Keynote vs PowerPoint: Which is The Best Presentation Design Software? (The Complete, Unbiased Review)

A PowerPoint or Keynote comparison to help you choose the best presentation software for your needs.

Charts. Graphs. And everything presentation software. When Forethought’s Dennis Austin and Robert Gaskins coded “Presentation” for Macintosh computers in August 1984, little did they know PowerPoint would dominate the presentation software market share for over 25 years. Long before the first “PowerPoint or Keynote” debate would come up.

The goal was to empower corporate workers, students, event organizers, and their audiences to visualize oral presentations, making them more memorable, articulate and concise.

And that’s what Microsoft had helped PowerPoint users accomplish since August 1987 when it bought Forethought out—PPT included.  

However, advances in the technology have over time swayed chunks of PowerPoint users to Apple’s iWork solution, Keynote.

 

PowerPoint vs Keynote

But does Keynote make the best PowerPoint alternative out there or is Microsoft’s presentation design program still the top choice?

To rest the Keynote vs PowerPoint deliberation, you’d need to lay out each one’s strengths as well as shortcomings.

That way, you know what to expect from each live presentation program and what each can do to help you fulfill your presentation design needs without wasting precious time and jabbing your reputation.

Shall we?

 

PowerPoint (PPT)

 

powerpoint-presentation-design

Currently the most popular presentation software, PowerPoint ships as a standard solution within the Microsoft Office Suite. Microsoft has also made strides to make the program accessible on the fly by ingraining it in the cloud-based suite Office 365 as well as a stand-alone app for mobile devices.

PowerPoint is uber-popular for several reasons.

 

Pros and Cons of PPT

PowerPoint Advantages:

Powerpoint-layout

  • Most common program and is easy to use, probably because many people have used it since school days. PPT users can drag-and-drop slides to reorder them as well as use keystrokes to move slides while maintaining eye-contact with your audience
  • Toolbar shortcuts make it easy to customize and speed workflow for PPT advanced users
  • PowerPoint features support for almost all platforms: PC, web, Mac, IOS, Android, and of course, Windows Phone OS
  • Largest offering of presentation design templates, themes, animations and effects in over 40 categories. For example, PowerPoint offers 122 standard templates for Presentations, 219 for Business, 249 under Education, and 71 under the Themes category.
  • Users can add photos, online videos, and create seamless transitions to PPT files
  • PowerPoint will export and import most file types you need to inject power and pizzazz into your presentations including .wmv, .pdf, .rtf, .xps, .jpg and .mp4 files
  • Its large user base has over time encouraged third-party providers to offer custom training, templates, integrations, support, and other complimentary PowerPoint services.
  • Microsoft also provides support and sustained updates for the program
  • PowerPoint is the most compatible presentation software with third-party visualization software, at least compared to Keynote and Google Slides
  • Supports real-time collaborations–commenting and co-authoring for teams
  • Through cloud-based Office 365, users can save PowerPoint presentations to the cloud, allowing them to access them from anywhere on the go, with any internet-connected device

However, PowerPoint is not squeaky clean.

 

PowerPoint Disadvantages:       

  • Compared to Keynote (and Google Slides), collaborating on PowerPoint is not as seamless. You have to save the PowerPoint file in OneDrive and then invite your team over before you can work on it together
  • A portion of users feel the colossal PPT features list adds bloatware to the program, making it “heavy” leading to preferences for “cleaner, leaner and fresher” Keynote
  • Transitions in PPT are not the smoothest compared to top PowerPoint alternatives like Keynote and Google Slides

 

Keynote

keynote-presentation-on-mac

The presentation solution came to exist not too long ago and has since helped power Apple Keynote Events, Mac presentation software as well as IOS. Apple products’ enthusiasts praise Keynote for its fresh user-interface and perceive it to be more innovative than Microsoft’s presentation software.

But is it?

