Presentations and slideshows are essential tools for marketeers, strategists, teachers, and ofcourse students.
Basically, a slideshow is a presentation of series of still images on a projection screen or a projector (displaying device).
Microsoft powerpoint carries the same technique with more of magic transition effects, ability to add interactive diagrams, videos, and videos.
PowerPoint Open Source Alternative
Many think that there is a lack of alternatives for Powerpoint especially for Linux, but that is far from the truth as we are about to offer you many, so stay tuned.
Prezi, a new generation presentation
However, before we start we have to differentate between the old classicial slideshow presentation as MS PowerPoint, and the new fancy presentation by Prezi.com.
While PowerPoint and its open source counterpart in office suites keep the old approach, Prezi.com offered a large canvas presentation with stunning catching effect, that proven to be reliable for many enterprise users.
Presentation extensions and compatability
There are many presentation extensions that is supported by the popular office suites. Many of these extensions are supported in the open source apps as LibreOffice, Calligra suites. Also, in the free WPS Office suite.
On the otherhand, Prezi or canvas style presentation, has their own extension which is not compatable with the office suites.
Another note worth mentioning here is, Markdown and Terminal based presentation app, are often use Text-based Markdown files to build the presentation, which can be edited by any text editor, yet not compatable with any office suite presentation apps.
PowerPoint, and PDF Style Presentation Apps
1- LibreOffice Impress
LibreOffice is an open source office suite and the ideal alternative for the commercial enterprise released office suites as MS Office. It includes a text processor, presentation manager, spreadsheet program and other apps.
The LibreOffice Impress has similar features as PowerPoint, It enables you to create a rich slideshow and presentation with dozens of customizable options. It contains a rich set of page transition animation, text styles, and dozens of shapes, diagrams, with a rich built-in 2D/ 3D library set.
LibreOffice works on Linux, Windows, macOS.
2- Calligra Stage
Calligra Stage is a presentation software and a part of Calligra office suite. It uses the OpenDocument file format standard which is compatible with other office suites.
With Stage, you can design your slides, control added shapes, charts, diagrams, and style your text. You can also add notes, change your page layout, and enjoy a long list of page transition and included animations.
Calligra Suite is an open source office and graphic suite by KDE; the popular Linux desktop environment. It also includes a text document editor (Words), a vector editor (Karbon), Spreadsheet editor (Sheet), Visual Database creator (KEXI), and an amazing project management application (Plan).
Unlike the previous apps, Impressive is a standalone open source free presentation and slideshow generator that uses PDF to render your slides.
It contains many page translations, enable you to view your slides in an overview screen, highlight text boxes, and add spotlight effects.
The app is completely free, and open source for Linux systems.
Spice-up is a lightweight free presentation manager for Linux systems. It features a simple user-friendly interface, and allows you to create quick presentations without a fuzz.
Spice-up enables you to export your presentations directly to PDF.
Imagination is a minimal yet feature-rich presentation software for Linux. Originally built by an open source enthusiast and Linux user who noticed a lack of presentation software for Linux systems.
It includes about 70-page transition effects, and enables you to export your presentation to video formats as OGV Theora/Vorbis, widescreen FLV video, 3GP for mobile phones, H264 and H265 for HD slideshows.
6- WPS Office (Free)
WPS Office is a free professional enterprise-grade office suite for people who look for a Microsoft Office replacement.
WPS Office enables you to edit and manage Writer, Presentation, Spreadsheet, and PDF with others at the same time. It is fully compatible with Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS and supports 47 file formats and 46 languages.
Prezi.com style presentation
Prezi.com is a commercial web-based presentation service, that allows you to create beautiful unique presentation as it treats the whole canvas as one slide, where you move, pane, or zoom to your next area of interest.
Unlike the classical slideshow presentation, Sozi is an amazing presentation program that allows you to create a catchy zoomable presentation. It is based on open standard and released under the Mozilla Public License 2.0.
Sozi can be installed on Linux, Windows, and macOS. It can also be installed using Docker for macOS and Linux.
With Sozi, you can add URLs, embed videos, and audios, and convert your presentation to PDF or videos.
DeckDeckGo is a self-hosted collaborative web-based presentation manager, that also can be used directly from CDN or integrate with other frameworks such as React, Vue, Angular and Ember.
Although, the official commercial service is deprecated, the source code is available and supported by a good community of user and developers.
RevealJS presentations are responsive and works smoothly with mobile browsers.
Impress.js is a presentation framework based on the power of CSS3 transforms and transitions in modern browsers and inspired by the idea behind Prezi.com.
Impress.js demo is pretty cool as it offers an interactive canvas that zoom into the point of interest and focus area in steps.
It also comes with amazing 3D transitions that you can customize.
