Almost everyone who works needs to do presentations.
PowerPoint has been the traditional tool for creating and editing presentations, Canva has recently been gaining popularity for the same.
In this post, I will compare Canva vs PowerPoint in terms of features, pricing, and pros and cons, so you can decide the best tool for you.
Difference between Canva and PowerPoint
The biggest difference is that Canva is a graphic design tool that you can use to create almost all your brand imagery. PowerPoint is primarily a presentation tool. Secondly, Canva is a cloud-based platform that cannot be used offline, while PowerPoint is a desktop tool that is mostly used offline.
The last biggest difference between Canva and PowerPoint is that Canva is a freemium tool available both in a free and Pro version, and Microsoft is a premium tool. PowerPoint is not available for free.
Canva is an online graphic design tool that lets you create a vast selection of graphic designs with its drag-and-drop interface.
Canva has a huge content library with templates you can easily and quickly customize to create your own. It also includes millions of photos, videos, audio, graphics, and design elements.
Here are some of the designs you can create with Canva Pro:
- Business documents: Letterheads, business cards, presentations, invoices, memos, reports, restaurant menus, and proposals
- Social media: Posts, covers, stories, videos, ads
- Content marketing: Infographics, banners, ebooks, checklist, YouTube thumbnails
- Marketing material: Brochures, posters, flyers, and merchandising
- Email marketing: Email headers and newsletters
As you can see, presentations are just one kind of design you can create with Canva.
Related: Full Canva overview
PowerPoint overview and features
PowerPoint is a powerful presentation tool that helps you create professional presentations from scratch or with the help of premade templates and themes. It was launched in the 1990s and is still the most popular presentation tools today.
Here are some of the PowerPoint features that make it an excellent presentation tool:
- Designs and themes: PowerPoint includes hundreds of design templates of multi-slide presentations that you can customize to create your own
- Animations: You can animate text, objects, pictures, and also your slide transitions.
- Effects: You can add videos, sound effects and music to your presentations to make them more dynamic, engaging, and interactive
- Compatibility: You can use PowerPoint on both PC and Mac, and even on tablets and phones
Though you can create a few simple types of graphic designs on PowerPoint as well, it is not the best tool to create graphic designs. Its forte lies really in presentations.
Canva vs PowerPoint – Detailed comparison of presentation features
Let’s dig deeper into Canva vs PowerPoint to compare the features in detail.
One of the key differences between Canva and PowerPoint lies in the library size.
- Templates: PowerPoint gives you only 27 ready-made templates to choose from, whereas Canva offers you thousands
- Stock content: PowerPoint offers only thousands of stock images, videos, and graphics, whereas Canva offers 100+ million
- Audio: Canva offers stock audio clips but PowerPoint doesn’t
Stock content on Canva, though not perfect, is still easier to search and is more relevant. For example, let’s say I want a picture of a laptop.
When I put this on PowerPoint, I get these results.
These are all people with laptops, not just laptops.
Canva presents a different search result.
While it may not be the same for all industries and content, for me, the search in Canva is more intuitive.
The presentations and templates offered by Canva are simply put, more modern.
The photographs are more pleasing to the eye and stand out, and you can get photos and templates for a lot of different topics.
PowerPoint, on the other hand, is a bit more corporate and the stock images and templates are better suited for professional designs, but I wouldn’t consider them the best fit for every industry.
Check out the templates from Canva.
And here are the presentation templates from PowerPoint.
One of the best parts about Canva is its collection of fonts, both in the free and Pro version.
The Pro version of Canva, for example, offers 3000 premium fonts that can be used for commercial use.
PowerPoint offers all the 700 fonts of Microsoft Office, which you can access from their cloud with internet access.
If you need to create presentations all the time, especially for your professional work, you might want to use a consistent template with your brand colors, logos, and graphics.
You can do this in both PowerPoint and Canva, but there is a slight difference.
In Canva, you can do two things:
1. Create a custom brand template
You can either customize an existing premade presentation template or create your own one from scratch using all your brand elements.
Then whenever you create a new presentation, you just use the same template and change the details.
1. Use a brand kit
Canva gives you the option to create a brand kit with the key elements of logo, color palette, and fonts. With Canva Pro, you can create multiple brand kits.
You can also upload your own custom font to Canva if you like and add it to your brand kit.
So whichever design or presentation you can create, you simply apply the elements you like in one click.
PowerPoint only lets you create a custom template but not a brand kit.
Read my full post on what is a brand kit and how to create one.
While for presentations specifically, a custom template might be enough, if you only want to use brand elements for other brand imagery you create on PowerPoint, you will have to apply them from scratch.
Sometimes, you might want to remove the background and use it as a cutout for a picture you use.
Though this feature can apply for many designs, it is a feature I use often in my presentations as well, so I thought it was worth mentioning.
Canva and PowerPoint both let you do this in one click, but Canva’s Background Removal feature is far more sophisticated.
See below the difference in background removal done with Canva and PowerPoint.
Types of presentations
Canva lets you do what it refers to as talking presentations, which is basically a narrative pre-recorded with the presentation of the slides.
It also offers mobile presentations (in vertical format), and templates for brainstorming, games, and educational presentations.
PowerPoint does not give names to the presentations, but you can actually do any kind of presentation in PowerPoint (including pre-recorded ones).
So this is a draw, really.
Animations and transitions
Animations and transitions when used conservatively are great ways to make your presentations more dynamic and engaging.
PowerPoint provides a lot of options in these aspects,
Canva lets you add animations at the page level too, and simple transitions, but it does not offer as many options as PowerPoint.
For example, you can set the duration of animations but cannot change their timings or make them appear with clicks. You cannot change the order of animations as well.
