Storyline vs. PowerPoint?

I work for a company that heavily uses PowerPoint to build training courses and form presentations.  We are investigating switching over to Storyline.  Before we make the switch, we have some of questions.

1-Most people on this forum claim Storyline is intuitive, but based on my own experience I disagree.  I didn't feel like I could create presentations that were more advanced than basic power points.  I have yet to watch any tutorials because I wanted to test the theory of Storyline's self explanatory set up.  An example of some things I struggled with are the layers and triggering.  The layers and triggers were a bit of a pain to set up, and then they didn't work as I anticipated.  If you believe it is intuitive, do you think it is easy to use after watching the tutorials or before watching them?  Did you use other articulate products before storyline?  Or do you think it's intuitive mainly because you don't have to write code to get animations?

2-What specifically makes Storyline better than PowerPoint?  What capabilities does Storyline have that PowerPoint does not, and what capabilities does PowerPoint have that storyline doesn't?  For anyone who made the switch directly from PowerPoint to Storyline, was it worth it and why?  Was it difficult to adjust to Storyline?

3- Reading over the forums, almost all of the comments were positive and recommended the product.  However, can anyone think of any drawbacks to the program?

Thank you!!

10 Replies
Diane Elkins

Storyline and PowerPoint are different products for different purposes.  If you are looking for sit-back-and-watch presentations or instructor-led presentations, then you can probably stick with PowerPoint.  If you want interactive e-learning, then you would be better off with Storyline. 

To me, the biggest thing you can do in PowerPoint that you can't do in Storyline is create complex animations.  Storyline comes with about 5 animation options, whereas PowerPoint has close to a hundred, I believe.  So if you want really high-end animation effects, including motion paths, then PowerPoint is still a better tool.

The list of what you can do in Storyline that you can't do in PowerPoint is quite significant.  Creating questions and quzzes, interactive slides and diagrams, conditional logic that changes what happens based on what the student does, etc.

I would say that Storyline is quite intuitive for someone who has created interactive e-learning before.  If you've never created that type of content before, then there's a shift in thinking that you need to make--in addition to learning the function of the tool.

For someone who is computer savvy, they would only need to view a few of the tutorials to get the hang of it.  For someone who is newer to the concept or maybe not as adept with PowerPoint already, then it might take a little longer to get up-to-speed.

Phil Mayor

Hi Caroline

I have been using Storyline for a year now, I would say it is an intuitive and elegant design.  In some ways you are comparing apples with oranges because Storyline is for producing elearning and powerpoint is presentation software.

During the beta we did not have access to tutorials, along with others in the beta we had demos up and running within hours, and these increased in complexity as the beta continued. 

Storyline is intuitive because on a lot of occasions Storyline does the grunt work for you, if you build a button with multiple states you can format paint those states to other objects easily.

For developing elearning the two things you struggled with layers and triggers are the building blocks of storyline that allow you to build complex courses you could only dream of building using powerpoint alone, add in variables and you have a powerful piece of software.

Storyline can also build quizes and score these which is not possible in powerpoint.

Powerpoint does have some things that are better, including animations, but Storyline is not presentation software and powerpoint is not elearning software.

Hope this helps


Kelly Blenus

I am very new to Storyline, and to creating this type of complex eLearning. I have an instructional design background that uses a learning model which is highly activities based and needs the use of real world scenarios and examples. I agree with the others that comparing PPT to Storyline is an apples to oranges cannot create any complex learning in Powerpoint and these are the features that make Storyline so amazing. In just over two months since my first login, I've created courses using layers, triggers, and branching scenarios that I never would have though possible with my limited technical/design knowledge. There has yet to be an activity or scenario that I would cover in a live training session that I couldn't duplicate in Storyline so far. I have made use of the tutorials, videos, discussion board, and other resources. I'm not sure why you'd try to tackle any new interface without using these resources. The majority of the time I just need to be pointed in the right direction and have rarely had to watch a tutorial from beginning to end to figure out a solution to whatever I've encountered. I've still come in well under my deadlines on all of my projects, and that includes learning the system from the ground up. I'd reccomend it in a heartbeat - it's one of the most intuitive pieces of software I've used to date.

Steve Warburton

I've just started teaching at Community College after a long career including time as a TV reporter. This question of presenting vs story-telling it very interesting. I also spent 4 years as an elected School Board member/trustee where we touched on pedagogy regularly. How do we best teach this generation of learners who were raised by the internet.

We use LMS called Brightspace which loves Powerpoint. I'd saying storyline is mis-named, it is more like directed-teaching. I'm learning Storyline off Lynda and so far it seems a lot like Powerpoint. What do the experts think?

Katie Riggio

Hey, Steve. Happy to help!

If you're looking to soak up some Storyline inspiration, we've got you covered:

Happy creating, and let us know if there's anything else we can help answer!

Eric Schaffer

Years ago I was asked to look at Storyline and give my opinion for a preplacement to PowerPoint. It isn't. Like most people in this tread, they are for two different learning. Presentation and e-Learning. I have taken the live week long training and one of the first thing the instructor said was Storyline is not a replacement for PowerPoint, you need to look at both differently. I appreciate everyone's feed back in this tread, I was thinking of trying to replace PowerPoint with Storyline and you brought me back to reality. Thanks