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Slideshow: Brief Description

A slideshow is a collection of still images or digital pages, which are strung together in order to create a visual presentation. Individual pages or images within the slideshow are referred to as presentation slides, while slideshows that have music or other sound elements to them are sometimes described as audio slideshows. A slideshow may be used to entertain, to accompany a presentation or lecture, as a piece of content marketing, or as a screensaver.

Originally, in order to create and display a slideshow, individual photographic slides were projected onto a screen via an overhead projector or a carousel slide projector, creating a “show” as such. Today, however, it is more common for the process to be entirely digital, with slideshows being created via slideshow presentation software. The key difference between the two types of slideshow is that the slides within a digital slideshow are not physical objects, but part of a digital file.

Slideshow: Detailed Description

The origins of the slideshow can be traced back to the 17th century, at which point they were created by hand-painting images onto glass and projecting them onto a wall or screen through the use of early projectors, which were known as ‘magic lanterns’. Over the course of the centuries that followed, slideshows were primarily used for entertainment purposes, often serving as a visual accompaniment to storytelling.

By the mid-1900s, projection and slide technology had progressed to the point where slides were able to be made by mounting a 35 mm film image within a small frame, usually made of card or plastic. This could then be projected onto a screen using a carousel or overhead projector. By this point, projectors had become widely available and it was not uncommon for households to own one and put on a slideshow to look through important photographs.

During this century, it also became common for slideshows to be used by educational institutions like schools and universities, serving as a visual aid when giving presentations or lectures. Digital slideshows, used for the same purpose, have become increasingly popular since the beginning of the 1990s, as slideshow creation software began to emerge, with some of the early examples including Microsoft PowerPoint and VCN ExecuVision.

Digital slideshows can consist of a collection of photographs or other images, as well as text, graphs, clipart and even video. As a result, images or graphs may be annotated, making slideshows extremely useful for relaying information in a concise, easy-to-understand way. A key benefit of digital slideshows is that it is easy to add or remove slides at will, as well as edit existing ones if necessary. Special effects may also be added.

Originally, slideshows using physical slides and a projector required the user to manually change the slides. However, digital software packages provide a greater range of controls, so that slides can be set to change automatically at set intervals, or set to change when the computer’s mouse is clicked, or a key is pressed. This allows for presentations to be given in a much smoother, more controlled fashion.

Another contributing factor to the popularity of digital slideshows was the introduction of digital cameras, which also became popular consumer products around the mid-to-late 1990s, before replacing film cameras in popularity after the turn of the millennium. When used in conjunction with one another, digital cameras and digital slideshows were able to help amateur and professional photographers alike to showcase the range of pictures they had taken.

Today, the single biggest use of slideshow presentation software occurs within the business world, as presentations may be given in order to feed back business results, aid with team training, explain tasks and communicate other information. Moreover, slideshows are increasingly popular as a form of content marketing, providing consumers with research, statistics, graphs and other important information in a digestible, piece-by-piece format.

Creation of Digital Slideshows

Digital slideshows can be created in various ways, using a number of different software packages or online services. The most popular slideshow presentation software package on the market is Microsoft PowerPoint, although others include Google Slides, LibreOffice Impress, Apple Keynote and ClearSlide. Many online photo sharing platforms, including Flickr, also provide a slideshow option, allowing uploaded photos to be presented as slides.

Most presentation software enables users to import photographs they have stored, either on their devices, or within online photo galleries like Flickr, Facebook or Instagram. In addition, they usually come with the option of adding text, graphs, charts, clip art, animations and video. An editor will also have the option of introducing new elements to a slide with a button click and can change the motion of individual items as they appear on the slide.

Audio slideshows can be created in packages that support sound, and the sounds added to a slideshow may consist of music, commentary, sound effects, or a combination of those things. Meanwhile, the various editor functions usually include image optimisation, allowing for images to be cropped, moved, rotated, resized and recoloured. Effects can be added, drawing attention to particular parts of a slide, or making the slideshow more dynamic.

In addition to their use within business and education settings, slideshows are often placed within web pages, either to present information to readers, or as a piece of content marketing. Slideshows can be added to web pages in a variety of ways and HTML, Javascript and CSS slideshow templates are easy to find online.

Facebook has also introduced a slideshow function to its platform, and although its ability to access personal photos from smartphone camera rolls has raised some privacy concerns, it is extremely user-friendly. The platform provides fewer options than presentation software, but allows people to quickly edit together a slideshow of their favourite photos, accompanied by music, and share the results easily with their friends and family.


Slideshows are a visual presentation medium, constructed from a series of images or slides, which may also feature text, charts, graphs, video and audio. They are especially useful as an accompaniment to a presentation or lecture, helping to provide a visual aid, although they are also used for a variety of other purposes, including content marketing, journalism, showcasing photography and entertainment.

Modern digital slideshows are now more commonplace than old-fashioned slideshows, which made use of physical slides and a projector. By using presentation software, it is simple to produce a compelling slideshow, with slides set to change at set intervals, or with the change of slides being controlled manually by button presses. Common slideshow packages or platforms include Microsoft PowerPoint, Google Slides, Apple Keynote, ClearSlide and Flickr.

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