By Martin Luenendonk, CEO of RoadToFunding.com

If you’re looking to attract funding and take your new business to the next level, then your pitch deck is probably going to be your most valuable piece of marketing content.

It’s crucial, then, that you have access to software that allows you to put together a presentation that’s at once informative, well-structured, and attractive without having to be a design expert.

And it’s that balance between style and functionality that makes for a great presentation. While it can be easy to get carried away crafting a flashy slide deck with lots of fancy design elements and transitions, it won’t matter how great your pitch deck looks if investors can’t open it.

Ultimately, if you’re business model is strong, your ideas interesting and defined, and your pitch deck accurate and informative, it shouldn’t matter what your pitch deck looks like. Remember, content always trumps style when it comes to attracting funding.

With all that in mind, we’ve listed below six great software options for you to create a clean, flexible, and accessible pitch deck that investors will love.

POWERPOINT

If there’s one piece of presentation software that everyone’s heard of, it’s PowerPoint. The Microsoft product remains largely ubiquitous across offices and lecture theatres around the world, offering an accessible and feature-laden user experience.

These days, most users get hold of PowerPoint by purchasing a subscription to Microsoft Office 365. A personal subscription will set you back $69.99 per year, but will also include access to other Microsoft apps such as Word and Excel. Alternatively, you can buy PowerPoint as a one-time purchase for a little over $100, or use the free but vastly stripped-down PowerPoint Online, which just requires a valid Windows Live login.

PowerPoint has retained its popularity for good reason. While it’s not the cheapest option on this list, it arguably offers the most comprehensive suite of features and has cross-platform functionality.

PowerPoint has all the formatting and layout tools you would expect, as well as wealth of design features and transitions. It also offers useful functions such as PowerPoint Broadcast Service, which lets you share your presentation through a web link, and a presenter’s view that displays notes for each slide.

KEYNOTE

Keynote, Apple’s native presentation software, has evolved into a powerful PowerPoint rival. It perhaps doesn’t have quite the wealth of features that Microsoft’s offering boasts, but has more than enough functionality for you to create a compelling, effective presentation.

One of Keynote’s biggest draws is that for most Mac users it’s either included with their device or can be downloaded for free from the App Store. And for that reason, it’s probably fair to say that Keynote offers more bang for your buck than PowerPoint.

Keynote offers a comparatively broad selection of design features, including some flashy animations and design options. It also allows you to add charts – including cap tables – and text from Apple’s Pages and Numbers programs into presentations seamlessly.

Keynote’s sharing and export options make it an attractive tool for modern start-ups. The process of delivering a pitch has changed quite significantly with the rise of the internet, with old projectors making way for online sharing tools and social media posts. That’s why Keynote includes options to upload a video version of presentations to YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, and Flickr, as well as some accessible collaboration options.

GOOGLE SLIDES

Google has worked hard to gain a foothold in the presentation software game, which continues to be dominated by Microsoft and Apple. The software company’s Google Slides offering (formerly Google Presentations) has introduced some interesting features in recent years, making it a capable alternative to its better-known competitors.

First of all, it’s free to use if you have a Google account – which itself is free to set up – and it can be accessed across all the mainstream browsers. Google Slides isn’t available as a desktop application, which can be slightly limiting, but for most this shouldn’t be a major issue.

Where Google Slides has made a name for itself is in its innovative collaboration, sharing, and web publishing options, and this functionality more than makes up for its relative design and transition limitations. Google Slides projects can be simultaneously edited by team members online, presentations are available across multiple devices, and slide decks can be shared through web links.

One particularly great Google Slides feature allows audience members to submit questions to a presenter online in real-time.

HAIKU DECK

Haiku Deck is a straightforward, no-frills piece of software that’s a good bet for those that find the comprehensive options offered by PowerPoint and Keynote either overwhelming or distracting.

Haiku Deck is available on a subscription basis starting at $9.99 per month, billed annually.  A seven-day free trial is available and you can register for a free account that comes with limited public sharing.

Simplicity, ease-of-use, and its limited design options are Haiku Deck’s main strengths, with the software taking care of much of the design work after you’ve selected a theme for your presentation. This allows you to focus on the all-important content of your presentation and ensures that you end up with a slide deck that looks streamlined and clean.

PREZI

Despite the reservations about compatibility that Australian investor and start-up advisor Alan Jones might have about Prezi, it’s worth considering if you want to create something that’s more dynamic that your usual linear slide deck. Instead of presenting a sequence of individual slides, Prezi will zoom in and out of a single pinboard, focusing on different aspects of your presentation in turn.

Prezi is cloud-based and is available on a subscription basis from as little as $7 per month, with a free trial period that allows you to try out its features risk-free. It offers a range of interesting design features, d can be used as a collaborative brainstorming tool as well as a for presentations.

Prezi’s unique swooping mechanic, however, can be distracting, and its use of an animated path for presentations can make it tricky to quickly skip to individual pieces of content in the moment. Ultimately, it’s probably best seen as an occasional departure, rather than a full-time PowerPoint or Keynote alternative.

THE TAKEAWAY

Whether you want something that lets you create stylised, slick presentations or something that is a little more streamlined, there are plenty of options out there that will suit your needs.

PowerPoint and Keynote are probably still the best all-rounders and will be the most commonly used, while Haiku Deck and Google Slides offer a more stripped down but clean experience with great sharing options. Prezi is something of a wildcard, but worth considering if you want something that strays from the norm.