Academic Writing AdviceAcademic, Writing, Advice
ServiceScape Incorporated
ServiceScape Incorporated

The Best Resources for Academic Presentation Templates


Published on
Last Modified on

Many people in academia — undergraduates, graduate students, and professors alike — feel intimidated at the thought of designing eye-catching presentations that provide the perfect balance of information, images, and data while using appropriate colors and fonts.

If you've ever had to endure a presentation in which the presenter read verbatim from a text-heavy PowerPoint® slide, you probably vowed to never make that same mistake. To help you design professional slides regardless of your artistic skills or technical comfort level, I have compiled a list of the best online sources for academic presentation templates. Since many people in academia are working with limited incomes, I have placed priority on sources that offer free templates, and I have focused on user-friendly sites that are easy to navigate. Combine your academic research with the templates and other design features from one of these sites, and your presentation will be finished in no time.

  1. Canva

    Canva is an incredible online resource that features a variety of templates to help you design anything from custom baby shower invitations to academic presentations. Its user-friendly features ensure that even the least artistic person will be able to produce visually effective presentations.

    Canva's flexible layout options make it easy to change your slide theme, add or remove images, and represent your visual data with timelines, pie charts, donut charts, pictograms, and more. You can enter keywords to search Canva's royalty-free stock images if you need to add visual elements, and you can even narrow your search based on the colors in the stock images. For overall slide design, Canva even suggests complementary color groups to help those of us who tend to add too many hues from the color wheel.

    If you are feeling adventurous and want to create a dynamic presentation with embedded videos and animated slides, Canva will guide you through the process in just a few clicks. Once you have finished your presentation, you can present it through Canva's website, or you can download the finished presentation as a PowerPoint or pdf file.

    You will have to create an account to use Canva's design platform. Canva features both free and paid presentation templates as well as free and paid stock images and backgrounds, so it is a resource that fits within any budget.

  2. Google Slides

    Most students (and their parents) became quite adept at navigating the many offerings within the Google Education suite during the virtual learning phase of the Covid-19 pandemic. In the two years since Google Classroom made virtual learning possible, Google has continued to improve and advance the free templates available for Google Slides.

    Google Slides offers an impressive variety of templates that you can customize with text, images, and animated transitions between slides. Google Slides streamlines its customization choices so users do not waste hours (or days) changing backgrounds, fonts, and colors. Once you choose a particular theme for your presentation, your customizing options are limited, so you can focus on inputting your data instead of wasting all your time on custom backgrounds for each slide.

    One benefit of Google Slides is that users can make changes moments before presenting, and once in Presentation mode, you can easily toggle between slides by pressing the spacebar or the arrow keys. Google Slides also offers space for speaker notes, so you can write down any important talking points that you do not want to be included on the presented slide. The downside of this feature is that once you switch to Present mode for your presentation, you cannot see the speaker notes anymore. Some people circumvent this issue by using two computers—one set in Present mode that shows only the final presentation to the audience, and a second computer for the speaker to look at so he or she can access the speaker notes. If you do not have access to two computers, you can print out the speaker notes for reference.

    If you already have a Google account, you can create a Google Slide presentation for free, and your work should be automatically saved to your personal Google Drive. If you do not have a Google account, you will most likely have to set one up before you can use Google Slides. Google Slides are free for personal use, and a paid option is available through Google Workspace.

  3. SketchBubble

    Whether you are a teacher looking to showcase science, history, geography, or other subjects' lessons in a fun yet impactful manner or a student who has been assigned a task to deliver a presentation on the given project assignment, you can count on SketchBubble.

    SketchBubble has an impressive collection of academic PowerPoint templates and Google Slides themes to help you spellbind your audience with polished and visually appealing presentations. Each slide boasts aesthetic design, brilliant color scheme, dynamic animation effect, and high-definition graphics to make your content engaging and presentations more lively.

    The 100% customizable templates are designed for ease of use in all types of educational settings-classroom, online, or hybrid. You can effortlessly modify the slides to match the subject's complexity and students' learning level, giving you complete control over your presentations.

    SketchBubble provides both free and paid presentation templates. The paid plans are available on a monthly, quarterly, and yearly basis. To download templates, you have to create an account on SketchBubble. After downloading templates once, you can access them for a lifetime.

  4. Slides Carnival

    Slides Carnival offers a fantastic selection of free presentation templates that users can download as PowerPoint templates or Google Slides. You can search templates based on color preference or presentation topic, and then you can download the template and customize it with your research and information.

    Out of all the sites on this list, Slides Carnival offers the best selection of slides for science and data presentations, and it might offer the best variety of professional-looking designs overall. With more than 200 free templates available, Slides Carnival is a great resource if you are looking for free slides that look expensive.

    The only downside to Slides Carnival is that it does not seem to offer the extensive stock photo and font choices that sites such as Canva provide. However, if you already have your own graphs and images prepared, Slides Carnival is probably your best choice for a free professional presentation template that you can customize and make your own.

    Slides Carnival provides all of its presentation templates for free, and there are no upgrades or paid options. Unlike most other sites on this list, you do not even have to create an account to download templates on Slides Carnival. In return for using one of Slides Carnival's templates, they require that you attribute Slides Carnival and provide a link to their website.

  5. SlidesGo

    SlidesGo offers presentation templates that users can download and edit in Google Slides or PowerPoint. Most of the details and visual features in a SlidesGo presentation can be changed, but SlidesGo provides a disclaimer that some designs might be embedded in presentations and will not be modifiable.

    SlidesGo provides extensive tutorials to help new users add information, graphs, images, and text to Google Slides and PowerPoint slides.

    SlidesGo offers both free and paid options. The free option allows users to download and use 10 templates per month at no charge, but users are required to credit SlidesGo in the presentation. The premium option ranges from $2 USD to $5 USD per month and offers unlimited template downloads and priority support, and premium users are not required to credit SlidesGo.

  6. Templates Wise

    Templates Wise features a fantastic selection of free PowerPoint templates that you can download and customize for your academic presentation. If you do not have graphs or visual data files already prepared from your research, Templates Wise features effective and unique infographics, charts, and diagrams that you can customize to present your data in a way that will resonate with listeners.

    In addition to its variety of free professional-looking templates, Templates Wise provides free music loops that you can embed in your presentation.

    You can download PowerPoint templates directly from Template Wise without creating an account or entering any payment information. All templates on Template Wise are provided free, as long as you agree to their terms of service.

  7. Smile Templates

    Smile Templates provides a plethora of presentation templates that you can download and customize in PowerPoint or Google Slides. Smile Templates features more than 100,000 templates on its site in categories such as Education, Finance, Medical, Technology, and more. Smile Templates also enables users to include free or paid Music Loops, Maps, and Diagrams & Charts. Smile Templates also provides access to Animated PowerPoint Templates, which will truly bring your presentation to life.

    Smile Templates offers both free and paid presentation templates and interactive features. You will have to create an account before you can download a template from Smile Templates.

  8. E-Learning Heroes

    E-Learning Heroes provides academic and business presentation templates that you can download in PowerPoint or Presenter. E-Learning Heroes is a community-sharing site, so individuals such as graphic designers, artists, or students design templates and then make them available to users. Since the template creators vary in background and personality, some templates include explanations about the slides and provide information about the selected fonts and images, and other templates provide no additional information.

    You will need to create an account before you can download or bookmark any templates on E-Learning Heroes, but it is free to sign up and you do not need to provide credit card information.

Check out the recommendations on the list above to find the best resources for academic presentation templates, and you might even have fun preparing your next big academic presentation. With the templates and tools from any of these sites, you will be able to design a presentation that is professional and visually appealing, so you can engage the audience and effectively convey your information.

Get in-depth guidance delivered right to your inbox.