What Is SlideShare and How Does It Work?

A popular way to share work online from LinkedIn

SlideShare is an online presentation service that launched in 2006 and was purchased by LinkedIn in 2012. The platform originally focused on digital slideshows, hence the name, but eventually added support for the uploading of files created in other programs and the embedding of LinkedIn videos to create more dynamic presentations.

What Is SlideShare?

SlideShare is kind of a combination between a social network and an online learning resource. Anyone can create a presentation on the SlideShare website, sometimes referred to as "SlideShare net", while those that make high quality and popular creations, such as comprehensive webinars, can often gain a large following.

Projects made on SlideShare can be posted privately or publicly on the platform. If a project is published on SlideShare publicly, SlideShare users can like or comment on it and share it on social media or by embedding it on a website. Presentations can also be downloaded for offline viewing on the official SlideShare iOS app and SlideShare Android app.

What You Can Use SlideShare For

SlideShare is mainly known for being an educational resource with a variety of webinars and training presentations on a large number of subjects. Despite this main focus, though, SlideShare is also used by many to promote brands or companies and some even use it as a blogging or newsletter service for their website.

SlideShare website.

Due to the added support for PDF files, PowerPoint, and Microsoft Word documents, some users also use SlideShare to distribute files to friends, colleagues, or subscribers.

Here are some of the most-popular ways to use SlideShare:

  • Online webinars and training programs.
  • Website newsletters.
  • A visualization tool for presentations.
  • Promotional or marketing slideshows.
  • Travel guides and cookbooks.

Is SlideShare Free?

It’s completely free to view presentations on the SlideShare website and apps. It’s also free for all users to upload or create projects on the SlideShare website.

The SlideShare website does heavily promote LinkedIn Learning slideshows and courses. These are not free and require a monthly LinkedIn Learning subscription to access.

How SlideShare Login Works

While slideshows and presentations can be viewed without logging into SlideShare, an account is needed to leave comments, like slides, follow accounts, and download media.

LinkedIn SlideShare website.

SlideShare actually supports three different account options which can all be used via the Login link on the main SlideShare website.

  • Login with LinkedIn: This lets you log into SlideShare with your existing LinkedIn account.
  • Login with Facebook: This option allows you to use SlideShare with your Facebook account.
  • Login with your SlideShare account: This option is for those who still have an old SlideShare account from before LinkedIn purchased the brand back in 2012.
LinkedIn SlideShare website.

In general, logging into SlideShare with a LinkedIn account is recommended as the two services have become intermingled to the point that you’ll often find yourself on the LinkedIn website while using SlideShare.

How to Create a SlideShare New Account

If you select Signup on the main page or Signup for a SlideShare account from the Login page, it will actually prompt you to create a LinkedIn account, not a separate SlideShare account. This is completely intentional, as the creation of new SlideShare accounts are no longer supported for the average user.

LinkedIn SlideShare website.

An option to create a SlideShare account for a company or university is available, however, but all individuals are recommended to use LinkedIn.

Even if you’re a sole trader or a freelancer, you should still use SlideShare as an individual with a LinkedIn account. The company option is mainly intended for large corporations and organizations.

Is SlideShare Dead?

The SlideShare website and apps are technically all still active, but the service is no longer as popular as it used to be. Nowadays, it’s rarely seen as a primary focus for either individuals or companies with the majority of SlideShare’s most-popular presentations having been created several years ago and the website being used more to drive traffic to paid LinkedIn Learning courses rather than support user-created content.

LinkedIn Learning website.

The SlideShare apps also seem to be on their way out having only been updated once or twice a year since 2016.

One of the main reasons for SlideShare’s decline is the success of numerous rival online educational platforms like Lynda, which powers LinkedIn Learning, and Udemy. Unlike SlideShare, which is mostly restricted to basic free slideshows, these other services feature more multimedia functionality and also allow creators to earn money from their webinars and courses.

The increase in usage of cloud storage services, such as Google Drive, OneDrive, and Dropbox, which provide easy solutions for file sharing and viewing, have also likely had an effect on SlideShare user numbers, as has the continued popularity of YouTube, which many educators now use for free education channels, video tutorials, and online marketing.

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