Microsoft PowerPoint for iPad
Keynote remains the leading presentation app for the iPad, but PowerPoint isnt far behind. You probably wont buy an Office 365 subscription just to get it, but if you buy a subscription to use Word or Excel, PowerPoint is well worth having. By Edward Mendelson
Word processors and spreadsheets are a lot easier to manage on a computer with a full-sized keyboard and mouse, but presentations turn out to be almost ideal for a tablet—especially a quick and powerful one like the iPad Air. Microsoft PowerPoint for the iPad (free) is a pleasure to use, fast and responsive, well-adapted to a touch interface, and generally in the same league with Apples Keynote, though Keynote outclasses PowerPoint in features and flexibility on Apples tablet. Youll need a subscription to Office 365 to get all the power of PowerPoint for iPad—and suite-mates Wordand Excel for iPad. For most consumers this will typically run you about $99 per year.
Less PowerfulPointPowerPoint, like the other Office for iPad apps, offers a reduced version of the the desktop PowerPoint feature set. The most annoying omission is the ability to crop pictures. You can resize pictures on the iPad app, but you cant crop them, so make sure to install a photo editor like the freeware Snapseed on your iPad before going on the road with PowerPoint. The iPad version of PowerPoint lets you perform all basic actions such as creating a new slideshow, rearranging slides, and creating and changing transitions. You can select a theme for a new slideshow, but, oddly, you cant replace the theme of an existing one.
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Transitions only apply to a complete slide, not to specific elements in a slide, but you get easy access to each transitions options from the toolbar. You cant import a video into a slide—only a table, picture, shape, or text box. Keynote for iOS doesnt have either restriction—and neither does the desktop version of PowerPoint. The virtual keyboard—normally an annoyance compared to a physical keyboard—may actually make you a better presenter by forcing you to use fewer words because its inconvenient to type more, and the best presentations use the fewest words.
Better With LasersPresentation tools include the usual pen and highlighter, plus a laser pointer tool that switches on when you press and hold on a slide. The laser pointer is a glowing red dot that follows your fingertip as you move it around the slide, so, to anyone watching the presentation via a projector, it looks as if youre aiming a real laser pointer at the screen.
You can open a whiteboard to add notes or comments while presenting. As youd expect, its easy to present on the iPad itself, swiping each slide to get to the next.You can use AirPlay to present on a larger display, butyoull have to set it up in the iPads settings, not directly fromPowerPoint.
PowerPoint for iPad more closely resembles PowerPoint 2013 for Windows that PowerPoint 2011 for OS X, and that means it doesnt have one of the OS X versions most spectacular features, a 3-D display of the layers in a slide so you can maneuver them forward or backward easily. It would probably be overkill to get a feature like this on an iPad, but, once youve used it on a Mac, youll wish you had it everywhere.
Good, not GreatIf youre an Office veteran, you wont regret using PowerPoint to create and show slides on an iPad. Theres nothing wrong with it, but in competing against Keynote, its competing against one of the greatest graphics apps ever written.
Not only is Keynote great, but its also cheap. Keynote is available free with all new iOS devices, and costs only $10 for old ones, while PowerPoint requires a pricey Office 365 subscription if you want to actually edit presentations. If you bought Office 365 for Word or Excel, you wont be disappointed in PowerPoint for iPad. But if youre only in the market for a presentation app, nothing tops Keynote, which remains our Editors Choice for iPad presentation apps.
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