Free Presentation Software: Are You Getting What You Pay For?

What type of presentation software does your company use when creating presentations? Do you have a library of paid or subscription programs at your disposal? Or, do you go the frugal route and use free presentation software instead? As long as your team continues to produce quality content and they have the tools you need, either option should be fine, right? Let’s take a closer look and ask, are they really equal?

Presentation Software

How do we define presentation software anyway? A presentation is a story your team puts together in order to send a message. Presentations matter when you pitch an idea to a boss, sell a client's products and services or convince an audience of an idea. Of course, straight-up talking to a crowd or sending them a note won’t create the required impact. Creating a presentation that uses text, images and audio (and even video) to tell the complete story makes your pitch much better.

The Choice of Software Depends on What You Need

Choosing the right presentation software for your needs should be a simple matter. A program’s tools and features should provide what you need to create the slides you want. Also, if the interface is intuitive and easy to use, that’s a big plus! And of course, there’s the matter of cost.

Free presentation software, while limited in function, is free. For many people, the considerations stop there. Meanwhile, paid software comes in two flavors: subscription models and one-time purchases. Single-purchase software, while more costly, gives you full ownership of the program as long as you want to use it. Meanwhile, subscription models require monthly or annual payments (both cheaper than purchasing) in order to continue using the software.

Both models allow users to access the software’s arsenal of features and tools. In the case of tiered software, more features become available for users who pay for the higher model or subscription plan. To settle which presentation software type offers the better use of your time and creativity, let’s look at the pros and cons of paid and free presentation software.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Free Digital Presentation Software

The best things in life are free, right? Hopefully, the current crop of free presentation programs also fits the bill. For the sake of argument, let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of free presentation software.

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Advantage: It’s Free!

In this current economy, getting anything for free is a gift we’ll never get tired of. Having free software that you can use to create presentations means you can focus on creating your masterpiece without worrying if the software will prompt you to pay up before allowing you to save or print. While office workers or entrepreneurs won’t likely prefer free software to a paid one, having this option is a godsend for educators, students and other individuals with limited funds.

Advantage: It’s Often Open-Source and Customizable

Free presentation software is often also open-source. This means that the code used to build the application is open for any user to look up, improve or modify. Free software, often coded by the owners themselves, can always use extra pairs of hands and eyes to fix bugs or improve features. In many cases, enterprising users can take up the challenge and introduce improvements and custom features to make the software perform even better. Open-source software often adopts the changes that make it better and they become permanent features.

Disadvantage: Free Software Comes at a Price

Sadly, free software does have its drawbacks. Many developers can only provide free software if they can generate advertising revenue. As a result, the free software you’re using might regularly pause operations in order to display a call for donations or a paid advertisement video.  This can be a very frustrating experience.  

For many freeware products, developers often limit usage in order to force users to purchase the full version. Users who want to continue using the software or want to access the locked features will need to purchase the full version or sign up for a paid subscription.

Disadvantage: Limited or No Support

Users who encounter problems during the operation of free presentation software won’t enjoy the luxury of customer support. Often, the fullest extent of documentation and troubleshooting is contained in the user manual PDF embedded within the application. At best, users can probably find answers to their questions by connecting with fellow users via online community groups.

There are many free presentation apps that are actually trial versions of paid software. Access to customer support along with added usability and features will become available once the user decides to upgrade their account from a free (actually trial) membership to a paid one.

Disadvantage: Potential Security Issues

Developers who offer free presentation software may have cut corners during development. This includes forsaking any attempts to secure the program from online attempts to access its inner workings.

For presenters working with sensitive figures and data, using unsecured software can lead to data theft from unscrupulous individuals. This data often includes valuable contact information (submitted during registration) that many advertisers would gladly pay for. In addition, malicious users can also tweak open-source software and add exploits that make data even more accessible.

Remember what they say about free products such as software? If the product is free, you're not the customer. Actually, you’re the product.  

Advantages of Paid Digital Presentation Software

Using paid digital presentation software can help avoid the anxiety that comes from using freeware or trial version programs. Of course, the main drawback is the price tag. For the majority of users, paying a premium to tap into full features, access support services and avoid security issues associated with ad-heavy freeware, is always worth the price.  

Source: Shutterstock

Other advantages of paid presentation software include the following:


Purchasing software or subscribing to a service means sharing personal and payment data. Legitimate developers will always commit to ensuring that all user data remains safe and confidential from third-party access. This is in stark contrast to many freeware offerings, which often compromise your data in exchange for the free use of their software.


Paid presentation software makers already have a great grasp of their market. Many will offer tiered services that fit each user’s specific requirements. Beginners and infrequent users can avail of the basic package for a minimal cost. Meanwhile, power users and enterprise accounts can subscribe to higher tiers in order to unlock advanced features as well as add multiple users.

As the account-holder’s business grows, the software provider can offer higher level accounts to accommodate the growing demand. In the case of presentation software, that means bigger storage space for complex presentations that can take up gigabytes. It can also mean features such as adding interactive elements to presentations, enabling collaboration among multiple users and using analytics to measure engagement.  


Instead of relying on a PDF-based user guide, paid presentation software will have a team of customer support specialists to assist you when you’re having trouble. This also means having access to a wide range of tutorials, tips and guides to help you get started. Support will also matter whenever you run into the rare occasion where you can’t seem to find your files in the cloud or why you can’t seem to open the document you saved the other night.

The Case for Subscription-Based Presentation Software

When you think about it, choosing paid presentation software over its free-to-use counterpart isn’t a tough decision. Some may say that paying for software means paying for features that you can get for free. Actually, paying for software helps you avoid the problems and pitfalls associated with using free software. For something as important as presentations for your customers, a little investment in tools that make your work better and easier can go a long way.  

Between the one-time purchase model and the subscription-based one,  the subscription model offers certain advantages for the user. For one, you get what you pay for. Instead of having to pay for a full system that offers features you don’t need, you can choose the tier that best fits your requirements. Additionally, subscription-based presentation software will take care of installing updates and adding new features. Conversely, buying software often requires you to purchase an updated version almost every year in order to access newer features.

Finally, subscription software is always accessible. Software-as-a-service (SaaS) won’t need users to install the application on their computers. Instead, they can launch and run the application by simply logging into their account on the software webpage. Rather than limiting your use of the presentation to installed computers and devices, you can open and edit presentations using any internet-connected computer, anywhere.  

Ingage Can Help You Create Compelling and Powerful Presentations

When your goal is creating presentations that impress and persuade, free presentation software just won’t cut it. So, you’d be smart to consider software such as Ingage to design presentations that truly wow your audience.

Ingage is cloud-based interactive presentation software that helps you create amazing presentations. Instead of the usual uni-directional slideshows your clients expect, with Ingage you can create a more compelling story by adding interactivity at every step. Increase your viewers’ engagement levels by allowing them to explore sections with a click of the mouse. Additionally, entire teams can collaborate on presentations with Ingage’s sharing options. This allows all stakeholders to contribute, edit and review a single document no matter where they are.

Then, go a step further when you send the presentation to your audience and Ingage will track their reactions to determine which sections made impressions and which ones could use more work. The powerful analytics features will even measure how long viewers stayed in each section.

Learn more about how Ingage can increase your audience’s interest and engagement. Visit us to set up a free demo and learn all the ways Ingage can up your presentation game. We’ll be more than happy to show you how easy it is to Ingage!

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