Beautiful.AI is a stand alone (eg. not a PowerPoint companion or add-in) web-based presentation design app.
The immediate thing the TLC Creative team noted when testing Beautiful.ai was the visual and clean styling and layouts for presentations. Less is often better and the Beautiful.ai app focuses on that design aesthetic – in a good way.
On the technical side, it is web-based. So no internet, no app. In addition it is a browser-based app, so no standalone app to launch, or even “button” to open a browser to the app. It also only functions in the Google Chrome browser. We have fast fiber internet service at the TLC Creative studio, but has noted other web-based apps still pause and have noticeable performance issues. Beautiful.ai was fast and never had us waiting for the internet to catch up.
Using Beautiful AI to create a presentation:
- Click the plus symbol to “Add a Slide” and an array of 75+ preset layout options are available.
- Preset layouts can be customized with images (from internal app resources or from computer), text and several styling options. As example, the “Variations” icon is available at the bottom right and depending on what is selected on the slide it brings up a list of additional options to choose from, such as bullets, numbered icons, etc.
- Content is intuitive to add or delete, as are most of the styling options.
- Entrance animations are preset, and overall everything is elegant and professional.
- The “Artificial Intelligence” in the Beautiful.ai name shines with layouts that automatically readjust and realign for a professional and balanced arrangement. As example, adjusting a 5-item slide to a 3-item slide everything adjusts and centers on the slide area.
- Videos are possible with a YouTube import option. We were also informed that the ability to import your own video files is being added.
- For corporate PowerPoint template projects, one of our stand adds is a preset CONTACT layout. Beautiful.ai has a preset “CONTACT INFO” layout, and it has some nifty options such as add your address and it verifies the address from Google Maps and adds a Google Map to the slide. Plus you have the control of the map style and zoom level.
While this is one of the better web-based presentation design apps I have tested, there were points where I think the app became overwhelmed and it went into a never-ending spin mode (ie. it froze vs. being painfully slow to work with). There are also several limitations worth being aware of:
- Limited fonts available (okay, you use what it picks and no other choices are offered)
- No option to export editable files (PDF and PowerPoint deck made up of static images)
- No presenter view (to see presenter notes, a timer, etc.)
- And some styling limitations, such as on a timeline there is no control over the text wrapping. The layout is balanced between content, but often longer timeline elements need to be “off balance” from the rest of the content to create an overall balanced slide layout. Beautiful.ai follows some great rules for aesthetics, but does not have customization options for things that are outside its rules.
All in all, there’s a lot of pretty cool functions in Beautiful.ai. It is also valuable to take existing slides and content and see new design options presented by Beautiful.ai. My big takeaway is for the corporate user, I would still recommend using PowerPoint, but for one-off and the non-designer looking for a polished and professional visual styled presentation, Beautiful.ai should be an option to remember.
Troy @ TLC