by Adam Noar
Ready for another presentation software rumble?
First, we brought you PowerPoint vs. Prezi.
Now, it’s time for PowerPoint vs. Slidebean!
Most of you are already familiar with PowerPoint but you might not be as familiar with Slidebean:
Slidebean is a newer presentation software that launched in 2014 and has quickly grown to 250,000 users (compared to 500 million PowerPoint users worldwide). The company is focused on allowing people to create simple and beautiful slides quickly.
So how is Slidebean different?
With Slidebean, users start by inputting their written content (i.e., text). Slidebean then turns that content into a more visual format which users can tweak to fit their needs (change the color theme, add logos, add pictures, etc.)
There are many differences between PowerPoint and Slidebean and since most of you already know what PowerPoint offers were going to focus on the 5 things that Slidebean brings to the table along with our commentary after trying the presentation software for 14 days.
Ding! Ding! Let’s begin with a quick overview of Slidebean and then get into the pros (and cons) of Slidebean compared to PowerPoint:
#1.) Slidebean brings boring text to life quickly
Slidebean’s philosophy is to rely on you to enter your content (i.e., text) and then use its “magic beans” to turn your content into a professional looking presentation.
Similar to Canva, Slidebean is very much “plug and play” and really is very simple to create slides. Unlike PowerPoint that starts you off with an empty canvas and a ton of tools (which involves more of a learning curve), Slidebean walks you through all the steps using its intuitive interface.
When starting a new presentation, all you have to do is curate the text, images, and videos you want to include. Then, select a theme and Slidebean will create a presentation for you, complete with formatting.
Slidebean’s outline editor makes it easy to create slides from your content
It all sounds too good to be true right?
The downside to this plug and play setup is that you won’t get the same level of customization that PowerPoint offers.
With Slidebean there are simply fewer options for designing your slide which can be a good or bad thing depending on your existing PowerPoint skills and what you’re looking for.
Items that can be added to a Slidebean slide are limited. This is good for simplicity but bad for customization.
For us Pandas here, who like tweak every element of a slide, we think Slidebean’s lack of slide customization can be limiting. We want to be able to customize everything (fonts, icons, shapes, etc.) and PowerPoint is still king across all presentation software platforms when it comes to this. There are so many tools in PowerPoint for creating nice looking slides. The problem is most people don’t know how to use them properly and/or don’t have the time to dive into them.
#2.) Slidebean has a library of free images and animated GIFs
If you have been following our blog for a while you should know that you need focus on increasing your images to the max.
People are highly visual in nature and the way you keep people glued to your slide deck is by incorporating lots of good-looking visuals.
Slidebean’s user interface makes it easy to add images to slides. Simply pick an image that you want to change, or insert a new image. Then, choose from a library of preloaded images that you can search from or upload your own.
Slidebean’s image library needs some improvement
Exploring the available images, we were a bit underwhelmed. The selection of images needs some work and it would be better if they had a partnership with some of the highly reputable free stock image websites such as Unsplash. As you can see in the above image example, when we searched for term “meeting” the image selection provided was pretty weak.
Nonetheless, Slidebean has an image library and PowerPoint doesn’t.
While it’s certainly not difficult to find nice images online and paste them into PowerPoint, it would be nice if PowerPoint had this type of image integration in the future. It’s a nice time saver that many would appreciate. I’m sure there has been a conversation over at Microsoft about this.
#3.) Slidebean incorporates cool icons from The Noun Project”
We talk about presentation icons a lot here at Presentation Panda. After all, icons are kind of the new black.
Slidebean has partnered with The Noun Project (a website dedicated to housing icons from the best icon designers in the world) to make it easy to insert cool icons into presentations (as seen in the picture below).
Slidebean offers a variety of icons from The Noun Project
This is a smart move, considering that The Noun Project is a fantastic resource for everything icons.
Unfortunately, the icons inserted into a Slidebean presentation cannot be customized in any way at this time. That’s a bummer! For example, we would have liked to be able to change the color of the icons.
PowerPoint provides its own set of icons which can be customized. The downside is that it doesn’t have the huge selection that The Noun Project offers. Of course, anyone can grab an icon from The Noun Project website and insert it into their slide deck. It just takes some extra steps.
