powerpoint online against desktop

Comparing PowerPoint Online against Desktop

Comparing PowerPoint Online against Desktop

Welcome back to PowerPoint Training Online. We recently compared Microsoft PowerPoint against Google Slides. Although PowerPoint desktop was the obvious winner in that case, PowerPoint Online lost out to Google Slides. After that I asked my self the question. If PowerPoint desktop is better then Google Slides, and Google Slides is better then PowerPoint Online. Does that make PowerPoint desktop so much better then PowerPoint Online? So, I decided to compare PowerPoint online against desktop.

I feel it is a little unfair to compare these programs. Not because they are the same or because they run under the PowerPoint brand but because one is an online web app while the other is desktop program. No web app is ever going to truly compete with a desktop program. Desktop programs can have more coded into the behind the scenes. Where as web apps need to make sure they are fast on all connection speeds.

How to put PowerPoint Online against desktop

When I compared PowerPoint against Slides I was able to work against some straight forward categories. I was able to pit them against each other on price, ease of use, cross compatibility with other platforms. What add-ins and presenting were like. But when you are asking yourself whether you should be using online or desktop versions a lot of those checks are not suitable.

With that in mind I decided to put them against each other in a different way. In a way that will help you not to choose which one to use but which one to use for the right situation.

PowerPoint Online against Desktop, how easy are they to use

PowerPoint has never been a difficult program to use. In fact, any of the office programs are generally easy to pick up and work with. Word, PowerPoint or Excel. But why is this. Simply because Microsoft has kept each of the programs as much a like as possible. Yes, each program will have their own tools and uses but the layout is generally the same across them all.

The ribbon is at the top, the zoom buttons are at the bottom. File is in the top left corner. This allows somebody that might be an expert in PowerPoint to use word with out any issue.

Microsoft have kept these simple comparatives across their online world too. When you first venture into Microsoft’s web apps, you will think you are still using he desktop version. You will see the similar layout. The ribbon, the zoom buttons and the file button. It is all there.

When you take that infamous second look you realise that although they look the same, there are features missing.

It is these features that make PowerPoint so unique and comprehensive. We will look at these features in a moment but in terms of ease of use you cannot really go wrong when you put PowerPoint online against desktop.

To be honest if you were just creating a simple presentation and you already have all the graphics and images ready. Then using PowerPoint online could not be easier.

The features list

Features are a key part of what makes any program so let’s compare them.




Playing videos



Trimming videos



Working with animations



Working with transitions



Adding images



Edit images



Play audio



Insert audio



Trimming audio




From the table above, you can really see PowerPoint Online’s limitations. It is great at adding and inserting content to a slide but when it comes to editing it is not so good.

As mentioned above, if you already have all your graphics and images ready to go, using the Online version will not have any disadvantages.

PowerPoint Online against Desktop: Price

To get Microsoft PowerPoint onto your desktop. You will need to pay for it. You have the choice of paying for Office 365 which is based on subscription model or you can buy Office out right. The choice is entirely yours.

Microsoft do offer PowerPoint Online free if you have a Microsoft account. You also get 5GB of free storage on OneDrive, so you can save your files.

PowerPoint Online against Desktop: Sharing

Sharing could not be easier with PowerPoint Online. There is a share button in the top right corner of the program. You can then have a choice of providing a link, embed code or send an email.

The desktop version is a little bit more difficult. You will need to upload it to cloud storage. You can use OneDrive, Google Drive or Dropbox. It does not matter. Or you can email the entire file depending on the size.

PowerPoint Online against Desktop: Work anywhere

The whole idea behind web apps and cloud storage is to give the ability to work anywhere you like when you like. This is a great idea but in practice there is one major flaw.

You must have a network connection.

If you happen to lose that connection, you may be done for. You must work online when using PowerPoint Online. Whereas if you have PowerPoint desktop you can work and present from anywhere if you have a charged laptop.

PowerPoint Online against Desktop: Security

Many presenters like to protect their work to stop people from changing it without their notice. Passwords are great for this.

On desktop you can set and create passwords, set permission levels and restrict. Online you do not have that safety. The only thing that would be like security so that you can share a presentation as read only.

PowerPoint Online against Desktop: Size limitation

When working on a computer the size limitation can be as big as your disk drive. It can be huge. Yes, it may run slower if you have a lot of content within the slides, but you can pack them as much as you like.

Online however you can only have a size limit of 10MB. If you go beyond this then it will not open for you.

I like the idea of having the limit as it prevents people from putting too much content into their slides.

PowerPoint Online against Desktop: Macros

Macros are great if you know how to use them or you can code in visual basic. Me, I cannot so I do not use them.

But it is always better to have something and not need it then need it and not have it. PowerPoint desktop does allow you to run Macros.

PowerPoint online does not. It is that simple.

PowerPoint Online against Desktop: New features

Microsoft has released some good features recently for PowerPoint as Zoom, Design ideas and Morph.

In desktop mode you have access to all of them and the full power that they bring. On the online version of PowerPoint, you will get most of the new features, but some can be lacking in use due to being slightly dumbed down versions of the feature. This is to help the web app run smoother.


There is no shadow of a doubt. The desktop version of PowerPoint is by far the better program. And it is easy to see why. Microsoft have much more power in their hands.

The online version feels like it is there because it must be. I feel that if Goggle never released Google Slides then Microsoft would not have created the PowerPoint web app.

Do you agree with the above? No. Let us know why in the comments below. Or reach out to us on Facebook and Twitter. We are always there will always reply.

Until next time,


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