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How can I make slides beautiful without a Mac?

Every time I see a talk at a conference with beautiful slides, I look up on the podium and discover a glowing white apple symbol on the speaker's laptop.

I have no reason to ever drop any amount of money on a Mac.

I simply don't need one for work. I'm used to the Windows environment and can work faster when my "work laptop" is a PC. I'm not the kind of developer who relies upon Unix and Macs for my day-to-day. Nor am I the kind who needs to own my own laptop at home (bringing home my "work" laptop suffices).

Is Google Slides the best I can do with respect to "prettiness" while having a free, safe offline option during a presentation?

Because let's face it, PowerPoint is a beast to make attractive.

Note: I'm mostly interested in how "pretty" my slides are for "cat meme"-style decks -- see this Dev post:

I know it sounds stupid, but I feel like if I had an easy time making "aesthetically pleasing" slides, I could feel more at ease improvising and gesturing and engaging with the audience in front of them. Like the way working can be easier when your desk is clean. They'd make me happy to look at, and in turn I feel like I'd radiate that back out to the room.

Thanks, everyone!

Discussion (14)

vuild profile image

Use a web presentation service, like reveal.js (mentioned by Elijay) or similar service or write some HTML/CSS ( can be used for example).

Put less on every slide. Add more whitespace.

Use high quality visuals ( is good for free).

Use nice typography (fonts). Lots out there.

Use a strong & memorable style.

Pick nice colors (

Line things up. Little things, big things. If it starts to look boring, break this rule a bit.

Be consistent (keep things same-y, where appropriate).

Apple products over the years have generally had better visual rendering than PC. From postscript, anti alias fonts to retina to Safari's (webkit) CSS rendering to color gamuts. This can be argued but in the consumer space it is true mostly (not anymore in many areas).

eljayadobe profile image

For slideshows, I'm pretty much enamored with Reveal.js.

Reveal.js for easily creating beautiful presentations using HTML.

Works great on a Macintosh, or on Windows.

gonsie profile image
Elsa Gonsiorowski • Edited on

You can try Latex & Beamer. The default templates can look really nice and overriding the colors is pretty easy. Many of the templates are a little too cluttered for my taste, but there are tons of options (see this matrix).

Plus, PDF slides work pretty much anywhere!

christopheriolo profile image
Christophe Riolo

Beamer is awesome, I fell in love with the Singapore theme, it's so lean

dmfay profile image
Dian Fay

I'm not the best person to talk about this seeing as I've used Keynote not-quite-exclusively, but what are some of the specific things that you find easy with Keynote but difficult or impossible with PowerPoint, Google Slides, or LibreOffice? Could adjusting your workflow make a difference, eg by preparing your drawings in Inkscape or a diagramming tool and importing them?

katiekodes profile image
Katie Author

I'm not sure -- I haven't used Keynote!

I've just noticed that people using Keynote's slides simply look better than mine. Every time.

Probably subtle differences in default whitespacing, fonts, etc?

dmfay profile image
Dian Fay • Edited on

There are a lot of things you can do, and a lot of dirty tricks (possibly my favorite is using low-opacity rectangles to increase contrast between foreground text and a background image). Zach Holman's design guide is an invaluable resource.

jamiekaren profile image
Jamie Ferrugiaro • Edited on

I've used Powerpoint to make very attractive slides before! The problem with Powerpoint is you're forced to work from scratch unless you make (or Google) for some templates.

I'd suggest Canva: They have excellent templates to save you time.

Edit! Just realized you said Offline. You can download these as a PDF but they are built via their web app.

You could take one of these templates and copy the style into a blank template on Powerpoint. Learning how to improve style and design happens the best when we copy from styles and designs we love. That's how we start seeing and learning those tiny details that make something beautiful.

If you look at the types of things used, it's mostly just taking font, solid shapes, and photos using a pleasing composition. Powerpoint has all that! Canva is great for it's many already created templates, but taking a few of these templates and trying to mimic something in Powerpoint might help you learn how to create such ones yourself. :)

Canva presentation example

lesha profile image
lesha 🟨⬛️

You can also use sent ( if you want slides without need for JS overhead or behemoth that is powerpoint

johnkazer profile image
John Kazer for html and CSS styling and themes (works offline once created). Also preprepared content with canva which can match your theme.

tobiassn profile image
Tobias SN

This has nothing to do with whether you’re using Mac, Windows, or your grandma’s old computer in the basement (Okay maybe that one). Instead, try looking up some tutorials on YouTube.

katiekodes profile image
Katie Author

Except it does have a lot to do with Windows vs. Mac, because I said I wanted an "easy time" and Macs come with nice fonts, beautiful screen rendering, nicer templates, etc. :-)

That said, I'm thinking I didn't give Google Slides a fair enough shake as far as aesthetics is concerned -- have dug deeper into some of its samples and tried to stick to their spirit when wokring. That fixes a lot of the font & templates issues, and it's not like I can fight the rendering issue on my little work laptop anyway.

tobiassn profile image
Tobias SN

I was talking about creating beautiful slides.

smakosh profile image

I always use mdx deck for my slides: