PowerPoint™ and Excel™. Two popular Microsoft products used extensively in business. But which one is more powerful for creating business reports?

Since a lot of the data needed for reports is often already in Excel, many people automatically use Excel to create reports and charts for reporting to management and stakeholders. But, in our experience, we have found that PowerPoint is usually the better business reports tool.

Here’s why:

Business report with data driven dynamic chart on a powerpoint slide

1. PowerPoint is Made for Presenting Reports

Excel’s main reason to be is to collect numbers and data and perform calculations. Yes, it does offer charts and graphs, but no real way to sort multiple charts and show them easily to a group. PowerPoint, on the other hand is made for presenting.

PowerPoint’s “slide show” approach lets you easily move from one slide to another with a simple mouse click and move forward and back through your presentation. With Excel, you have to flip back and forth through worksheets which is very awkward.

2. Ordering Your Business Presentation

Using the slide sorter view in PowerPoint, creating and ordering your presentation is as simple as dragging the slides around to change the order.

3. Greater Multimedia Capabilities

PowerPoint makes it easy to insert or drag pictures or even videos onto your slide. You can add pictures of your products, people or stock photo metaphors along with illustrations and charts.

4. Cohesive Theme

With PowerPoint, you can create a master theme and have the colours, graphics, font, font size, etc. repeated throughout the presentation. If you want to change any of these, the entire presentation is updated. The theme can be used for multiple presentations.

5. Better Chart Choices

While Excel does a good job on standard chart choices like line, pie and bar charts, PowerPoint also lets you work with more unique charts. Here are some examples:

A. Tachometer/Speedometer:

While there are some possible tachometer charts for Excel, there are many more tachometer templates for PowerPoint. Here is an example of a PowerPoint tachometer template.

example of speedometer in powerpoint

B. Infographics:

PowerPoint also has the capability of showing your data as Infographics. Infopgraphics are charts and diagrams used to represent information or data. They tend to be higher impact. Here is an example of how an infographic works.

example of infographics

6. Automatically Updated Data

Using PowerPoint plugins like DataPoint, you can link your presentation to data sources like Excel, RSS feeds, and databases. Now your data will automatically update with the latest figures daily or even hourly. Your latest sales, profitability and any other data is already updated in your presentation when you are ready to begin.

7. See Only The End Result

Instead of showing a spreadsheet with numbers and formulae, you can use a data-enabled PowerPoint presentation to skip past the raw data and show it in a more visually pleasant format.

8. Distribution

PowerPoint makes distribution of your business report easy. You can distribute your report:

  • as a self running PowerPoint presentation
  • printed slides
  • as pdf document
  • by broadcasting it company-wide using MessagePoint or way more intelligent via iPoint
  • by uploading it to SlideShare so you can share it over the Internet with your team or even the entire world if you prefer.

Conclusion

With a data driven PowerPoint, you get the best of both worlds. All the power, raw data and calculating power of Excel with the enhanced presenting and multimedia capabilities of PowerPoint. For your next business report, we recommend PowerPoint over Excel.

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