 

Pros and Cons of Keynote

Keynote Advantages:

  • Keynote features a decidedly cleaner catalog of presentation templates, themes, and stylish design(s) which appeals to people that feel PPT can be overwhelming, making it easy to learn and use
  • It offers a top-notch selection of animations, transitions, effects, audio and video options that are more seamless compared to PPT
  • You can easily export Keynote files for YouTube conversion as QuickTime files
  • Thanks to Apple’s Keynote Remote feature, you can use the program on the fly using an iPad, iPhone or iPod via an iCloud account
  • Besides, with an Apple iCloud Account, you can upload and save Keynote files to the cloud. From there you can invite others to collaborate on the presentation preparation provided they are also working within the Apple ecosystem.
  • If working with others who have or prefer to work with PowerPoint presentations, Keynote exports files in several popular formats including .pptx, .mov, .pdf, HTML and QuickTime files. PC users can open and even modify what you send them
  • You can invite your audience to watch the presentation via the web if you do not have a projector or do not need to buy one—unlike PPT where you need a PC and projector to present
  • It feels more intuitive to crop images with Keynote than with PowerPoint
  • When using an iPad, you can add hand-written notes, illustrations and custom colors to create even more personalized presentations

Despite its visual and functional appeal, Keynote is not perfect either.

 

Keynote Disadvantages:

  • PowerPoint users switching to Keynote may have to endure a steeper learning curve than the other way around
  • Compatibility issues: Only Mac users can create presentations in Keynote. And that can limit the number of people you can collaborate on a presentation with. However, Apple has made some improvements recently, which we will delve into below
  • Still, the incompatibility issue makes Keynote less popular as an ideal presentation design solution
  • Keynote may not be as robust a data visualization program to some as PowerPoint which enjoys the fully-compatible backup of Microsoft Excel. PPT also offers less hassle when you want to use text distortion and 3D positioning for charts
  • Keynote can be restrictive when it comes to stretching images which is predictable when running them in PowerPoint

 

PowerPoint vs. Keynote: Live Presentation Software Usage

Keynote or PowerPoint usage statistics and market share are scanty to find. But in 2009, a Forrester study documented Microsoft PowerPoint had a staggering 95% share of the presentation software market.

 

But online Slideshare software and collaborative PowerPoint alternatives such as Keynote, Ludus, and Google Slides were yet to come out.

Prezi launched the same year. Currently, the online presentation software provider claims to have over 100 million registered users. But only about 8,000 of Prezi users are corporate customers.

However, Apple has bundled Keynote into new, shipping Macs since October 2013 while PowerPoint is installed in over 1 billion PCs worldwide half of which are estimated to be actively using PPT.

According to G2 Crowd, more corporate users prefer to use PowerPoint for business compared to Keynote as shown below:

stats-ppt-vs-keynote

PowerPoint vs Keynote: 271 reviewers prefer Keynote for professional presentations compared to 1,306 reviewers that prefer PowerPoint

 

Presentation Design Supporting Software

As discussed earlier, neither PowerPoint or Keynote is perfect, especially when it comes to creating graphics, photos, audio, and other objects to add zing and clarity to your presentation. So, what excellent presentation design tools can you use for that?

Here are some of the best presentation design tools.

  1. Canva

Canva is a comprehensive graphics design software provider. You can use Canva presentation templates to create refreshing PowerPoint or Keynote presentations. Besides, Canva has a font, photo-editing and color palette tools to help presenters create outstanding presentation graphics.  

  1. LiveSlides

With LiveSlides you can insert live web feeds into your presentation. The tool is available as an add-in for Keynote and PowerPoint. You can download and insert into your presentations to interact with your audience via Twitter feeds, engage them by embedding YouTube video, and even embed any website into PPT or Keynote slides.  

  1. Sketch

The company helps presenters to create authentic, memorable and modifiable presentations as a design toolkit. Sketch can also be used to prototype ideas into interactive designs. Users can also invite teams to collaborate on a design before exporting the file to PowerPoint or Keynote.

  1. Plotly

Want a presentation design app for displaying charts and graphs in Keynote or PowerPoint?

Plotly is a white-label data visualization tool designed to help executives, data scientists, customers and designers work in collaboration, and showcase their data in graphs—without any need for coding experience     

  1. Calligraphr

This Google Fonts alternative may be a good fit for you if you want to create custom presentation designs in the form of calligraphic works. With Calligraphr, you can download a template, modify it using your handwriting, and then convert it into a personalized font you can use with PowerPoint or Keynote.

 

PPT Format Compatibility with MacBook

One of the most frequently asked questions is whether a PC created PowerPoint file can run on a MacBook and vice versa.

Well, before the release of Windows 2007, PowerPoint for both Windows (2007) and Mac (2008) saved the presentation program’s files in .ppt format. Since then, both save PPT files in .pptx formats.

