Would you like to use a presentation app automatically adjusts as you create content? Or perhaps an app that has loads of predesigned layouts for charts, lists, image collages, or timelines?
What is beautiful.ai
Beautiful.ai made a big splash in 2018 when it burst onto the slide design scene. With its use of artificial intelligence, the app’s goal is to make slides quick and easy to create as well as beautiful.
Essentially, an antidote for "Death by PowerPoint" slide decks. The functionality of the platform is to maintain core design principles. The company has continued to make improvements to the platform establishing itself as a leader in the field.
As of this recording, the app is free to try for 14 days. To use the app after fourteen days, there are three plans:
- Pro at $12/month will an annual subscription,
- Team, $40 / user / mo, billed annually, and with the option to pay monthly,
- Enterprise that is a custom plan based on a company's needs.
Some online reviews mention a free Basic plan. That was eliminated near the end of 2021. However, they do offer a one-year free Pro subscription to students with a valid .edu email address.
Creating a New Presentation
Once you create an account, you have full access to all of the features of trial plan you selected when creating the account. A sample presentation is provided to give you a chance to explore the features and settings. The basis of the app is a wide variety of pre-designed layouts. It helps to have your outline and content ready to go before jumping in to design the slide deck.
To create a new presentation, click the Create New Presentation button in the top navigation banner. First, you select a template or import an existing PowerPoint presentation. The template options depend on your plan: a Blank Presentation, Team Templates, or Starter Templates.
Blank presentations provide a solid background fill, designated font, and color palette. These are referred as themes when creating and editing a slide deck. Clicking each option provides a quick view of what the style will look like. Starter Templates are predesigned layouts in addition to designated font and color palette. These are similar to other templates you may have downloaded from sites like Slidesgo.com.
There is an initial blank title slide. The slide creation space provides several tools. The left toolbar provides options to adjust the color scheme. You can also switch or edit the theme.
The Layout option provides different options for the type of slide. Add Element gives you different objects like text box, shapes, and icons. The Animation button provides options to animate your object such as On Click or Auto.
With Audio you can record directly into the presentation or import an audio file. The Next Slide button determines when the next slide will be shown. The top toolbar provides navigation options like going back to your library switching between slide and grid views, and an indicator of the slide layout type. The bottom toolbar provides different content and layout options depending on the slide type and content.
The first slide of the template is typically a Title Slide. Click the filler text to add your title You will be provided with a different editing options like placement, size, and style. To add an image, click the Add image button in the bottom toolbar. You can choose a stock image, video, icons, or logo. As well as upload your own images. The stock images are from sites like Pexels, Unsplash, and Pixabay.
Once you add the photo, To adjust the placement of the image, click the Layout button. click it to make further edits like enlarging or flipping.
Overview of Smart Slide Layouts
Add a new slide click the Plus sign to the right You can also duplicate or delete the slide as well as switch or convert the slide to a different layout. From there you are presented with a variety of Smart Slide layouts. They are broken up into various categories like Structural, Essential, Data, Timelines, and Impact.
Mousing over the template thumbnail will show the different layout options. Once you select your template, you can start adding content. Clicking on a layout gives you examples of what it might look like Double clicking then provides different options. Click to choose a layout or a blank slide.
The layout will guide you through adding content. For data and diagrams, there are many layouts to choose. Depending on the layout you choose you will have different editing options. For charts, click the edit chart button to add your data and labels.
For a layout like a Comparison the options change for modifying numbers and column height. If you want to delete a slide, go to Grid view Right click over the slide and choose the Delete option. From Grid view you can also duplicate slides. .
Once you are done adding your slides and content, you can preview the slide deck using the Present button in the top toolbar This is also the option you use to present online.
The Share button provides you the option to share a link to the presentation. The More button on the left toolbar provides Export options for an individual slide as well as the entire presentation.
So, is this app worth trying?
Like most software, you have to use it to learn it. With this software there is a underlying assumption that the user understands the basics of creating a presentation.
What I like best about the software is the ease of adding content and the tools to adjust it. Particularly the image resizing and adjusting the slide layout.
Because of all of the options, it helps to have an outline and data ready to go. Otherwise, it is really easy to get lost or overwhelmed. With the types of templates and layout options the focus is on the business and corporate environments.
If you create many presentations that are geared towards reports, pitches, or plans definitely give beautiful.ai a look and try. You will appreciate the options for presenting the content typical of those slide decks.
If you are creating slide decks for online courses you may find the layout options limiting. But it really depends on the content you are teaching and how much you can leverage the exiting features to meet your actual needs. Recent integrations with PowerPoint and Google Slides provides greater opportunity to utilize the tools of the platform in standard software that most of us are really familiar with.
Overall, my rating of beautiful.ai is a A+ and I look forward to seeing how the platform continues to evolve.