Along with Word and Excel, Microsoft’s PowerPoint has been a regular fixture in many people’s lives for more than 30 years. It has changed a lot in that time, but has remained the same core function – creating compelling and eye-catching slideshows.
For years, paying for Office outright was the only way to access Excel. However, that all changed with the release of Office 365 (now Microsoft 365), which offers access to all apps and regular updates in exchange for a monthly fee.
But Microsoft continues to release new standalone versions of Office apps every few years. The latest of these is Office 2021. Here are three potential free methods, plus key details if you pay.
Option 1 – Web version
Access Microsoft PowerPoint and other core Office programs for free over the web, and all you need is a Microsoft account.
Go to Office.com and click ‘Sign In’ to enter your details. If you don’t have an account, select ‘Sign up for a free version of Office’ and follow the instructions.
Once done, you will be taken to your main office homepage. From the left pane, select ‘Create’ and then select ‘Presentation’ to open a new PowerPoint document.
As you can see, there is also the option to create documents in Word and PowerPoint here, along with Outlook and the free version of Microsoft Teams. These are all ‘Web Apps’, meaning you can only use them through your browser, not the desktop app. When you work on a file here, it’s saved to OneDrive, Microsoft’s cloud storage service.
In fact, you can probably thank Google for the software being available as a web app, as the free Docs, Sheets, and Slides software and their integration with Google Drive have made it difficult for Microsoft to keep up. continue to ask the user for payment.
Check out our guide to
best cloud storage services to see how both of these compare to the rest of the competition.
The web version of PowerPoint is a more stripped-down version of the software, so the comparison to Google Slides makes more sense than the full desktop program. However, both services will provide everything the average user is looking for.
In fact, you can probably thank Google for the software being available as a web app, as the free Docs, Sheets, and Slides software and integration with Google Drive made it difficult for Microsoft to continue. require the user to pay.
Option 2 – Use on mobile devices
Perhaps again in response to Google, Microsoft’s Office mobile apps are completely free and available on modern mobile devices.
You can download the Microsoft PowerPoint app for
iOS. While Microsoft can conceivably reserve some premium features for its Office 365 subscription, the mobile apps are still very capable and offer integration with OneDrive.
Option 3 – Check if your school or workplace is free
Many employers offer free Microsoft 365 apps to their employees. Even if your work email address ends with your company name, it can still be used to sign in to a Microsoft account. Of course, you might be working in an office job where Excel and the like are already the default.
If your school has a subscription to Microsoft 365 Education, all staff and students will be able to access the Office apps for free. To test, enter your education email address on the Microsoft website.
But if your school hasn’t signed up yet and you can change that, compare plans and start the application process here.
Option 4 – Pay full price
However, these free options are not suitable for everyone. If you need more than basic PowerPoint functions and the app isn’t available to you through school or work, the only alternative is to pay full price.
At the time of writing, the cheapest Microsoft 365 subscription is Personal, which is £5.99 / US$6.99 per month or £59.99 / US$69.99 per year. Upgrading to the Family plan will get access from 2-6 people for US$7.99 / US$9.99 per month or US$79.99 / US$99.99 per year. Both offer a one-month free trial.
Your other option is to pay for Office 2021, the latest standalone release. This is a one-time payment of £119.99 in the UK or $149.99 in the US. Unfortunately, there’s no way to pay for PowerPoint yourself.
Learn more in our complete Microsoft 365 buying guide.
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