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Key Points

  • Our choice for the #1 best overall slideshow maker is Icecream Slideshow.
  • Many slideshow makers have a free version, and some offer a lifetime free version. 
  • When searching for a slideshow maker, keep the following criteria in mind: features, pricing, compatibility, and export quality. 

Finding the best slideshow makers can be a chore. Because there are so many options, knowing which software or product is best for your needs takes time and effort. Whether you’re a professional looking to wow your clients and boss or just want to wow your family with a creative slideshow of your last vacation, the best slideshow makers for presentations are on this list. This article compares the best slideshow makers based on their features, exporting, pricing, and compatibility. 

Best Overall Slideshow Maker: Icecream Slideshow 

Our pick for the best overall slideshow maker is Icecream Slideshow. We chose this slideshow maker due to its simplicity of use, how much control you have, and the ability to export or file share your presentation in just about any format. Once you know what you want to import, Icecream lets you drag-and-drop files quickly and easily. Additionally, you can add animations if your presentation calls for it.  Further, to help set your slideshow apart, you can add text and music and even create videos from photos. 

While overall, Slideshow Maker is our top pick, it’s not without its faults. For example, you cannot preview and edit your photos on the whole screen. However, it shouldn’t be too much of an issue if you have a big enough monitor. A for pricing, Icecream Slideshow has a robust free-for-life version, but you will be limited to 20 photos per slideshow. At the same time, the pro version lets you add as many pictures as you want. 

ProsCons
You can add music to your slideshow.Icecream Slideshow is only available for Windows.
You can personalize your image and slide transitions. 

Best for Photos: AquaSoft

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Love taking photos? Want to show your photos off to your friends? Use AquaSoft to make a photo presentation.

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AquaSoft is our pick for the best slideshow maker for those of you with a ton of photos. We chose AquaSoft because of all the options you have when it comes to editing your pics. For example, you can create meaningful transitions and camera pans, add six photos to create a 3D cube, and add motion blurs to your layouts. 

Aside from being heavy on the effects, AquaSoft doesn’t offer much in the way of complete animation freedom, so you won’t get as many editing options as you’ll find in IceCream Slideshow. However, you will get basic editing tools and a great template library. 

You can get a 30-day free trial of AquaSoft, or a paid version for additional features.  

ProsCons
You can easily move and rotate images, text, and videos along paths.You have limited animation ability. 
You can structure a timeline with chapters to keep photos and animations organized.Sadly, there’s no music integration.
AquaSoft is for Windows only.

Best for Videos: FastReel

Our pick for the best slideshow maker for implementing amazing videos is FastReel. FastReel gets our vote because the software offers an easy way to create professional-looking presentations on any device. You can edit your videos using advanced options, including adding music and transitions, and compressing, trimming, and changing the speed. If you have your own music to add, you can add your own music, or you can opt to choose from a robust music library. FastReel also comes with templates for creating a killer slideshow in no time. 

Our biggest gripe with FastReel is that you have to create an account to download your slideshow. You can pick up a free 30-day trial, but your slideshow will appear with a watermark. To avoid the watermark, opt for a monthly premium version. 

ProsCons
It’s super easy to get started.You need to have an account to download your created slideshow. 
FastReel works on Mac and Windows. 

Best for Beginners: Adobe Express

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Adobe is a multinational software company that produces and sells multimedia and creativity software.

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Adobe Express, formerly Adobe Spark, gets our pick as the best slideshow maker for beginners. We chose Express because of how easy it is to get started with a template and its easy-to-navigate interface. Best of all, you don’t need a lick of design experience to get started. 

In addition, Adobe Express has many free icons and images to use, and you can easily add collages to your slideshow. If you need to edit your photos and video, you can quickly remove the background, crop, trim, or resize. Further, Adobe Express works well with other Abode products. Also, once you’re done personalizing your slideshow, you can export it and share it from any device. 

You can get Adobe Express for free with a lifetime plan or opt for the premium plan for students or businesses. 

ProsCons
Adobe Express works well with other Adobe programs.The free trial may not be robust enough for some professional uses. 
Easy layouts make it easy to put together a quick, professional-looking slideshow.
Adobe Express works on Mac and Windows. 

