I know it sounds a bit crazy, but please hear me out!
I’m not talking about using PowerPoint over Canva for delivering presentations. I’m talking about using PowerPoint over Canva for content creation – i.e. reports, CVs, flyers, worksheets, lead magnets, invoices, letters, social media graphics, course materials, and even Facebook cover photos.
You’re probably familiar with PowerPoint as presentation software, and Canva as the go-to document/content creation software. I mean, it’s the bees knees right – how could another program be any easier!?
For the record, I think Canva is fantastic! I used it for years, and I regularly deliver training on how to use it. The founder of Canva (Melanie Perkins) is from Perth, Western Australia – just like me! The fact that a woman from little ol’ Perth was able to forge such a successful global tech company is an absolute inspiration to me. She identified a problem and came up with an amazing solution.
However, the case I want to put forward today is that for some businesses, community organisations, departments, content creators, course creators and entrepreneurs who refer to themselves as “non-designers”, I believe there are times where PowerPoint may be an even better solution.
For those who aren’t familiar, “Canva is a web-based platform and app which allows users with limited design experience to easily create designs and documents using drag-and-drop features, and pre-made layouts and designs. It’s free to use, although there are premium features which you can now pay for.”
Almost everyone I know uses Canva – from teachers, to netball coaches, to small business owners and everyone in between. When I scroll through my Facebook feed, almost every ad is offering me pre-made Canva templates which I can use to quickly re-brand my business. It’s a super powerhouse platform, there’s no denying it.
As a professional designer, there are limitations to Canva’s features which frustrate me. Further, as someone who sets up businesses with technology systems designed to be simple and seamless, there are some aspects of Canva which don’t make it a viable option.
In case you’re not one of the 1.2 billion people around the world who use Microsoft, here’s a little about PowerPoint… “PowerPoint is a computer program that allows you to create and show slides to support a presentation. You can combine text, graphics and multi-media content to create professional presentations.”
Despite its fundamental purpose as presentation software, PowerPoint actually shares many of the features that make Canva so popular for document creation:
And then there’s all the other reasons why PowerPoint can be more powerful and easy to use …
The thing that frustrates me the most when working in Canva is being limited in terms of design and placement. For instance, sometimes I want to edit the text layout but the design doesn’t allow me to add in those extra words! I want to be able to put items exactly where I want, and format them in the way I want.
PowerPoint lets me do this.
PowerPoint is a blank canvas. Everything – text, images, shapes – operates as its own element (just like Canva)... However, there is far greater flexibility and control over the formatting, sizing and layout of each element. (I should note at this point – this is also why I love using PowerPoint over Word for certain things!!!)
No limitations. Full flexibility (although of course, not as many design & formatting options as Adobe InDesign!)
While Canva is free to use, you do need to set up an account with an email address and password.
When you first installed Microsoft onto your device (or the IT department did!) you would have had an account assigned for licensing purposes. However, now that it’s set up, it just sits on your Desktop ready to be used. You click to open up PowerPoint, and you’re away. There’s no need to log in each time like you do with Canva.
This is also super useful when collaborating – you don’t need to be sharing login details with colleagues so that they can access the working files. They also have PowerPoint on their desktop, ready to go!
Chances are, you have used PowerPoint at one time or another. If you haven’t, you have probably at least used another Microsoft program, like Word!
Microsoft has a consistent user interface across all its programs. In particular, the top ribbon which displays the available features and formatting options. You’ll find when you open up PowerPoint, it will look quite similar to Word. Many of the features available in Word are also available in PowerPoint (such as text formatting).
This makes the learning curve for PowerPoint much less drastic!
Canva is certainly simple to learn, but so too is PowerPoint, arguably … even more so!
Another benefit of being part of the Microsoft suite, is that PowerPoint can integrate with existing or new Word documents or Excel spreadsheets. This is particularly useful when generating charts and reports.
For instance, you can utilise Excel to generate the data needed to display a visual pie chart in Powerpoint. It is seamless – you can do it all within PowerPoint, but you then have the added bonus of that data being available in Excel to be used in other ways. Plus, data is dynamically updated on your pie chart when it’s changed in the Excel spreadsheet.
This prevents the need for copying and pasting data from one place to another and risking missing updates or changes.
Finally, my favourite trick in PowerPoint is to create templates. These are available to you when you open up PowerPoint, and save you re-sizing or re-adding common elements to each new document.
For instance, I have created an A4 portrait template branded with my business logo and contact details. Each time I need to send a letter, I can select this template. The sizing is right, the letterhead details (logo/contact details) are there and I can just get straight onto writing. It saves me time, and ensures a professional look for every letter. A great time saver! I can this with worksheet templates (for teaching), social media graphics and more.
So, what do you think? Have I convinced you to at least give PowerPoint a go?! I would love to hear what your thoughts and experiences have been with using both PowerPoint and Canva – which one works best for your needs?