by Lindsay Davis
Like many of you, I’m in full-swing with research instruction and have been spending time fine-tuning presentations. While I am not a designer, I like to keep visual content fresh, so I am always experimenting with online tools for presentations and graphics. Check out the list of free (or cheap) resources below. These tools do require users to create accounts, and while full functionality may not be available for the basic versions, many have upgrades available at reduced rates for educators.
Which have you tried? Are there other tools you can recommend?
Canva can help you create social media images, presentations, infographics, and more. While Canva is free, many of the pre-made layouts have special elements that cost $1 each. However, you can upload your own images and icons and draw inspiration from the existing layouts for free. Designs can be downloaded as JPEGs, PNGs, and PDFs. You can also share them to social media. Canva for Work is the upgraded version of Canva, which allows you to resize images without recreating them from scratch, but it is $9.95 a month with an annual plan.
Easel.ly can help you create infographics with templates and design objects. You can also upload your own images for free. You can share your infographic via a link or get the embed code. The pro account is $3 a month.
With a Google account, you can access Google Slides and import a PowerPoint presentation—or download a Slides presentation as a PowerPoint. With Slides, you can also share your presentation via a link or embed it.
Piktochart is another tool that can help you make infographics. The free account has free templates and icons, and you can also upload your own images. You can download your designs as JPEGs, PNGs, and PDFs or share your designs via a link, email, or through social media. You can also export them to a variety of services. To get more functionality, you can upgrade to the pro account. The Education Pro price for an individual is $39.99 a year.
Prezi is presentation software that works spatially. You can share your presentation via a link or get the embed code. If you sign up with your college email, you can elect for one of three levels—Edu Enjoy, which is free; Edu Pro, which is $4.92 a month; or Edu Team, also $4.92 a month.
SlideShare allows you to upload files so that you can share them via email, social media, as links, or embed them. You can also create presentations directly in SlideShare with Haiku Deck, although the functionality is little limited through SlideShare.
If you design presentations directly in Haiku Deck, you get more functionality and more ways to share your design. You can share to social media, email, get a link or the embed code, or you can embed directly to a WordPress blog. With a pro account, you can even export your presentation as a PowerPoint or PDF. The cost for the pro version with the educator discount is $4.99 a month or $2.49 a month billed yearly.
Smore helps you make online newsletters or flyers. These can be shared via a link or through social media, and you can also get the embed code. You can also create an email list within Smore. The free account allows you to make five newsletters for free. The personal account, which allows you to make as many newsletters are you want, is $15 a month, but the educator rate is $59 a year. Once a year, there is a sale for educators—$39 for the whole year.
With a Microsoft email account, Sway can help you can create and share interactive reports, presentations, personal stories, and more. You can upload your own images, and you can share Sways via social media or get the embed code.
Visme can help you create infographics, interactive presentations, reports, and more. The free account is limited, but if you sign up with your college email, you can get full functionality for $5 a month through the education discount. With full functionality, you can download your designs as JPEGs, PNGs, or as PDFs, get the embed code, share to social media, or even download to present offline (HTML5).