What are the main uses of PowerPoint?
- Building traditional slide presentations in 16:9 aspect ratio
- Making digital portfolios
- Creating simple infographics
- Creating basic animations.
- Producing short videos
- Making simple wireframing
Microsoft PowerPoint is the world’s go-to presentation software. PowerPoint is used by millions of people worldwide to create slide decks that serve as visual aids in presentations, speeches, lectures, and business pitches.
Ever felt that sinking feeling after a presentation, wondering if your message truly landed? You're not alone. While PowerPoint has been the gold standard for years, it comes with some challenges.
Sure, it lets you whip up a presentation in no time but, at the same time, the lack of safeguards in PowerPoint makes it all too easy to get carried away, overstuff slides with text, or mess up the design without even realizing it.
PowerPoint's static design can also limit creativity and engagement, making it hard to create visually appealing decks, tell memorable stories, or adapt to different audiences.
After all is said and done, a presentation that was easy for you to create might be hard for your audience to follow.
This blog post will help you understand what you can and can’t use PowerPoint for. But also what you can use instead of PowerPoint to better achieve your goals.
Let’s get started!
PowerPoint is a tool often associated with school projects and basic presentations, but it also serves various business needs. Let's unpack its main applications across different business sectors.
Sales teams use PowerPoint at different stages of the sales funnel for product demos, sales pitches, and business proposals, conveying value and converting prospects into customers.
Marketing teams draft campaigns, product stories, and market reports in PowerPoint. It helps them organize and present strategies, secure stakeholder buy-in, and promote their products externally.
Companies and nonprofits use PowerPoint to present financial stories, goals, milestones, and budgets, building trust with potential investors and donors and showing how their contributions will make a difference.
PowerPoint is the go-to for organizing data into digestible pieces. Quarterly financials, project status updates, and key performance indicators (KPIs) are laid out in a structured format using color-coded charts and graphs.
Companies create branding guidelines, vision and mission statements, and culture presentations in PowerPoint, ensuring that every piece of content aligns with the company’s established brand identity.
Thought leaders use PowerPoint to share their expertise, such as industry insights and market trend analyses, establishing authority and credibility at conferences, webinars, and guest lectures.
Human Resources departments use PowerPoint to create step-by-step guides for new software tools, train new hires, or upskill existing team members, ensuring everyone has the tools they need to succeed in the workplace.
PowerPoint simplifies internal training, turning HR policies or company-wide initiatives into easily understandable slides. These are shared across departments, making sure everyone on the team, no matter their role, gets the new information.
PowerPoint is a staple in the world of presentations, but it's not without its drawbacks. Let’s answer the question: what are the main features of PowerPoint (and why some of them are quite bad for business).
PowerPoint organizes information into individual slides with a set 16:9 aspect ratio which helps create a standardized structured presentation. But this format constricts every slide to the exact same format which limits your storytelling to similar-looking slides with bullet points.
Here's what a standard slide set looks like:
PowerPoint has an intuitive design interface with complete creative freedom. But this limitless freedom gives more opportunities to break the design, go off-brand, and make incoherent visual language through your slide deck.
Here's what it looks like:
PowerPoint offers a variety of pre-designed PPT templates that save time and ensure a consistent look. However, this convenience can limit unique branding opportunities, resulting in presentations that feel generic.
You can go here to see what modern interactive presentation templates look like.
Users can easily insert images, charts, and graphs into slides. However, these visuals are static, lacking the interactive engaging experience that modern audiences often expect.
Here's what a static PPT looks like compared to an interactive deck:
PowerPoint files are easy to share, but because PowerPoints are files rather than web documents, anytime you share your presentation you lose control over it. Any updated version you make will not be applied to anything you’ve already shared.
Extensive text customization options are available, but they can tempt you to play around with many different fonts and font sizes. This leads to cluttered slides that look unprofessional and are hard for audiences to follow.
PowerPoint allows users to add animated transitions to presentations, but these don’t support your storytelling and can often distract from the key message. When overused, these PowerPoint animations can easily appear unprofessional.
Here's a tutorial on how to use animations in PowerPoint:
PowerPoint integrates well with other Microsoft products, like Excel and Word, but this can lead to a dependency on the Microsoft ecosystem, which may not suit all businesses.
To an extent, it also misses out on integrations with major business tools like CRMs, design and planning tools, e-signature tools, lead capture tools, and more.
Note: If your revenue depends on effective business presentations, then integrations with your lead management platforms can be critical for growth. You may want to learn more about how Storydoc presentation maker integrations can help your business.
These features help speakers stay organized during their presentations. However, this limits your presentations to visual aids rather than a self-sufficient document since your audience relies on you to be there to communicate the information in full.
PowerPoint supports multiple team members working on a file at the same time, but this can lead to version control issues, design inconsistencies, and conflicts when edits overlap.
For more information, check out this video on surprising PowerPoint features:
If you’re using PowerPoint with concrete goals in mind, then doing it right is always a concern. More so when using PowerPoint for business, which has considerably higher stakes than using it for education or private use.
In business, you can’t afford to come off as unprofessional, and your presentations should always be crisp and clear.
The following tips were written for those of you for whom failure is not an option. But everyone else can benefit from this as well :)
Let’s go over the worst and best practices for effectively using PowerPoint in a business setting:
Design for clarity: Use large, readable fonts and high-contrast colors that are easy on the eyes.
Use hyperlinks wisely: Link to relevant resources or additional information, turning your presentation into an interactive document.
Include notes: When sending over a file, add speaker notes to guide the reader through the presentation, providing additional context that you would verbally communicate during a live presentation.
Optimize file size: Compress images and embed videos to make your file easy to share via email or collaborative platforms without sacrificing quality.
Use the Slide Master: Use this feature to apply uniform styles and headers to all slides, saving time and ensuring consistency.
Don’t overload slides: Avoid cramming slides with excessive text or complex graphs that are hard to interpret at a glance.
Don’t ignore the aspect ratio: Design slides that fit common screen sizes, avoiding awkward cropping or scaling during the presentation.
Don’t overcomplicate charts: Simplify data visualizations to ensure they are easy for your audience to understand quickly.
Don’t overuse bullet points: Aim for variety in slide layouts and avoid turning every slide into a bullet-point list.
Don’t close off communication: Instead of a generic ‘thank you’, always conclude with a slide that guides your audience on the steps they should take next, making the purpose of your presentation clear.
Here's an example of a slide with a clear next step:
PowerPoint is the old way of doing presentations. It's a legacy tool that's long overdue for retirement.
A better alternative to achieve dynamic, engaging narratives is a modern interactive presentation maker.
Your best PowerPoint alternative is Storydoc. It allows you to create presentations that let audiences explore content at their own pace, fostering a more natural and interactive experience.
Here’s what an interactive Storydoc looks like. Compare that to your current PowerPoint:
Switching from PowerPoint to a new way of presenting doesn't have to be a leap into the unknown. Interactive presentation templates are here to ensure that your transition is smooth, simple, and stress-free.
The intuitive layout feels instantly familiar, minimizing the learning curve and allowing you to focus on what matters most—your content. They offer sleek designs, engaging interactive elements, and a structure that guides your storytelling naturally.
Try Storydoc interactive presentation maker for 14 days free (keep any presentation you make forever!)