Improve Your Slides — Wonder Tools
New ways to impress colleagues with better slide decks
Hi 👋 I’m Jeremy - you’re reading the Wonder Tools newsletter. I share weekly posts on how to make work a little more enjoyable, efficient & creative. This morning I’m highlighting tools for making visually compelling slide decks. I love making slides. These platforms provide some of the simplest ways to create strong visual stories.
To see these slide platforms in action, join me for a free live demo on April 28, 11 - 11:45am ET. Free. 🎨
Fantastic for co-creating slides with colleagues
Pitch is made for collaboration. Unlike PowerPoint, Pitch makes it easy to work simultaneously on a deck with teammates. I’ve tested it with a colleague, each of us working on separate sections. You can assign a slide to someone, label slides that need something, exchange comments, or assign a slide a status. You can create your own default slides with your organization’s preferred fonts, colors, and logos. Or make custom templates for slides you frequently reuse. Built-in templates = superb. Free account includes almost all features. Limitation: relatively weak chart capabilities.
Share your slide deck as a gif, video🎥,, PDF or image set
Projector and Canva are unique among these tools in that they’re not just for slides. Both can be used to create posts for social platforms as well. Projector lets you create on a horizontal or vertical canvas. It has a library of free gifs and videos you can weave into your slides. And uniquely among these tools it lets you export a video with custom lengths for each slide. (You can export video from PowerPoint and Keynote, but each slide has to be the same length). That capability means you can use Projector for video creation; send colleagues a video rather than a static deck. The templates are excellent, superior to the built-in offerings of Google Slides or PowerPoint. Limitation: traditionalists may find the designs too edgy.
Here’s an example of a slide deck I made with Projector, and the 30-second video I made by exporting those slides as a video 👇
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Great for fast creation — slide designs automatically adjust to fit your content, so you can add points or images without redesigning the slide
Beautiful.ai has a magical feel to it. Each slide you create automatically reflows based on how much content you put in. If you have three bullet points and add a fourth, the slide will automatically move into a design that suits that text. Beautiful.ai’s other unique asset is a huge set of pre-made slides for specific kinds of data. When I’m looking for a particular kind of diagram for a presentation, for example, I have a range of diagrams to pick from, each professionally designed. Limitation: free accounts are limited to 100 slides. Pro: $15/month or $144/year. No nonprofit or edu discount.
Always free; simple, classic tool that works reliably.
One of the unique things I like about Google Slides is being able to integrate other live interaction apps. I use the Slido add-on and the Chrome extension from Poll Everywhere so that poll questions show up as a slide. Results populate slides automatically, which is handy when presenting online so you and your viewers don’t have to juggle multiple polling tabs. For teaching and leading workshops, I also like the Pear Deck add-on, which allows me to create interactive slides where each participant can answer a question or type something on their own version of the slide.
Great if you love easy Apple software and work offline
When I was traveling pre-pandemic, I liked to create — and present — slides offline. It’s crucial for those places where Internet connections are spotty. Plus Apple’s editing palette is easy to use and lets me adjust shapes, images, charts and text more easily than any Web-based software I’ve tried. One trick I rely on regularly is using the print menu to make a PDF with several slides per page, without leaving part of the page blank for notes. Here’s a how-to on that. Bonus: Keynote is unique in letting you play a slideshow within a window. That’s crucial when screen sharing on Zoom.
Looking for design help with slides or an upcoming presentation? Email me jeremy at jeremycaplan.com or fill in this quick 1-question form
Useful for times when you want to start with words—Slidebean creatively converts them into slides
Slidebean helpfully lets you start by inputting some key points and phrases. Then decide what visual look suits them best. Unfortunately, the free plan doesn’t let you present or share slides, and the starter $8/monthly plan is limited.
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Great if you pull in lots of videos, photos and graphics. Canva’s library has 75 million visuals
Canva has radically improved its presentation features. You can pre-record a presentation and send someone a link or share the recording. Or you can present live and send people a link to follow along. One fun bonus is being able to hit hit ‘C’ to add a burst of confetti or ‘D’ for a drumroll to cue a big reveal.
Use this to convert existing Notion pages or Trello boards into slides
This neat free service turns any Notion page you create into a presentation. Or any Trello board. Or even a simple Markdown file. Its magic is translating something you’ve already made, or something you type in quickly, into a nice-looking presentation.
Handy for making super simple slides easily and fast
Haiku Deck is an oldie but a goodie. It forces you to keep your slides streamlined, with an image and a line of text, or a simple graphic. Here are two examples of slide decks I created with Haiku Deck: a simple startup pitch deck template and one on digital efficiency. Here’s a gallery with other featured decks and templates. Pricing: Create your first deck free, then it’s $120/year or $60/year for nonprofits.
Bonus: Recommended Newsletters
Brainstorms is an excellent free newsletter that highlights an interesting new business idea each week. It’s a fun way to learn about emerging business trends and untapped opportunities. I love the game plans detailing how to execute on the ideas. Even if you’re not going to launch anything, the ideas are intriguing. Each write-up summarizes a business idea someone could launch in a weekend. Here’s a recent post about starting a newsletter tied to a Reddit community, and another about offering negotiation skills as a service. Subscribe here.
ExitUp is an efficient free weekly newsletter that delivers a curated list of new job openings across finance, marketing, product, PE, VC, strategy/biz ops, and chief of staff roles to your inbox. Useful if you’re looking for a cool new job in a new arena. No prose, just openings, along with occasional tips on job searching. A recent issue had 50 postings, including spots at Vox Media, Apple, and the NBA, among others. I’m not job hunting, but it’s interesting to see what’s out there. Subscribe here.
Good Better Best is a weekly newsletter highlighting interesting pricing and packaging strategies. If you ever wonder why sites or services are priced a particular way, this is a fun newsletter for learning about that. One issue I recommend in particular is this one, addressing the Economist’s pricing strategy and why the publication made curation a core part of its app. Written by Rob Litterst, a Pricing Strategist at ProfitWell, it’s like having a free pricing consultant in your inbox. Subscribe here.
Join me for a free live demo of slide platforms on April 28 at 11am ET
Thanks for reading! 💌 Reply to share a comment. I read every message. - Jeremy