Anyone who's sat through a freshman college lecture knows that PowerPoint presentations can be a real bore.

But we're all busy people, and no one has time to design the most engaging slideshow possible every time.

That is, unless you have these awesome tools.

ShapeChef

Ever get frustrated with the limited selection of default graphics PowerPoint has on offer?

Then you'll be interested in ShapeChef, a graphic and chart library add-in.

ShapeChef offers an impressive collection of quality graphics, charts, and icons to add more character to your slides, such as:

The collection continues to grow, and offers simple integration into PowerPoint as a library pane. You can then download and organize whichever graphic collections you need.

Because the collection is so expansive, you'll probably want to make use of ShapeChef's instant search feature to find the graphics you're looking for. Simply drag and drop them into your slideshow. You can also create custom content by adding your own graphics from slides into your library.

G-Tools

G-Tools is one of those add-ins that you don't realize you really need until you try it. It creates a new ribbon tab full of powerful design tools that simplifies how you create slideshows.

Here are just a few of the many features G-Tools offers:

Office Timeline

Ever tried to create a custom timeline using a word processor or shapes in PowerPoint?

I don't recommend it.

Thankfully, there's an add-in that makes the whole process a breeze--Office Timeline.

Office Timeline helps you quickly create project visuals that highlight your work and impress viewers. As the only Gantt chart and timeline software specifically for knowledge workers, Office Timeline works right inside PowerPoint.

Its simple and intuitive interface leaves virtually no learning curve--even the least creative of us can create professional, highly distinct timelines and Gantt charts without spending money or too much time.

ParticiPoll

Like to do audience polling as part of your presentations but don't want to use clickers or apps to make it happen? ParticiPoll is the plug-in for you.

ParticiPoll requires no hardware other than your audience members' devices, and allows you to add polls to slides any time--even during your presentation.

The add-in can be easily installed on your PC in PowerPoint with no required install rights.

No need to preload questions and responses, and you can even download your poll data and anonymous comments for review with the pro version.

Aploris

Some of us are fans of adding charts to our slideshows, but they can often become the most time-consuming part to put together.

Unless you have Aploris.

The Aploris plug-in works with both PowerPoint and Excel to help you easily create all kinds of descriptive charts, like waterfall, Gantt, spider, bar, Marimekko/Mekko, and more.

One of the most helpful features for those who work with both Macs and PCs is that the files can be shared and even edited on either device.

Get complex with your charts by adding in details like data rows, growth arrows, trend lines, and average lines.

Office Mix

Do you like creating video slideshows?

Then Office Mix is a must-have tool.

This free PowerPoint add-in gives you all the tools you need to create interactive videos, including:

An incredible tool for educators, consumers, and businesspeople alike, Office Mix has been used to create impactful interactive videos by Bill Gates, Nathan Myhrvold, and many other high-profile figures.

If you don't use any add-ins for PowerPoint, it's likely even your most painstakingly created slideshow will bring some yawns from the audience.

But take advantage of these six add-ins to make it easier than ever to create engaging presentations.

Published on: Mar 21, 2016