Keynote for iPad is part of the iWork Office Suite for iPad, which aims to turn this tablet computer into a productivity tool for mobile professionals. Keynote allows you to create, edit, and share multimedia presentations with graphics, animations, and charts.
It is currently available in the Apple app store for $9.99.
You can import your own Keynote and Powerpoint presentations by tapping the file folder icon on the top right corner of the screen — that assumes that you’ve already copied the documents to your iPad by using the File Sharing feature in iTunes. You can also add documents via email attachment or by using one of the compatible online file services like SugarSync.
As with the other iWork mobile apps, you choose the document you want to work with by swiping left and right to see your available choices. Underneath each document you will see three icons; the first provides sharing options, the second allows you to create a new presentation a duplicate of the one currently selected, and the trash can obviously deletes the file. Sharing options include sending via email, uploading to iWork.com, or exporting the file to retrieve later on your computer via iTunes file sharing. The only export options are Keynote and PDF, so Microsoft Powerpoint users are out of luck.
Features and Performance
Keynote has all of the basic features you would expect from a mobile presentation app.
The controls are at the top right corner of the screen. The first of these is the Info button, which covers styles, text options and the back/front layer arrangement. If you select a photo or a chart and then tap the Info button, you will see all of the available style choices, such as adding a frame or border. For charts, those options include changing the chart type, the color palette, choosing whether you want to use gridlines, etc.
The Insert button is what you use to add all of the multimedia elements to your presentation, such as photos, tables, charts, and shapes. Those options are almost exactly the same as what you will find in both Pages and Numbers, with a few very small differences relating to borders and the like.
The Animation button comes next, and of course that’s the one that adds all of the magic to your presentation. When you select the object you want to manipulate and then tap the animation button, a two-sided box pops up that offers you the choice to “build in” or “build out” that particular object, in addition to 21 different options. You can cause text to bounce into place, explode, fly, squeeze, or any of several other options. When you choose each one, the action is immediately carried out, so you can decide if you like the effect or want to change it for another option.
The same button is used to set up the transitions you would like between each slide in your presentation. There are twenty different ones to choose from, with everything from twisting and twirling to mosaic, dissolve, and flip. There’s also a special “magic move” feature that allows you to move an object from one slide to the next, and it’s really slick and easy to use.
The tools menu is where you will access the find and replace feature go to the Apple web site in Safari for help, and turn on and off the edge guides and the spell check feature.
The last button is the play button which is, of course, the one you’ll use when you actually want to start your presentation and share it with others.
Like the other apps, you’ll find a lot of things just by playing around, since everything is context-sensitive. You can pinch and zoom to resize photos, use two fingers to rotate them, move them to another position, etc. Text boxes can be resized by dragging the blue handles, and if you double-tap a word you can access the cut/copy/paste function. The more option that pops up allows you to copy the style of a particular selection, which is very handy.
Performance is quite good; there weren’t any significant delays or slowdowns while using the app. The only thing I really had to wait for was when importing documents — some of the larger presentations seemed to take forever to import.
There were, however, a few problems with imports — the first presentation I tested was a native Keynote file, and it didn’t come through properly. Every single slide had a blank background with a large question mark in the center, even though one of the default templates had been used when the original was created. The Powerpoint version of that same file came through flawlessly, and when I deleted the Keynote file and tried again, it worked. It goes without saying that if you’re relying on this app for a business presentation while you’re on the road, you need to test it first to make sure that everything comes through OK.
In the files I tested, everything basically worked, though in a few cases the fonts were replaced because the iPad didn’t have an equivalent to a desktop font, and grouped objects were all automatically ungrouped.
The only major missing feature is that there is no way to add music to a presentation, which I would think should be a must — and very easy to do, since the iPad is a great music player and you’ve likely added all of your favorite tunes. It would be very easy to add this feature in the future, and I hope that it comes out with a future update of the app.