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Academic presentations: Software

Good practice in presentations including design and structure. Covers group and poster presentations

“Technologies such as PowerPoint and Keynote—or new tools like Prezi—are only useful to the degree that they amplify our message...”

Garr Reynolds, Presentation Zen

The presentation software you choose will mostly depend on the device you prefer to use and the facilities available where you are presenting.

Most students use PowerPoint as it is the most widely available, works on any device and is the most likely software to be available at all venues. This does not mean you cannot use something else though if there is the facility to plug in laptops, iPads etc. This page showcases some of the leading programs and apps.


PowerPoint is the industry standard presentation software. It has been around for decades (since the early 1990s) and during the 2000s developed a poor reputation which led to the phrase 'Death by PowerPoint'. This reputation is unjust however as PowerPoint is simply a tool and if you use good presentation structure, presentation design and slide design you can produce highly effective and engaging presentations.

Staff and students at the University of Hull can download PowerPoint for free as part of MS Office 365 (for Windows, macOS and mobile devices). Just go to and log in - the Install Office button should be towards the top right.


Help with using PowerPoint

MS PowerPoint SkillsGuide - with step-by-step instructions either online or to download.

Help from Microsoft on all Office applications (Office 365)

Microsoft forum - Ask Tech Support or read other answers

This video shows some innovative slide design using PowerPoint:


Keynote logoKeynote is presentation software only available on Apple products (Mac, iPad etc). It is extremely popular with its users and is the leading market contender to PowerPoint.

To see a Keynote presentation about Keynote click here: Keynote about Keynote. Please note some features such as transitions may only show if you download and open it in KeyNote on Apple devices.


Help with Keynote

Apple's own Keynote Support

Apple's own Keynote community forum

Haiku Deck

Haiku Deck is mainly an iOS app but there is also a Web App. Its main aim is to simplify presentation design. It is extremely easy to use but can be frustrating if you are used to the high levels of edit-ability of other presentation software. The justification for this is that by reducing the amount of text it allows on a slide, and limiting where you can put images, it forces you to create better slides. Here is an example presentation:



You can download a free trial and the student pricing for the pro version costs less than £4 a month.


Prezi logo

Prezi is web-based presentation software that uses a zooming user interface (ZUI) to connect images, creating aPrezi logo dynamic (if occasionally nauseating) display. It is free to use as long as you do not mind all your presentations being publicly accessible.  You can pay to keep them private (less than £40 a year).

If you go to the Prezi website. you can sign up/log in and get excellent support.

Prezi can also be used for creating diagrams, mind-mapping, creating online portfolios and much more (and there ARE guidelines on how to avoid stimulating nausea!).

An example is shown here (best played in full screen mode):



SlideDog logo​SlideDog is not a piece of software to use to create presentations per se, but it does allow you to seamlessly mix PowerPoint presentations, video, images etc to create a combined presentation.

Find out more and download it from here: