PowerPoint or Keynote: What Works Better for the iPad?

By Scott Schwertly

The powerhouses of presentation software, Microsoft and Apple, both have offerings for the iPad, making on-the-go creation easier than ever. But which interface is the best choice for you? Is one better than the other? Ethos3 is on the case.

PowerPoint Pros and Cons

Technically, PowerPoint “costs nothing,” although that “nothing” is defined by the yearly subscription to Office 365, which begins at $99.99 in the iTunes store. If you’re just hoping for presentation software, there is no way to un-bundle it from Word and Excel. Overall, the software is a reduced version of the desktop version.

For example, you can’t crop pictures, there are no templates (although they have 20 themes), no outline view, no compatibility with a Cloud network, and the list goes on. However, the interface is simple to use and intuitive, and in spite of its Microsoft heritage, it easily implements presentations from different locations. Since it is a part of a larger software, you may consider PowerPoint only if you wish you use other Office programs.

Pros: Easy interface, no hassle opening documents, beautiful themes, and comes bundled with other desirable Office programs.

Cons: Reduced features from the desktop version, no audio or video, no support for cloud storage, and is priced annually.

Keynote Pros and Cons

Priced at a massively reasonable $9.99 in the Apple store, Keynote for iPad was built to be intuitive and simple to use. It also incorporates features like animations, transitions, charts, tables, and graphs. You can even add a background track to your presentation, on top of the existing slick-looking templates that come with the program.

iCloud also makes it easy to share documents, although many reviews have reported trouble with opening native Keynote files. Also, if you want to import a chart from another iWork Office Suite program, you’ll have to buy that individual app for your iPad.

Pros: Intuitive features, includes audio, video, and animation, works with the iCloud, many themes, inexpensive, built for iPad.

Cons: Trouble opening native Keynote documents, importing documents can take a while, other iWork programs need to be purchased for use with Keynote, can’t display timeline for animations, can’t be run on Microsoft.

So…Which One?

Keynote for iPad functions nearly identically as Keynote for the regular desktop, whereas PowerPoint has seen a reduction in features, and most reviewers have taken notice.

Keynote is also known for ease of use, more so than the Office 365 suite; this is amplified by the fact that the App was developed by the device makers. Frankly, for the value and the simplicity of the interface, we recommend Keynote for iPad.

About the Author:

Scott Schwertly is the CEO and founder of Ethos3, a leading presentation design and training company.


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