With the best free PowerPoint add-ins and plugins, you can get way more from this software.
The PowerPoint presentation deck has become a de-facto industry standard in content delivery – be it business, education, or any other software-enabled vertical.
A plethora PowerPoint add-ins and plugins cover pretty much any multimedia content type, use case, and area of application. Some of these extensions bring its basic e-Learning functionality to the next level, others provide multi-purpose tools that can be part of an engaging course.
Let’s dive into a brief roundup of PPT plugins that benefit instructional designers one way or another.
|Product Name||Features||A good fit for|
|1. Vidyard||This free browser extension lets you add voiceovers and speaker bubbles to PowerPoint presentations.
||Professionals looking to make their PowerPoint presentation more engaging with voiceovers, camera pop-ins, and more.|
|2. iSpring Free Suite||
||e-Learning professionals looking for rich authoring functionality at no cost|
||A broad audience looking for nice pics, course authors in search of suitable imagery|
||Designers who want to spark attention with fresh photos; instructors, content makers from all walks of life|
|5. Office Timeline||
||Teachers and students authoring evolutionary/historic/business papers or other content with embedded timelines.|
|6. Maurizio La Cava’s Plugin||
||PowerPoint users who need more control of standard and non-standard shapes; course authors|
||A broad user audience looking for neat and easy inclusion of web links into their presentations.|
|8. PPT Labs||
||Presenters, public speakers, teachers and students needing to highlight a particular point in a slide deck|
|9. FusionCharts’ Oomfo||
||Course authors, instructional designers and other ‘chart geeks’|
|10. Symbols and Characters||
||A broad audience of PowerPoint users, linguists, mathematicians, etc.|
|11. PhET Sims – Science/Math||
||Researchers, mathematicians, scientists, teachers and students looking to add simulations.|
Works with any Powerpoint version
Are you interested in spicing up your PowerPoint presentations with voiceovers and even a speaker bubble that shows the presenter speaking?
Vidyard is a free plugin you can add to your internet browser to screen record your presentations while you narrate over them.
It’s super easy to use, features editing tools, and makes a huge difference in the quality of your PowerPoint presentations.
You can screen record in Windows or Mac with this tool.
Once you’re done recording your presentation, edit it to your liking, save it, and then you’ll have a shareable link you can send to viewers.
While Vidyard isn’t technically a PowerPoint add-in since it doesn’t operate inside of the software, it works great as a way to enhance your presentations and make them more engaging for your audience.
2. iSpring Free Suite
Supported PowerPoint versions: PowerPoint 2007/2010/2013/2016/2019/Office 365 (32- and 64-bit editions).
iSpring Free is a super-fast and easy-to-use authoring tool that is absolutely free, and it’s one of our favorite PowerPoint add-ins.
It allows users to create eLearning courses and quizzes right in PowerPoint.
iSpring is highly regarded for its output quality, so try out this tool and judge for yourself.
- Convert PowerPoint to HTML5 and SCORM with no loss in quality; all animations and triggers will remain intact.
- Quiz creator lets you make interactive tests with multimedia and web objects.
- Deliver courses to your learners by uploading them to your Learning Management System and start tracking learner progress.
- Courses made with iSpring Free adapt to all devices and look great on any screen: PCs, Macs, tablets, and smartphones.
Supported PowerPoint versions: PowerPoint 2013 Service Pack 1 or higher, PowerPoint 2016 for Mac, PowerPoint 2016 or higher, PowerPoint Online.
Pickit is a nice alternative to the somewhat discredited and obsolete Clip Art concept. Pickit is not that hackneyed, and does provide a fresh perspective.
Free high-quality pics and icons – static and dynamic – are available from PowerPoint and Word.
If you need a great complimentary source to bolster your creativity, this PowerPoint add-in is a godsend.
- Agile search in a large photo collection
- Multiple categories of pics useful for presentations, e-Learning courses, business agendas, etc.
- Easy text look up with the Abracadabra tool: just select the text and right click to initiate the search
- Custom photos are available upon request from the user community: Pickit boasts many devotees and aficionados, feel free to ask for help and assistance.
4. Pexels – Free Stock Photos
Supported PowerPoint versions: PowerPoint 2013 Service Pack 1 or higher, PowerPoint 2016 for Mac, PowerPoint 2016 or higher, PowerPoint Online
Pexels is another of the PowerPoint add-ins that provide access to free stock photos from a single source.
Instructional designers can use this tool to craft great-looking presentations with professional images – no cost, no strings attached.
- Convenient search for images
- Popular image filter
- Highlight and save favorite pictures for fast availability.
5. Office Timeline
Supported PowerPoint versions: PowerPoint 2007, 2010, and 2013.
Office Timeline is a PowerPoint-based timeline maker and Gantt chart tool. This software enables course authors to include pertinent visuals into their materials. Elaborate on evolutionary processes in any field of science, mark progress on current edu, technical or any other projects using the Gantt chart.
