideRocket

SlideRocket is an online tool with stylish templates that make it easy to build impressive slide shows in a short time. Presentations can be published online, embedded on a website, or exported to PowerPoint if you won't have Internet access when you make your presentation.

Zoho Show

Zoho's templates look as if they were designed in 1999, not 2009. But the Web-based slide shows are almost as customizable as PowerPoint presentations. You can import Excel charts, a major advantage over SlideRocket, and export your slide shows to PowerPoint. And if you share a presentation online, you can track how many people have viewed it.

OpenOffice.org 3 Impress

Impress shares almost all of PowerPoint's features, and the latest version runs more reliably than previous ones. You can import charts from the Calc spreadsheet program, OpenOffice's alternative to Excel, and save your slide show as a PowerPoint document, even on a computer that doesn't have PowerPoint.