#4.) Slidebean offers analytics
Slidebean allows you to track your viewer’s behavior for each presentation.
You can find out when, where and for how long they viewed your presentation as well as which slides they looked at for the longest.
For some people, this feature will not be important. For others, it could be very helpful.
For example, if you’re a sales rep it can help you prioritize your opportunities and point out who to call, when to call, and what to talk about.
PowerPoint does not offer any analytics at this time.
#5.) Slidebean offers customizable templates (for Premium or Professional users)
Slidebean users who are willing to pay for the “Premium” or “Professional” plans (starting at $19 per month) get access to a curated library of premade templates that can be customized.
We think premade templates is one key area that PowerPoint needs to improve in.
The templates that Slidebean offers are more helpful than PowerPoint’s (that’s honestly not saying much). They have created templates around different types of presentations such pitch decks, marketing, etc.
I think the templates that Slidebean offers are OK – they’re better than what PowerPoint offers, as they are more functional, but they’re not on the same level as the professionally designed PowerPoint templates available for download at Graphic River.
#6.) Slidebean provides 24/7 phone and email support (for Professional users)
For $29 per month, Slidebean offers 24/7 support from a dedicated account manager, professional designer consultation time and design reviews into the monthly cost.
Keep in mind that Slidebean is a bit more expensive than PowerPoint if you’re looking for these extra hand-holding features.
PowerPoint costs $5 /month per user (part of the Office 365 which includes PowerPoint, Excel, Word, Skype, and Outlook).
Slidebean does offer three pricing plans so if the extra hand-holding features are less important you could choose from their “Premium” plan for $19/month or their “Starter” plan for $8/month.
Slidebean’s current pricing plan
If you want to try Slidebean out for free they offer a 14-day trial which you can cancel at any time. Plus, no credit card is required to start the trial, which is pretty nice.
Conclusion – Our Overall Thoughts on Slidebean
We did the 14-day Slidebean trial and here’s our review:
As we mentioned earlier, we Panda’s we believe the more customization options the better. After all, the more customized a deck looks the more it will stand out. That’s why if we had to pick a presentation software between PowerPoint and Slidebean we would stick with PowerPoint. The customization options of PowerPoint are unmatched.
That said, we think that Slidebean has some interesting features that will appeal to a certain audience.
It appears from the outset that they are focused primarily on the startup market — with a large focus on pitch-decks, an entire blog dedicated to their startup experience as well as a separate pricing structure dedicated to ‘Small Teams & Startups’.
So if you are part of a startup and, are a non-graphic design expert, don’t have any PowerPoint skills, and want to create a presentation fast, Slidebean could be a good fit for you.
Slidebean makes it easy to customize premade template but the customization options are limited
Slidebean’s core advantages over PowerPoint that we talked about above will be enticing for for a certain audience, but I think capturing a significant share of PowerPoint’s market share will be a challenge especially when paying $19+ a month if you want to access certain key features such as premade templates and dedicated consultants). I would be interested to know how many of Slidebeans users are previous PowerPoint users.
Here’s one thing I know to be true:
Whatever tool you select, take the time to master and use it to create dazzling, rather than dull, presentations.
There is no magic wand when it comes to creating slides.
The other important point to make is that if your story is poor, neither tool with help you! At the end of the day, both of these programs are just tools. Whichever presentation software you choose, it will only add value to your presentation if it helps you to tell your story. If you have a strong story and want to express complex ideas simply linked to your message with a memorable visual they will help you.
My Recommendation …
I personally prefer to use PowerPoint for the majority of projects because most of my clients know how to use PowerPoint and can make minor changes themselves if they want later on. The biggest problem I see with PowerPoint is that most people really don’t understand how to create a fun and dynamic presentation using the software. In other words, it’s not PowerPoint that is the problem, but instead the presenter creating the PowerPoint.
Most people equate PowerPoint with tired bullet points because that is all they are used to. This boring format is what people have been taught in school, and most people don’t understand the full potential of PowerPoint.
That said, check out Slidebean and do the 14-day trial. Then come back here and tell me what you think!
Here’s my question for you …
After reading this article, do you think you will more likely to use PowerPoint or Slidebean in the future? Do you think the pros of Slidebean outweigh some of the cons? Sound off in the comments below and please be specific as possible.
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