- Free project visuals and professional timelines at no cost
- Handy project management tool included
- Timeline Wizard for easy data input and fast results
- Task duration and completion markers
- Customizable charts and timelines (changeable colors, data format, text position, etc.)
- Familiar ribbon for easy controls and hands-on experience.
6. Maurizio La Cava’s Plugin
Supported PowerPoint versions: From PowerPoint 2013 onwards
An invigorating contribution from a solo developer, MLC PowerPoint Add-in by Maurizio La Cava helps swap shapes in PowerPoint and ensures neat content alignment.
No need to do extra design work with this PowerPoint add-in. Just encapsulate your ideas in shapes and get your visuals arranged.
Features of this PowerPoint add-in include:
- Swap shape positions
- Easy resizing: Align all shapes with the size of the selected
- Distribute shapes in a grid
- Get rid of crooked lines – quickly rectify line shapes
- Mass copy a selected item to all slides
- Align shapes to match selected items
- Align height/width or color in a single click
- Selective export into PowerPoint – just the slides you need
- Split tables into shapes.
Supported PowerPoint versions: PowerPoint 2007/2010/2013/2016 (32bit/64-bit).
LiveWeb is a PowerPoint add-in that allows users to embed web pages into a deck and view them in real-time in the course of a presentation. Pages are updated and synced up as if they were displayed in a standard browser.
Thus, instructional designers may refer to useful web sources right from the deck, and rest assured the content in question remains up to date. This is one of the best PowerPoint add-ins for instructional designers.
- Allows a list of multiple desired websites to be added
- Pages refresh automatically on every slide visit
- The user can set a zoom level on the browser page
- Relative paths can be specified.
8. PPT Labs
Supported PowerPoint versions: PowerPoint 2010, 2013 and 2016 for Windows. (Alas, Apple fans – Mac OS X is not supported.).
PowerPointLabs revises the boring idea of text and bullets and helps highlight every significant point in a new fashion. It also allows you to add animations and tweak your slides easily with enhanced controls so you don’t have to invest in extra software or resources.
- Highlight bullets or light up your slides
- Easily migrate from object A to object B. Just show where items start and where they should be
- Use in-slide animations
- Create audio narration right from your speaker notes
- Add subtitles or captions in a single click
- Drill down to details, or move back to see the big picture
- Build or update roadmaps in your project or e-Learning course.
9. FusionCharts’ Oomfo
Supported PowerPoint versions: From PowerPoint 2007 Service Pack 2 onwards.
Oomfo is an intelligent plugin to build sophisticated stylish charts. It adds a lot on top of the standard PowerPoint functionality and enables course authors to render complex ideas in an improved chart form.
- Pull live charts from several Excel files simultaneously
- Use data from cloud applications to create new charts
- Pie rotation, interactive legend, number formatting, advanced styling and other extended features
- Conversion of current charts into the Oomfo format in a single click.
10. Symbols and Characters
Supported PowerPoint versions: PowerPoint 2013 Service Pack 1 or later, PowerPoint 2016 for Mac, PowerPoint for iPad
The Symbols and Characters PPT add-in available from the Office Store facilitates the use of diacritics, special characters and symbols in PowerPoint slides. All you have to do is locate a desired character by a simple lookup, or narrow down the search by language or character subset.
- Search by a simple letter (e.g., a, b, c, d)
- Locate a needed symbol by entering a short phrase
- Lookup in a specific language table or subset
- Just click on a symbol to insert it – and there you go.
11. PhET Sims – Science/Math
Supported PowerPoint versions: PowerPoint 2013 Service Pack 1 or later, PowerPoint Online
PhET is a collection of interactive simulations for science designed and provided by PhET Interactive Simulations at the University of Colorado at Boulder. All simulations build on education research and real cases so academic course authors may translate their ideas into simulations with no distortion.
- Includes models and representations
- Provides measurement tools and highlights real-life connections.
- Support numerous instructional uses – labs, lecture demos, academic tasks, etc.
- May go hand-in-hand with worksheets, group work, instructions
- Support for inquiry-based instruction, compliance with NGSS or CCSS.
What are PowerPoint Add-ins?
PowerPoint add-ins and plugins are extra tools you can use to access more features when creating your presentations.
There are tons of free and paid PowerPoint add-ins that open the door to a wide range of various features.
Why Use PowerPoint Add-ins?
With the best PowerPoint add-ins, you can add a number of features to your presentations to make them more compelling, more engaging, and easier to create.
Whether you’re looking to create an online course or you’re building a presentation for work, a good add-in can help you improve the design and capabilities of your PowerPoint slides.
A Final Word on PowerPoint Add-ins & Plugins
I hope this gives you an idea of some nifty PowerPoint add-ins and plugins.
As you can see, it’s a kaleidoscope of features and use scenarios.
In any case, make sure to employ these tools responsibly without overdoing your message and sticking to the e-Learning objectives.
Want to share your presentations with others? Make sure to read about how to share PowerPoint presentations online.
Have any questions about PowerPoint add-ins and plugins? Comment below and we’ll help you out.