Animation on a page will appear automatically based on the position of your elements.
You can also insert 3D animations directly into your PowerPoint presentations but you cannot do that with Canva.
Both with Canva and PowerPoint, you can present directly from the platform.
In terms of saving the files offline, in Canva you can save them as a video file, GIF, or PDF.
You can also save the slides as individual JPEG, PNG, or SVG files.
PowerPoint gives you plenty of more file formats to save your presentations. Besides saving as a PDF, you can save the file as TIFF, MP4, GIF, or even RTF, and more.
One additional feature Canva offers is to convert the presentation slides to a website.
While the conventional presentation size ratios are 4:3 and 16:9, you may choose to create a presentation in A4 format, letter format, or any other custom size dimension.
Canva offers presentation templates only in 4:3 or 16:9 size ratios, and 1080 x 1920 px for mobile.
Once you apply all the pages of a template to your presentation, with Canva Pro you can resize your document.
However, then it loses its presentation mode and becomes like just another Canva design that you can download in JPEG or PDF format.
On PowerPoint you can create a presentation in any width and height, and you will still be able to use the presentation mode.
Charts and graphs
Canva and PowerPoint both let you create charts and graphs based on data sets.
The data for charts in PowerPoint data has to come from an Excel file. In Canva, it can come from an Excel file, a CSV file, or a Google Sheets file. You can also enter the data directly in the Canva app.
However, in Canva the types of charts and graphs you can do are very limited compared to PowerPoint.
In a bar-type chart itself, PowerPoint gives you 7 very different options.
For the same type of graph, Canva gives you only 4 which also look same as each other.
So I would have to give this round to PowerPoint. Because even if you have your data in Google sheets, you can copy it to an Excel file and create PowerPoint charts from it.
But if you do not have the right bar types available, it is very difficult to copy them from a different tool.
Table of contents
You can insert a clickable Table of Contents in PowerPoint with which you can jump to the relevant slides.
You do not have this option in Canva.
Earlier we saw that you can do different kinds of presentations in both Canva and PowerPoint.
However, the features to do the actual presentations are quite different in both tools.
PowerPoint offers you multiple ways to present your slides, including:
- Play from start
- Play from current slide
- Custom show
- Rehearse timings
- Rehearse with coach
In Canva, you only have three options to present your slides:
- Presenter view
- Present and record
You don’t get advanced options like rehearsing with a coach who can provide tips on improving your presentation pace and style.
This is understandable as PowerPoint is focused solely on presentations and the presentation features need to be more in-depth.
Interface and ease of use
Canva’s drag-and-drop editor is much more intuitive and beginner-friendly than the PowerPoint editor.
Simply choose a template, customize your designs, and you are good to go!
Canva could also be simpler to use because it doesn’t have as many sophisticated options for presentations and animations as PowerPoint does.
However, if you want a relatively simple and straightforward presentation, Canva would be a better choice because of its user-friendliness.
Integrations with other apps
Canva Pro lets you integrate with other apps and digital marketing tools. Some of them include:
- Google Maps
- Google Photos
- Google Drive
- QR code generator
Canva gives you options to share a presentation file through many platforms and channels. Some of them include:
- Social media apps
- Social messenger apps
- Google Drive
PowerPoint, on the other hand, only lets you save the file in its cloud or invite people through a link.
Canva vs PowerPoint – Pricing
One big factor to consider when deciding between two apps is the pricing.
Canva is s standalone app, so if you pay for Canva, you pay only for Canva.
However, PowerPoint is one app of Microsoft 365, which also includes other apps like MS Word, Excel, OneDrive, MS Teams, and Outlook.
Canva and PowerPoint both offer monthly and annual subscription plans.
Canva has three layers of pricing.
- Canva free: You get access to limited features of Canva, and it’s free forever.
- Canva Pro: Costs $9.99 per month for annual payments and provides access to all Canva design features, for only one user.
- Canva for Teams: Costs $12.99 per month for annual subscriptions and provides access to all Canva design features plus collaboration features for up to 5 users.
Canva is free for those in the educational and non-profit sectors.
Check out more details on the Canva Pro pricing.
PowerPoint has multiple layers of pricing and it’s difficult to provide all the details here, as it really depends on your needs.
For instance, the pricing is different for personal and business use, plus the number of users, plus the number of features included.
The PowerPoint pricing ranges from $8 per month to $22 per month for annual payments.
Canva vs PowerPoint – Free trial
It is always advisable to try out a tool before fully committing to it, and Canva and PowerPoint both offer this.
And there you go!
These were the key differences of Canva vs PowerPoint. Here is a quick summary.
Canva vs PowerPoint – Integration
You can also integrate Canva and PowerPoint.
You can save your Canva presentations as PowerPoint files.
And you can also upload your PowerPoint presentation to Canva.
While most of the slides will still work when you upload a PPT file to Canva, if you don’t have the same fonts on the two platforms, the import may not be perfect.
Canva vs PowerPoint – Which one to use for presentations?
If you’re looking for a quick and easy presentation tool with limited customization options but great visuals and templates then Canva is probably the best choice for you. If you want full control over every aspect of your slide design and presentation customizations then go with PowerPoint!
Canva is a better design tool with high-quality, modern templates and stock media, and PowerPoint has more presentation features and tools.
The decision of which tool is best for your presentation depends on your needs and how much time you’re willing to invest in learning either platform (or both).
Ultimately only you can decide which one fits your needs better so take some time to explore both options before making a decision.
The biggest point of Canva vs PowerPoint that you should remember is that Canva can be used to create a lot of different designs.
So even if you try to create other designs with it like you can on Canva, they may not be that high-quality or easy to create.
Besides, you don’t get thousands of templates for the other designs, you have to create them from scratch.