Want to share a PowerPoint presentation online? Here are 8 free ways to do so. Simple or sophisticated: just email or send a link to a buddy, upload as a video, use an LMS… All pros and cons are in this article.

Why would I share a PowerPoint presentation online in the first place? To reach out to a global or target audience and make it easy for them to receive and process your content. Event speakers, teachers, office workers – we all need to share our slides from time to time, preferably in a secure, easy and elegant manner.

There are perhaps a couple dozen options when it comes to sharing presentations on the web. Each and every one has its pros and cons, use cases and distinctive features. Let’s round up the most common and viable ways to distribute your deck for free.

1. Just email it!

A good old method that never fails. Aside from just picking the target address, attaching the file and clicking the Send button, you may want to automate and customize emailing to your needs. For instance, think of an ad hoc email account that would distribute your presentation to all incoming contacts. You can easily configure this using Gmail or other email services. Alternatively, set up a filter: if an incoming message subject contains “Presentation”, the file or URL will be sent over to your recipient.

In a nutshell

  • A fast and easy method, works right from your email client or web service
  • Reduces manual operations with some mild tweaking and tuning
  • Proves tricky with big files (since PPT is scarcely the epitome of a lightweight format)
  • May not be your first choice if you have security concerns. In case your deck includes confidential information or trade secrets, you may want to think of a safer option.

If you wish to avoid actual files being transmitted, read on for more ways to copy a link to the material.

2. File sharing services

If your deck is really big and feature-packed with all the bells and whistles that PowerPoint offers, why not use DropBox or Google Drive to relay it?

In a nutshell

  • A nice way to send your content to a few people you know
  • The problem is: your recipient needs to have PowerPoint installed. Otherwise, the content just won’t open.
  • If PowerPoint does exist on the other end, the intended person may have an older version in place. In this case, advanced features and frills may get lost along the way.
  • The security risk still stands. What if you make a mistake and the file ends up in the wrong hands? Worst case scenario, your work could be compromised and distributed all over the web in no time.

Ultimately, this option works fine if you intend to share with a limited group of people and your presentation is appropriate for the public domain. To reach a larger number of viewers at a higher security level, check out one of the following options.

3. Slide hosting services

Looking for a tailored solution that keeps deck authors in mind? Pay heed to web-based solutions like SlideShare, SlideBoom, Speaker Deck, etc. These services help you upload, host and share slides on the Internet.

In a nutshell

  • Remote presentation made easy. It’s all in your browser, no need to deploy a dedicated server or any other IT infrastructure
  • Most hosting providers offer administrative tools so you can keep track of your presentations and process user feedback
  • Your work is safe, since nobody can copy and steal the content
  • Most sharing services are mobile-friendly so viewers can access the material on a smartphone or tablet.

The only possible drawback we can think of here is quality. Your hosted slides may not be the spitting image of the original PPT file after all. Make sure you learn about functional limitations in advance.

4. Embed code

Share a file, send over a link… Now there is yet another option. Use a code generated in a third party service and paste it on your website. If you are looking for a more scalable intermediary format than PPT, try HTML5 or Flash. There are a bunch of free and paid converters out there. Pick one with decent output quality, convert the slide deck, upload it onto a hosting service, get your embeddable code and that’s it.

In a nutshell

  • Easy way to broadcast the content on your website
  • If you decide to convert to HTML5, your slides get better visibility across all browsers and gadgets.

Make sure your original effects are not left behind. Flawless conversion is rare, so see to it that your content is rendered in high quality.

5. Make it a video and share on YouTube

Convert your PowerPoint presentation to video and upload it to YouTube. You can’t go wrong. Top exposure guaranteed. PowerPoint has offered this feature since version 2010. Learn how you can seamlessly export your presentation as video – all effects intact – right from PowerPoint.

Don’t worry, there is a workaround for older versions as well. Use a third party solution like Movavi or Wondershare add-ons, click Publish and voila. As always, pay attention to video quality and resolution settings before you publish.

In a nutshell

  • These days, the YouTube app comes pre-installed on every web-enabled device. A great way to showcase your expertise to millions of viewers.
  • A video presentation just runs its course with no hiccups on the next slide or pop-up effect.
  • Instant feedback and progress tracking: count views, comments, shares and likes
  • Viral effect: once on YouTube your video proliferates across all social media.

Video is particularly good for tutorials and guidelines. If your presentation comes in a similar vein, have no doubts: most likely it’s your best choice.

6. Show it in your LMS

What can be better than a full-fledged training course with score tracking, feedback and enhanced statistics? The good news is you can easily share your presentation that way. What you need is a learning management system (LMS) – a service for delivery and management of education courses and online classes. Needless to say, an LMS’s functionality goes far beyond a slide show.

In most cases you need to register an account in an LMS. Registration ensures your content remains personalized and safe. Learning management systems are making inroads into the business segment as well, since HR departments are using their potential for employee onboarding and training.

In a nutshell

  • Secure way to keep your data under a personal account
  • Most LMSs offer feedback and collaboration features
  • User activity monitoring (test completion and results).

Please bear in mind that a PowerPoint presentation doesn’t work in an LMS as-is. You need to convert your slides into a special format like SCORM or TinCan (free converters are readily available). Some LMS vendors tend to tailor their offering to a specific audience. Make sure the solution fits your needs, upload a converted deck and enjoy the benefits.

7. Save as PDF

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Feel free to use it as a workaround when PowerPoint is unavailable on your recipient’s end. There is hardly any computer or mobile device out there that doesn’t open PDF files. Adobe PDF viewers are free of charge, so there are absolutely no costs incurred. Save your slides as PDF and send the file or a link from a hosting service.

In a nutshell

  • Fast, easy, fairly lightweight if you set the right settings
  • A universally accepted file format

As far as conversion is concerned, you should probably expect quality issues. An output PDF file may not include originally conceived animations and other posh effects. The mantra here is be realistic and think what you can sacrifice for the sake of better compatibility.

8. Broadcast your presentation

Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 includes the Broadcast Slide Show feature that helps presenters to share a slide show with a global audience online. Just send a link and invite your contacts, so they can watch your presentation in real time in their browsers.

In a nutshell

  • Send the URL to attendees by e-mail
  • You can pause and resume the slide show during the broadcast
  • Some features, such as custom transitions, audio and video are not supported.

The Broadcast Slide Show requires a network service to host the presentation. A built-in PowerPoint Broadcast Service is available in versions from 2013 onwards. Your viewers need to have a Windows Live ID to join the session.

In conclusion

No matter what option you pick, it’s key to establish the first contact with your target audience. Need to share a deck with a large number of viewers and automate distribution? Upload the content on a slide hosting service, get a link and create a special mailbox that will send out this URL to anyone interested.

Feel like limiting access to the presentation to a small group of viewers? Share it on Google Drive, DropBox or a similar service and grant access rights to selected email addresses.

What’s your favorite way to share PowerPoint presentations?

What’s your favorite way to share PowerPoint presentations? How do you deal with scalability and quality issues? As always, I appreciate your feedback. Any thoughts and comments are welcome.

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