LinkedIn’s SlideShare has rebranded, Microsoft has introduced Sway, and we’ve seen a host of other presentation software grow in popularity.

These presentation platforms are evolving to meet the needs of their customers. And as technology improves, so do the platforms’ capabilities.

So what do the platforms offer? Generally, they’re trying to enhance a few areas:

  • Visuals
  • Organization
  • Collaboration
  • Creation

In this article, we’ll look at LinkedIn SlideShare, Microsoft Sway, and the other presentation platforms to see how they compete and compare.

LinkedIn SlideShare’s Rebranding and New Features

Though SlideShare has been part of LinkedIn’s network of companies for more than three years, LinkedIn has waited till now to stamp its name on the site.

Recently, the presentation site has also added new tools and features to improve functionality and further integrate the tool with LinkedIn itself.

The new features include:

  • A clipping tool – This tool allows LinkedIn account holders to clip slides that they find useful, then keep collections of those slides. These collections can then be shared across a person’s network to anyone else on LinkedIn.
  • A rebranding – Formerly “SlideShare,” the site is now known as “LinkedIn SlideShare.” Since the new features integrate so well with LinkedIn, the rebranding may be a necessity to make the changes work smoothly.

The changes reflect the nature of the evolving digital workplace. Content is becoming more shareable and more “clippable,” for one thing. Tools such as Evernote, OneNote, and even Microsoft Edge allow users to clip, combine, annotate, and share pieces of content.

But why the rebranding?

In the case of LinkedIn SlideShare, there are a few potential reasons:

  • The new tools are designed to integrate with LinkedIn, so it only makes sense to brand SlideShare as a LinkedIn property.
  • This rebrand may help improve the use of SlideShare’s site, since 80% of the site’s traffic comes from search – that is, most people simply come across the site while looking for information. Use of the clipping tool may bring more traffic from within LinkedIn and from without.
  • The rebranding will open up pathways for LinkedIn to expand its software offerings and provide more collaboration tools to its users

 Sway: Microsoft’s Answer to Next-Gen Presentations

Microsoft Sway takes presentations to the next level, in terms of collaboration, functionality, and features.

This presentation platform shares a few major features with other current software:

  • It can be shared via a simple link
  • Presentations can be embedded on websites
  • Collaboration tools allow several people to make edits

What really sets Sway apart is its user interface and its focus on multimedia-rich content.

Here are the software’s key benefits:

  • A focus on dynamic, multimedia content that emphasizes “digital storytelling.” Media can be dragged and dropped from popular websites, such as Flickr and YouTube, directly into presentations.
  • The back end user interface is extremely user-friendly, allowing users to create a visually rich presentation in a matter of minutes. Pre-packaged themes and design elements make it possible to add a number of effects, without having to climb the learning curve normally associated with new software.

Sway attempts to position itself as the next-gen presentation app that will take users away from the stale PowerPoints of the past. Time will tell whether it succeeds or not, but Sway isn’t the only presentation software to target the younger workforce and improve the visuals.

Other Presentation Software Contenders

While PowerPoint and SlideShare are two of the most ubiquitous names in terms of presentation software, there are plenty of others that vie for the spotlight.

Many of them have attempted to position themselves as anti-PowerPoint software, offering features that this go-to program doesn’t have.

  • CustomShow is a cloud-based presentation software that connects to SalesForce, offers analytics, allows users to conduct web meetings, and can import PowerPoint presentations. This robust software promotes its ability to help businesses close leads with branded B2B sales presentations.
  • Prezi is one of the major competitors to PowerPoint. Its biggest differentiator has been its visual appeal: rather than transitioning between separate slides, the presentation zooms and flows along a pathway of “points.” Apps make it easy to share presentations across multiple devices.
  • Haiku Deck emphasizes simplicity and inspiration. Built-in themes, stock photos, and templates allow users to create elegant presentations. And a short learning curve allows people to get started quickly and easily, with either the web app or the iPad app.
  • Powtoon lies on the opposite end of the spectrum as business-oriented software, such as CustomShow. This software allows users to create animated, cartoon-based presentations. This is ideal for educators or students who want to engage an audience with an interesting story. It’s easy to use, so anyone can pick it up and start using it quickly.

These presentation platforms make it clear that the most important features of presentation software include their visual appeal and their collaboration features.

Though we will see more presentation platforms continue to innovate, Microsoft Sway and LinkedIn SlideShare have both evolved to meet the needs of their audience. With their existing industry footholds, it may be hard for competitors to pull customers away from their giant user bases.