Best for Professionals: SmartSHOW 3D

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SmartSHOW 3D will bring your images to life and make your presentations unforgettable.

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Our pick for the best slideshow maker for professionals is SmartSHOW 3D. SmartSHOW 3D is unique in that it creates impressive 3D presentations from your photos and videos. Whether you choose to use one of the plethora of templates or go on your own, SmartSHOW slideshows will surely wow your clients and staff alike. 

SmartSHOW lets you drag and drop your assets into the software and edit them into stunning slideshows, movies, and albums. Additionally, you can preview any changes you make before you add them to your photos or videos. 

A huge drawback to the free trial version, it only allows 16 photos at a time. So if you have more than that, you’ll want to opt for a paid version. The paid version lets you get a one-year license, or you can opt for a lifetime license. 

ProsCons
The 3D abilities are unique and brilliant. You will have to contend with a watermark for the free version.
Massive library of templates and songsThe free trial only allows for 16 photos per slideshow.
SmartSHOW only works on Windows machines. 

How to Pick the Best Slideshow Maker: Step by Step

Before purchasing the best slideshow maker for you, there are a few things most people will want to consider. These factors are:

  • Features
  • Compatibility
  • Pricing
  • Export ability and quality

Let’s look at each of these deciding factors in more detail. 

Features

First, think about the purpose of the slideshow and what features you will need. Will it be for personal use or professional use? Do you need advanced editing tools or just basic functionality? Next, research different software options and read reviews from other users. You may need to look for a user-friendly interface and various templates and themes to choose from. 

Compatibility

It’s essential to check if the software is compatible with your operating system. For example, some slideshow makers may only work with Windows machines. Some work on any device. 

Pricing

It may seem obvious, but you’ll want to consider the cost of the slideshow software and if it fits within your budget. Also, remember to check if there are any additional fees for upgrades or features. You will want to avoid getting stuck paying for a feature you thought was free. 

Export Ability and Quality

Lastly, think about the output ability and quality of the slideshow. For example, will you present your slideshow in high definition or standard? Will you need good quality speakers? Also, consider if you can share your presentation online or save it to different file formats. 

By considering these factors before purchasing a slideshow maker, you can ensure that you choose the best software for your needs.

What to Know Before Buying the Best Slideshow Maker

The best slideshow makers can help you pull off killer presentations. While there are a lot of options out there, it’s best to find one that fits all or most of your requirements. For example, if you’re a beginner or want a simple, professional-looking slideshow, choose one with pre-made templates and a few styles to choose from. 

Some people may want to add visual effects to their photos, videos, or text, while others want beautiful music to set to brilliant photographs. To create your best presentation, go with the best slideshow maker for your needs. 

Using the Best Slideshow Maker: What It’s Like

Creating a slideshow can be a fun and creative way to share memories or present information. Slideshow makers offer an easy and convenient way to make slideshows without having to worry about complicated software or technical skills. With a variety of templates, themes, and customization options, creating a slideshow can be as simple or complex as you want it to be. So, whether you’re making a slideshow for a school project, a business presentation, or just for fun, using a slideshow maker can help you bring your ideas to life in a visually engaging and memorable way.

The 5 Best Slideshow Makers for Killer Presentations FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

How many photos make a good slideshow?

A good rule of thumb is no more than 10 pictures for each minute of the presentation.

What is the best rule for slideshows?

It’s best to follow the 5/5/5 rule. This means you should have no more than five words per line of text, five lines per slide, or five text-heavy slides in a row.

How long should it take to make a slideshow?

A professional slideshow may take someone anywhere from 10 to 40 hours to create.

What software application would you use to create a slideshow?

Some of the best presentation software include IceCream Slideshow, AquaSoft, FastReel, Adobe Express, and SmartSHOW 3D.

How do I make my slideshow look professional?

You should use bullet points rather than full sentences, keep colors simple, and avoid over-styling your assets.

How many pictures do I need for a 30 minute slideshow?

Each photo should have around 7 seconds of screen time. That means you should have no more than ten photos per minute.
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