Chip's Technical Blog

Tech commentary of thoughts, challenges, how-to's, and the mundane.

Alternatives to powerpoint

So I have recently re-configured my laptop to dual boot Linux with Windows (before it was just Windows). I’ve found, since making the switch, that the main reason I still use Windows is to use PowerPoint for presentations or posters. I tried using OpenOffice for my presentation, and that’s reasonable as long as I don’t need complex figure animation (in particular custom motion paths). I actually had made one of my recent presentations totally in OpenOffice, switching back almost at the end to be able to use custom path animation. It was a bit of a disappointment, really.

So I’m interested in the existence of other open-source alternatives for presentations. Another limiting factor is that the presentation tool must also run in Windows, since most of the time projectors “just work” with Windows, while I haven’t figured out how to make them work with Linux yet (requires rebooting, for example). I’m aware of KPresenter and LaTeX-Beamer, but the options start getting slim after that. The main problem with the former is that it seems less mature than the open office one, while the latter is great for simple presentations, but not so much for figures or their animation.

So what do you use? What other options are there? Can you get good animations from elsewhere. I’ve heard suggestions that we should use flash for our presentations, but I can’t imagine having to learn it just to do a presentation.

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