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August 5, 2015

By: Ben Travis

When looking for a service to upload presentations, you’ll likely choose between one of two main slide hosting platforms: LinkedIn SlideShare and Speaker Deck. On the surface, they look very similar, and choosing between them can be confusing. Both allow you to upload, view, and share presentations and even include options for embedding slides on websites. However, it’s worth noting a few differences between the platforms:

LinkedIn SlideShare

  • Accepts many file types. LinkedIn SlideShare allows users to upload PowerPoint, OpenDoc, and PDF presentations, while Speaker Deck only accepts PDF files. Granted, any major presentation software will you to export a PDF file, but LinkedIn SlideShare also allows you to create a presentation on its own platform through a partnership with Haiku Deck.

  • Has a larger max file size. LinkedIn SlideShare can store massive presentations, up to 300 MB. Videos (like training videos) can also be stored (up to 500 MB). However, Speaker Deck only allows PDFs up to 50 MB.

  • Is mobile-friendly. LinkedIn SlideShare offers mobile-optimized content, which can be helpful when sharing with others. There’s also a SlideShare app available for both Android and iOS. Speaker Deck only offers a desktop version, though mobile navigation on both can be difficult at times.

  • Has a larger community. LinkedIn SlideShare is ranked in the top 200 global websites. There are tens of millions of visitors every month, which also helps it show up prominently in organic search results. LinkedIn SlideShare also allows other users to comment. Speaker Deck is considerably smaller, but more niche-focused.

  • Is owned by LinkedIn. SlideShare originally launched in late 2006 with a focus on intra-firm presentations. In 2012, SlideShare was acquired by LinkedIn for more than $100 million.

  • Contains a transcript of written content in slides. LinkedIn SlideShare automatically shows text content on slides and produces a transcript on the presentation page.

  • Provides complete fullscreen experience. LinkedIn SlideShare stretches presentation slides to fit the entire screen, showing content on as much of the window as possible. For some reason, Speaker Deck produces a smaller fullscreen image per slide, at least in our tests.

  • Offers analytics. Previously a paid feature, slide analytics are now offered to all LinkedIn SlideShare users. It’s possible to see how others find your presentation and how they engage with it after viewing content.

Speaker Deck

  • Has a minimalist design. Speaker Deck opts for a “less is more” strategy, with a subtle, dark background, and far fewer page elements vying for attention than LinkedIn SlideShare. It’s built as a no frills, but elegant service.

  • Shows no ads. As a platform, Speaker Deck is devoid of ads. LinkedIn SlideShare, on the other hand, usually has multiple ads per presentation, displayed right next to slides.

  • Allows sharing by slide. When creating a direct link to a presentation, it’s possible to specify the exact slide to share.

  • Is owned by GitHub. Speaker Deck launched in 2011 as a new GitHub initiative. It’s possible to link accounts from both services. For now this allows you to log in to Speaker Rate while logged into GitHub but not much more.

  • Is used primarily by the tech community. Speaker Deck caters to a more focused audience. Considering it’s owned by GitHub, it’s not a surprise that most Speaker Deck presentations are programming-related.

So which one is better?

If you’re keen on sharing content with a large general audience, want to take advantage of a wide range of features, and aren’t too concerned about ads shown around it, LinkedIn SlideShare might be your choice. If you want the cleanest design, prefer to tie projects to your GitHub account, or require no ads, consider Speaker Deck. As a parallel to the video hosting space, I’d compare LinkedIn SlideShare to YouTube, and Speaker Deck to Vimeo. They’re both great platforms, but it depends on what you’re looking to get out of a presentation hosting service.

Want to know more? Check out the exact same presentation hosted on both platforms:

LinkedIn Slideshare Embed

Speaker Deck Embed

Note: SpeakerRate is built and maintained by Viget, a web design and development firm based in Washington DC and has no relation to either Speaker Deck or SlideShare.

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