The primary downside of this stunning framework is that it requires coding skills to make it work. However, this can be resolved by using some Impress.js based apps which you will find in this post.
Hovercraft is a stunning presentation software that allows you to create Prezi grade presentation using Impress.js, without having to worry about any code.
Hovercraft feature highlights
- Write your presentations in a text markup language. No slow, limiting GUI, no annoying HTML!
- Pan, rotate and zoom in 3D, with automatic repositioning of slides!
- A presenter console with notes and slide previews!
- Support for showing mathematical formulas.
- Styling is easy with CSS.
- The slide show generated is in HTML, so you only need a web browser to show it.
- Easy sharing, as it can be put up on a website for anyone to see!
Strut - An Impress.js and Bespoke.js Presentation Editor that is based on Impress.js. The project now is getting a new update as the old code is becoming obsolete.
Impressionist is a visual 3D editor for creating stunning impress.js presentations. It uses Electron to build a visual WYSIWYG for Jmpress.js.
However, it is tricky to install, therefore there are video tutorials on how to make your edition up and running on Windows and Linux.
8- Reveal.js with R Studio
The R language is a primary language for data scientists and engineers, many of them use it for everyday purposes. This is a handy tool for them to create a catchy presentation within R Studio using Reveal.js.
9- Reveal Hugo
This one is an addition for Hugo Static Site Generator to create presentation websites using Reveal.js.
10- Reveal.js 3D
Although, the Reveal.js library does not have 3D support, some developers decided to make a 3D Reveal.js edition. It works with Google Chrome, Safari, and Mozilla Firefox, yet the lazy-loading option does not work well with some browsers.
ShowPreper is a free open-source web-based presentation that is based on Impress.js, and Bespoke.js libraries. It is released as an open source project under the MIT license.
Gosspi is an amazing web-based slideshow and presentation editor, It uses Impress.js. It is considered the open source alternative for Prezi.com
13- Reveal.js Simple Menu
This is a simple library that adds a simple navigation menu for your Reveal.js slides. You can customize the menu position, selection and auto-generate menus easily.
Terminal based presentation
This section for old school terminal users, who prefer doing many through their terminal apps.
Slides is a terminal-based presentation with Markdown file processor that supports tables, code, simple diagrams, and more useful features.
Slides is written with the Go programming language, and it is packed by many contributors.
The present app is a colorful terminal-based presentation written with Python. It supports colors, and comes with many fancy effects.
The app works directly with Markdown files, and converts Markdown directly into rich slides that you can view directly within your terminal.
The terminal Matrix effect is one of the best catchy transition you can use there.
patat (Presentations Atop The ANSI Terminal) is a small tool that allows you to show presentations using only an ANSI terminal. It does not require
patat features highlight
- Leverages the great Pandoc library to support many input formats including Literate Haskell.
- Supports smart slide splitting.
- Slides can be split up into multiple fragments
- There is a live reload mode.
- Theming support including 24-bit RGB.
- Auto advancing with configurable delay.
- Optionally re-wrapping text to terminal width with proper indentation.
- Syntax highlighting for nearly one hundred languages generated from Kate syntax files.
- Experimental images support.
- Supports evaluating code snippets and showing the result.
- Written in Haskell.
lookatme is an interactive, extensible, terminal-based markdown presentation tool.
lookatme features higlights
- Markdown rendering
- Built-in tutorial slides lookatme --tutorial
- Live (input file modification time watching) and manual reloading
- Live terminals embedded directly in slides
- Syntax highlighting using the Pygments library
- Loading external files into code blocks
- Support for contrib extensions
- Smart slide splitting
- Progressive slides with <!-- stop --> comments between block elements
5- SSH Slides
SSH Slides is an SSH server that hosts terminal-based presentations where your viewers can follow along in their own terminals. This service is currently located at
mdp is yet another terminal Markdown presentation tool. It is written in the C language. mdp can easily be installed on macOS using Homebrew and MacPorts. Debian and Ubuntu users can use the DEB package, while Arch Linux users can get it directly from the AUR repos.
Showtmux creates terminal-based interactive presentations. It can be used to script terminal-based demos ahead of time, and play them in tmux.
8- dss (Dead Simple Slides)
Dead Simple Slides (DSS) is a text/terminal based slide presentation tool that reads .txt files for formatted slides. These slides are then displayed to the terminal.
Presentation and slideshow apps are essential tools for making eductional and informative document to present in meetings or in classroom. While they have different shapes, styles, extensions and features, we encorage you to go through and test the ones in the category you require, evaluate the features, and pick the one that fits your workflow.
If you are going with an office suite style presentation we recommend LibreOffice, as it is proven reliable and solid for countless users over the years.
Do you know any other open source free presentation app that we missed, kindly send us a hit, to add it to this list.