by Adam Noar
PowerPoint vs. Canva! Could this be the most important debate of our time?
Probably not … but here’s the deal:
Here at Presentation Panda, we live for pitting two perfectly good software programs against each other in a bitter showdown fight to the death to see who wins.
We simply love looking at the pros and cons of different programs and while we do voice our opinions from time to time (looking at you, Prezi vs. PowerPoint), we think it all depends on what you’re looking for.
So let’s take a look at the pros and cons of Canva and PowerPoint for presentations so you can make the best choice!
Canva – a fast and super simple free online tool to easily create slides
Canva was born out of a desire to make design simple for people, and it grew from there. It’s used for all sorts of designs, from social media posts to presentations (which is what we’ll be talking about here). It’s grown in popularity tremendously, and claims to have over 10 million users today.
So what’s the big deal?
Well, like we mentioned before. It’s simple. Like, really simple. It’s easy to understand, easy to use, and a great intro for people who have never tried to design anything in their life. And if that sounds too difficult, they even offer an interactive tutorial when you get started (that gets you up to speed in 23 seconds – what a time suck!).
Of course, with simplicity comes a bit of a sacrifice in features. The design ability is pretty limited – but again, that’s part of the point. With the small amount of features and that tutorial we mentioned above, it may actually be easier to learn than PowerPoint!
A Nice Selection of Preloaded Custom Fonts
Okay, on to something you hear us talk about a lot here: fonts. You’ll be happy to hear that not only does Canva have a pretty decent selection of pre-loaded fonts, but we approve of them! In fact, a lot of them are ones we highly recommend.
We really love this functionality. Not only is it user-friendly, when it’s combined with the search feature, it makes it super easy to discover image elements and include the ones you like.
We know what you’re thinking. We can read your mind. You’re thinking, “But Presentation Panda, this has to be a crazy expensive program. With that slick website and fancy talk about making design simple for everyone, they must charge a lot.”
Nope! They’re free.
If price is your biggest concern, you really can’t go wrong with Canva. You can use every single template Canva has for free, no sneaky “freemium” business. The only thing you would have to pay for is if you wanted to use one of the premium images they offer, and even then it’s only $1 an image.
Don’t want to pay a single penny? We feel you. They also offer tons of free images, so there’s no need to use the premium ones if you don’t want to.
Canva also has a premium pricing model for some extra features which leads us to our next point.
Canva for Work
For $12.95 a month you can get access to Canva for Work which will allows you (and anyone else on our team) to easily create graphics that are aligned with your visual branding — no extensive design training required. Using Canva for Work can save you time and ensure your graphics look awesome.
Before we start on this one, know that this is a premium option. But it’s really cool, so we wanted to share.
If you’re making presentations regularly for your business or the company you work for, and you have certain fonts and colors you use consistently, you can save them within Canva. This makes them easy to access and use instead of having to enter them in each time. If you do this a lot and you don’t mind spending a little money, this could be worth it.
Of course, no program is perfect. Which brings us to…
Yeah, this is a pro and a con for us. While it’s awesome that it’s so easy to use, the features are really, really minimal. Currently, the ribbon only lets you:
- Pick your font
- Make the font bigger, smaller, bold, or italic
- Change the color of objects or make them transparent
- Hyperlink objects
- Align text
Annnnd that’s about it. Simple, yes. For YOUR specific needs though, it may be TOO simple. We will leave that for you to decide!
Just because we like to have complete control over the fonts, colors, animations, images, and transitions doesn’t mean we’re control freaks!
Okay maybe. But all of those things come together to create a really amazing, unique, and personal presentation. If you’re looking for that special touch and really want to wow your audience, you may find it harder if you’re using Canva.
Maximum of 30 Slides
This may not be a problem for you if you have a short presentation, but Canva maxes out at 30 slides. We do like to think that less is more, but sometimes you just need more slides.
Features We Miss
There are a lot of great features on PowerPoint that we really love, that are sorely lacking with Canva. Included are:
Animations – you can’t introduce points one at a time, or animate any of the content on your slides. We do generally advocate going easy on the animation, but a little bit can spice things up! This makes it pretty static.
Transitions – it just cuts to the next slide, no option to insert a transition. Again, this can make your presentation feel pretty static.
