iPads & PowerPoint

This note looks at the options for using existing PowerPoint presentations on an iPad or iPhone4.

Presentation software on the iPad

For most people presentation software equals PowerPoint. Unfortunately PowerPoint is not available for the iPad. Apple’s nearest equivalent is Keynote, which is part of the iWork business suite and is also available for the Apple MAC. Keynote is a powerful presentation package in its own right and has the added advantage of being able to read PowerPoint files

However, PowerPoint has some features that are not available in Keynote (and vice versa) and so when a PowerPoint presentation is imported to KeyNote what you get out is not necessarily the same as what you put in.

Importing a PowerPoint presentation into Keynote

The usual ways of getting a PowerPoint presentation onto an iPad are: by using the Mail App on the iPad, by using iTunes, or with a WebDAV server.

If the Mail App on the iPad has been set up you can send yourself the PowerPoint file as an attachment and then open it in Keynote which will import automatically.

Alternatively, you can use iTunes to import files. Connect the iPad to a PC or MAC with iTunes installed. Click on the device in iTunes, choose APPS from the menu and scroll down to Keynote. From here you can add a PowerPoint file.

When the file is imported into Keynote it will advise if elements of the presentation have been changed or lost.

Issues with Video Files

Many PowerPoint presentations include video. The most common format for these files is WMV where the ‘W’ stands for Windows. The iPad cannot read these files and requires them to be converted to a different video format.

There are many utilities available that can do this; one solution that does not require any software to be installed is the online video convertor at http://www.online-convert.com. This site will convert files to many different formats including MP4 which is a suitable choice for the iPad. The site is free to use at the time of writing. The created MP4 file cannot then be used in PowerPoint on Windows PCs (It will work on PowerPoint on a MAC). To enable a PC to be able to use an MP4 file you can install QuickTime from Apple onto the PC. The file can then be used in PowerPoint in Windows.

Once the file is created you can send it to the iPad using iTunes. You will need to select Photos from the menu, choose the folder containing your file and tick the box ’Include Videos’. When the video is in the iPad you can add it to Keynote.

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