What is a Slide Deck? Everything You Need to Know!


In my personal experience alone, I’ve seen people use very many different words including the word “Slide Deck” for a presentation. I always wondered what is the meaning of Slide Deck, and how is it different from other words commonly used to describe a presentation. So, I did a little research, and here’s what I found out!

A Slide Deck is a term assigned to a group of slides that together form a complete presentation. A slide deck is usually created using a presentation design application. A slide deck is often used as an aid for storytelling or presenting information about a topic or an organization.

But, how is a slide deck different from a slide show or a PowerPoint? In this article, we will understand the nuances of the various presentation terminologies used. Plus, I will also help you understand why is a slide deck really called a slide deck!

So, let’s get started.

What is a Slide Deck?

When it comes to describing a presentation, there are several words that are used. One word that is often used is a “Slide Deck”.

As mentioned above, a slide deck really is a collection of slides put together to form a presentation. A slide deck is used in many organizations to give an overview about their organization, to share strategies or plans, or showcase performance updates, or even just sharing a piece of interesting information about a topic. There are several use cases for a slide deck!

You may wonder, “Is slide deck not just the same as a presentation?”. If so, then why not just call it a presentation instead of a slide deck? Why use the term slide deck at all?

Pro Tip:
All slide decks are presentations, but not all presentations can be classified as a slide deck!

A presentation is usually a much broader term. For instance, when you are displaying a physical product and verbally sharing nuggets of information about that product, it is still referred to as a presentation. More specifically, it is called a product presentation.

The key difference between a slide deck and presentation is that a presentation is an act of delivering information such as a speech or a talk. Whereas, a slide deck is the visual aid used while giving a presentation!

Although the two terms are often used interchangeably, a slide deck and a presentation are actually two different terms!

Why is a Slide Deck called a Slide Deck? A Brief History!

The term slide deck evolved from an old technology that was used for projecting the slides on the wall. A physical 35 mm slide was inserted into a carousel slide projector. All the slides that were used during a presentation were collectively known as a slide deck (as in a deck of cards).

A Kodak Carousel Slide Projector Model 4400 (Image Credit)

The term “slide deck” stuck around and became synonymous with a presentation even after the technology evolved. Thus, even today, many people refer to a presentation as a slide deck.

If you are wondering how this projector really worked, then you would be amazed to know that each model came with slots for 40 or 80 slides that could be inserted at a time.

Each slide would be placed upside down and backward in terms of the chronological order so that the image projected is in the correct orientation and order. The slide themselves were usually photographs and not much could be done on the slide.

Difference Between Slide Deck and Slide Show?

Another term that people often use interchangeably is a slide deck and a slide show.

A slide deck is the group of slides used to create a presentation. However, when these slides are displayed or shown to an audience while giving a presentation, the process is known as a slide show.

In other words, a slide deck is usually a presentation file whereas a slide show is a process of showing the contents of that file to an audience.

Slide Deck vs PowerPoint: What’s the Difference?

I’ve also seen people get confused between a slide deck and PowerPoint. Again, these are also another set of terms that are used interchangeably. But, there is a difference.

As mentioned before, a slide deck is usually a group of slides collectively put together to give a presentation. The term slide deck has existed even years before PowerPoint was introduced. As we learned above, a slide deck was initially used to describe the batch of physical slides used in a projector.

PowerPoint, on the other hand, is a presentation design software. Unlike a slide or a presentation, PowerPoint is actually a program that is used for designing a slide or creating a presentation.

As the technology evolved and a computer started to have more computing power, complex applications were designed to enable the ease of leveraging technology.

Contrary to the common opinion, PowerPoint was not created by Microsoft. It was first released by Forethought Inc in 1987 initially only for Mac OS. However, Microsoft acquired PowerPoint 3 months after its initial release and rebranded it as Microsoft PowerPoint.

What is the Difference Between Slide Deck and a Pitch Deck?

Another term that you may hear often, especially in the more recent times, is a pitch deck. It is important to note that using the two interchangeably might not be the correct thing to do. Here’s why –

A slide deck is basically all the final slides put together to create a presentation. However, a pitch deck is a type of a slide deck created with a very specific purpose of pitching an idea or a business model to an investor with the intention of raising funds for implementing the idea.

In this era of start-ups and entrepreneurs, a pitch deck is quite common. In fact, every time an organization is looking to raise funds for the project or business, a pitch deck is required.

Simply put, a pitch deck can also be called a slide deck, but not all slide decks can be referred to as a pitch deck!

What is a PowerPoint Slide Deck?

There are multiple ways of creating a slide deck. As we learned earlier, traditionally a slide deck was created using actual physical slides.

As the technology evolved, sophisticated computer applications were used to create a slide deck. One such application is Microsoft PowerPoint.

A PowerPoint slide deck is a term used to describe a slide deck or a presentation that is created using Microsoft PowerPoint as the presentation design application. A PowerPoint slide deck usually consists of multiple slides put together to create a presentation.

That said, a PowerPoint slide deck is more commonly referred to as a “slide deck” or just “Presentation” as PowerPoint is not the only presentation design application available to a user.

What is a Slide Deck in Google Slides?

Although PowerPoint has been one of the most well-known and commonly used presentation design programs, another application that has been gaining in popularity amongst the users is Google Slides!

The idea of a slide deck in Google Slides is pretty much the same. When you put together all the final slides that are going to be used in a presentation using Google Slides, it is known as a slide deck in Google Slides.

If you are not sure what exactly is Google Slides and would like to understand this a bit more in detail, I’ve written a detailed post on this topic. Make sure you check it out! Click on the below link.

How to Make a Slide Deck in PowerPoint?

If you are using PowerPoint, one of the things that you may often be asked to do at work is to make a slide deck in PowerPoint. But, how exactly do you do that? Let me try to answer this question.

Here’s how to make a slide deck in PowerPoint –

  1. Open a PowerPoint Presentation
  2. Create a structure for your content
  3. Create a Title Slide
  4. Design the Other Remaining Slides
  5. Use Images relevant to the content
  6. Add Animations and Transitions
  7. Create a Thank You Slide
  8. Save Your Slide Deck
  9. Share the File with your team

Honestly, this topic deserves a separate article in itself. Perhaps even a single article may not be complete enough to cover this topic.

How to Make a Good Slide Deck?

Let’s face it – most of us don’t want to come across as incompetent. Thus, making a good slide deck is almost always important. But, how exactly does one do that?

There are actually several things that you can do to make an attractive presentation. I actually wrote a detailed article on how to easily create a good slide deck. The tips that I share in that article are also relevant for beginners. So, make sure you check out that article as well! The link is mentioned below.

More Helpful Resources –

  1. Should You Add Table of Contents in your Presentation?
  2. How to Give a Presentation When You Are Not Prepared?
  3. A Quick Guide to Using Animations and Transitions in PowerPoint

Image Credit for the Featured Image

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