Parallax scrolling – this is one of our favorite features because it just brings that next level of slickness and professionalism to your presentation. It’s a great way to emulate Prezi a little bit (without the dizziness), and that’s just not available with Canva.
Video – you definitely can’t record video with Canva – you can’t even insert video! You’re limited to images only for this program.
PowerPoint – a powerful (but still user-friendly) program to make some slide magic
PowerPoint is a household name. It’s sturdy, reliable, and even though it can be used for evil, we like to help people use its powers for good!
Basically, PowerPoint is a Microsoft product used for creating presentations. It has a lot of awesome features and is very adaptable to just about anything you want to use it for. And if peer pressure is your thing, an incredible 500 million people around the world use it.
Of course, it’s no secret that we love PowerPoint at Presentation Panda. In fact, our awesome template is made just for PowerPoint (plug plug plug). We may be a tiny bit biased, but we’re more than capable of recognizing the pros and cons of PowerPoint.
So what do we love and hate about it?
Yes, Canva is easy, but so is PowerPoint! Most of the functions are extremely user-friendly and easy to figure out just by poking around. It’s all organized really well, and the ribbon is easy to navigate.
PowerPoint is like Earth-based heaven for anyone that wants a lot of features to use in their presentation. The design features and possibilities are close to endless! The contrast really comes out when going from PowerPoint to Canva – we love our design features and really miss them when using Canva.
Yeah, the word is getting a little overused (cough, Buzzfeed, cough). But it’s true! There are lots of hacks and workarounds you can do with PowerPoint that can result in some stunning looking slides. Some that we love are animations to introduce your points one by one, custom templates (like are award winning Influencer Template), and inserting video clips to change things up and keep your audience engaged.
This one is easy – PowerPoint doesn’t play favorites. It works on every computer, simple as that. Your boss probably expects your next presentation to be in PowerPoint and if your company is a stickler about keeping info secure on a private server (i.e., not stored in the cloud like Canva) PowerPoint may be your only option.
If you need to whip up an awesome presentation and you’re on a time crunch, PowerPoint is the place to go. There are tons of design shortcuts like templates, ppt keyboard hacks, and easy-to-do animations that give it some pizzazz.
Speaking of video, it’s not only possible to insert video; you can actually record and play videos through PowerPoint.
Extra Control During Your Presentations
Even if you create a stunning looking presentation, it’s still possible for your audience to get a little bored. There are a lot of options for things you can do within your presentation to keep people engaged!
In addition to inserting a video like we mentioned above, you can create a hyper-linked table of contents so that you can jump from section to section, you can draw on the slide to get and direct people’s attention to a certain point, or you can use Control + B to turn the screen black and shift attention back to you.
Okay, enough of the lovey-dovey stuff. We’ve got some bones to pick too…
It’s always money, money, money with you! But it’s true, PowerPoint is certainly not free. Most people buy the entire Office 365 program (which includes other essentials like Word and Excel) for a one-time purchase of $149, or a yearly cost of $100 or $70 (depending on the functionality and different programs you want).
That can be a lot of money for some people. You can buy PowerPoint separately for $109, which makes it a pretty clear choice to just buy the package. But still, just looking solely at a money comparison with Canva, $0 vs. $109 is a pretty easy choice.
We gave Canva props for their fonts, which we’re going to rub in a little bit here. We are just not a fan of the pre-loaded fonts on PowerPoint, and they’re pretty limited. Canva is the clear winner in this category as well.
If you’re still in the PowerPoint camp but want more font options, it’s easy enough to download the fonts you want from places like Font Squirrel. There are tons of categories that are organized really nicely, so it’s very easy to find exactly what you’re looking for.
What you’ll notice is that there are two decent sized cons with PowerPoint, and lots of small ones with Canva. It really does just depend on what you’re looking for – a fast and super simple free program to easily create some basic slides, or a powerful (but still user-friendly) program to really make some magic.
Of course, either one can fall prey to what we talk about a lot here, which are boring presentations with no creativity and lots of bullet points (we really hate bullet points). Whichever program you end up using, check out the rest of our blog for tons of tips on how to make a great presentation!
What do you think? When it comes to PowerPoint vs. Canva are you partial to Canva or PowerPoint, or do you use another program entirely? Did we miss any of your favorite features or biggest pet peeves? Let us know!