Want serious presentation power, but without paying PowerPoint's full freight? Then you'll want to try Ashampoo Presentations ($20, 30-day free trial). This lower-priced alternative offers many of the major features of PowerPoint, without busting your budget.
This inexpensive presentation program includes what are to many people the most important features of PowerPoint: easily building presentations; inserting graphics and other objects; nifty animated transitions between slides; and multiple views of a presentation for easy creation, management, and editing.
The program also reads PowerPoint presentations, and can save presentations in PowerPoint format or in a variety of other formats, including graphics formats. It can even export presentations as PDFs.
You should be aware, though, that PowerPoint has a number of powerful features that you won't find in Ashampoo Presentations 2008, such as "SmartArt," which lets you easily build sophisticated graphics such as organization and relationship charts and then insert them into your presentation. And Ashampoo Presentations also include fewer multimedia tools, such as the ability to record narrations and incorporate them into presentations. So if you're a true presentation power user, you may not be satisfied with the program.
But if you don't need many high-end features, Ashampoo Presentations will save you hundreds of dollars compared to PowerPoint, and is well worth a look--and potentially, a purchase.