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Haiku Deck: a painless PowerPoint alternative

Yardena Arar | April 28, 2014
We live in a PowerPoint world, but despite Microsoft's best efforts it's not that easy to put together a professional looking slide deck with the powerful Office presentation app. The learning curve for more than a few slides with simple bullet points is simply too steep.

Images, charts, or background colors

The next order of business is adding a background graphic by clicking the graphic icon in the nav bar. This brings up options for images, charts, or solid colors. If you click on the image icon, you can either upload your own images, or let Haiku Deck find free stock art based on what you type in a search. Alternatively, you can opt for a solid background color.

With the background in place, if you don't like layout, clicking the layout icon brings up alternative positions for the text you chose earlier. You might want to separate the headline and the dek, or move them up or down, or align them left or right. Similar options are available for the other text types.

You don't, however, get layout options for the chart slides (under graphics). There are three (I expect Haiku Deck will charge for additional ones): a bar chart, a pie chart, and one with formatted and labeled numbers. You can add bars, pie chart segments, or numbers by simply clicking a plus icon on the slide.

The notes icon brings up a field next to your slide for typing in anything you'd want your audience to know that doesn't work well on the slide itself. These are not presenter notes, although those are in the works. You don't have to use notes at all, obviously.

On the top right of the Haiku Deck interface are the icons for sharing, exporting, and playing your presentations. Haiku Deck automatically saves your work as you create it. The sharing options let you name your deck (so long as it isn't designated as private under permissions), write a brief description, assign it to a category (useful if you choose to make it publicly available to all Haiku Deck users), and instantly post it to Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, SlideShare, Twitter, or WordPress; you can also email a link, copy it, or generate HTML to embed on a website.

What a written description of Haiku Deck and its features doesn't really convey is that it's fun to play with. It's a pleasure to see how easy it is to produce a reasonably attractive slide deck in only a matter of minutes, and the many sharing options really makes it a useful tool for people who want to create presentations with no training and a minimum of effort.


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