Keynote: Create Stunning Presentations on the Move

Quite a while ago we did an article on Pages for the iPad and now we’re going to be taking a look at another program from the iWork suite — Keynote. Making high quality presentations are now a large part of many people’s lives, be it for work or school, and most of us will have had some experience that has required us to create and deliver a presentation. As a fan of Keynote on the Mac, I was eager to try out Keynote for the iPad and needless to say, it doesn’t disappoint. Read on for a more in-depth look at Keynote for iPad.

Getting Started

As with all iPad apps, downloading from the App Store is simple (Keynote costs $9.99, by the way), and within seconds you’ll have the app waiting for you on your home screen. Once you’ve opened Keynote, you’ll be greeted with a few slides that introduce you using Keynote on your iPad, as well as allowing you to set up Keynote with iCloud so you can sync your presentations across all of your Apple devices.

Getting started with Keynote is easy.

Getting started with Keynote is easy.

As a user who often likes to dive right in and start using software, the 24 “Getting Started” slides were rather annoying, but I’m glad I took the time to look through them so I knew exactly what I was doing. In any case, you can always skip them and get cracking.

Apple has really made the effort to include as many features in the iPad versions of iWork programs as possible in an attempt to make them an extension of the iWork suite you run on your Mac. The first version of Keynote for iPad received a lot of complaints for changing layouts, fonts and formatting when importing a presentation from the Mac to the iPad, but I didn’t experience any such problems in the latest version (1.6).

Creating a new presentation

When you want to start from scratch on your iPad, Keynote gives you the option of 12 default templates to choose from, which range from simple and professional looking white and black designs, to more colourful templates such as “Renaissance” or “Harmony.” Whilst there may be fewer templates than on the Mac version, it allows enough flexibility when creating presentations on the move.

Keynote comes with a number of templates

Keynote comes with a number of templates

Adding Content

Adding your own content to slides is, as you’d expect, nice and simple. Simply double tapping an area will allow you to add text, or tapping the Insert Icon button will allow you to place items such as tables, charts, photos and videos. An alternative method of adding photos is to double tap an existing photo, click Replace and add your own from your Camera roll or Photo album.

Adding photos, videos and more is quick and simple.

Adding photos, videos and more is quick and simple.

Adding charts and graphs is also relatively simple with Keynote, and you can even manipulate data within the app itself (much like you can within Pages for iPad). Tapping on a chart brings up an option to Edit Data, which in turn brings up the Edit Chart Data panel. Here you can update your figures, and once you hit Done, Keynote will update your chart for you.

You can edit charts easily within Keynote — there's no import function from Numbers, however.

You can edit charts easily within Keynote — there’s no import function from Numbers, however.

A handy feature that has been excluded here is the ability to import chart data from Spreadsheet programs such as Numbers. Before I started using Keynote for iPad, I fully expected that the iPad iWork suite would have had a greater degree of inter-compatability; alas, this is not the case.

While the current system is OK, there is no option to manipulate your data in detail as you can within a spreadsheet application. This is definitely an area that Apple needs to work on in the future.

Giving your work flair

While Keynote for iPad doesn’t come with all the animation bells and whistles that are present in the full Mac version, it does offer a wide enough selection such that your “on the move” presentations will never look dull or boring. Adding and ordering animations is simple; tapping your content and selecting Animate lets you choose from a number of different animations, and tapping Order lets you choose the sequence that your content is shown on the screen.

Keynote for iPad allows you to add numerous animations to your content.

Keynote for iPad allows you to add numerous animations to your content.

Manipulating your images and objects in theory should be easy, yet I found the whole touch process to be a little clunky. For example, when trying to manipulate multiple objects I often ended up zooming into the whole page rather than moving my objects around. However, this could potentially be a result of my preference for keyboard and mouse over touchscreen devices.

Sharing your Content

Without the ability to share the work you’ve created, Keynote for iPad wouldn’t be much use. Lucky then that there are a multitude of ways to share your presentations. You can email your work in either Keynote, PDF or PowerPoint format; print it; or upload it to different online services. At the moment, there seems to be no way to directly upload to Dropbox, but with automatic syncing to iCloud and all your other Apple devices, this wasn’t a huge issue for me.


While Keynote for iPad will not replace the Mac version, it’s a useful extension that allows you to update your work on the move or create good looking presentations anywhere. I feel it’s more useful for those users who have a desktop iMac rather than a MacBook or MacBook Pro, as I’d be more inclined to take my laptop with me and work on the full version straight up rather than taking my iPad. Of course, if an iPad is all you have with you, and you realise you need to make urgent updates, then Keynote for iPad is the program for you. What are your opinions of Keynote for iPad? Leave us your comments below.


Apple's presentation application for the iPad.