Still, both are not seamlessly compatible. Even trying to view a PowerPoint file on a PC—which was created on a Mac—scrambles the font and layout. Keynote also doesn’t support Visual Basic.

Moreover, converted files tend to have inaccurate timelines for animations. One way to solve such an issue is to find the best Windows compatible fonts for Mac and using those.          

As far as collaboration goes, Apple recommends uploading the file to iCloud or Box; other team members can then log into their respective accounts using PC web browsers so they can access the presentations you made in Keynote.

The Cupertino tech giant also put up a comprehensive Keynote/PowerPoint conversion checklist so you can find out what features Macs and IOS devices will maintain as you intended and which ones could distort.   

Another way to find in-depth presentation software insights to help you address issues such as compatibility and customization options is to see the best presentation design books around.

 

5 Bestselling Presentation Design Books to Learn from Now

 

1.     Presentation Zen Design: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery

Garr Reynold’s 2007 presentation design staple teaches how people aren’t wired to listen while simultaneously reading blocks of text spewing out of a projector. Learn how to appeal to the six senses and make outstanding presentations: design, symphony, story, empathy, meaning and play. And then he teaches you how to do it. The 2009 edition explains how to use multimedia and video in your presentations.

 

2.     Slide:Ology: The Art And Science of Creating Great Presentations

Nancy Duarte leaves no presentation stones unturned here. She spills the type of presentation design techniques she used with her firm to catapult Al Gore’s film, An Inconvenient Truth, to Oscar-winning glory. Expect to grasp the fundamentals of turning ideas into brilliant graphics, as well as diagramming and sketching techniques to win your audience.

 

3.     The Visual Display of Quantitative Information

Sip it all in as Edward R, Tufte spews presentation design wisdom in this industry textbook. Not only does he make it clear block upon block of text kill the audience’s concentration, but he also explains step by step about how to integrate brilliant graphics, captions, data, legends into presentations to win your audience’s trust and undivided attention.      

 

4.     Visual Meetings: How Graphics, Sticky Notes, and Idea Mapping Can Transform Group Productivity

Whichever industry you are in, David Sibbet’s Visual Meetings will jog you towards using new presentation design and technologies to rejuvenate your presentations. He goes into detail about how you can use new media to create business success. Expect graphics recording, storyboarding, idea mapping, and graphics templates illumination by the time you are through.

 

5.     Beyond Bullet Points: Using Microsoft PowerPoint to Create Presentations that Inform, Motivate and Inspire

Resonating is the freeway to your audience’s minds and hearts. You want to present with razor-sharp focus, engage with confidence and communicate with clarity. Cliff Atkinson shares his collection of old-gold communication techniques and how to blend them into your PowerPoint presentation designs and delivery with resounding success.

Lame presentations inspire walkouts while powerful ones inspire action and command the room with clarity and pizzazz. With these books, you can learn what makes people tick, the anatomy of phenomenal presentations, and how to use modern presentation design software powerfully and effectively.

You can still follow the most powerful presentation design influencers to learn even more elaborately how to inject zing and nurture support in your presentations.

 

And who are these authoritative presentation design social media influencers to inspire you?

 

  1. Sondora SA

Find out how to get your presentations design mojo back. Learn from Sondora how to benefit from fresh and refined motion graphics, virtual and augmented reality creations that turn boring slides into lively, clear and seductive presentations. 

 

  1. Garr Reynolds

With over three presentation design books under his breathe—all acclaimed classics—Garr will inspire your creative buds to come up with authentic, resonating and actionable presentation ideas.

 

  1. Nancy Duarte

Nancy is also an accomplished presentation design geek who speaks lives what she teaches. She’ll show you to use presentation tools and new media to rock any target audiences.

 

  1. Cosmin Capitanu

The urban planner and freelance graphics designer’s work is only worth seeing, so:

Cosmin Capitanu

 

  1. Leo Leung

Fresh from Hangzhou, China, Leo’s specialty is in motion graphics and brand design, perfect presentation designs to incorporate into your modish PowerPoint or Keynote files.

presentations-Leo-Leung

 

  1. Shawna X

Exemplary creations on and offline make it easy to understand how Shawna has worked with Fortune 500 companies like Nike and Adobe to create genuinely exceptional illustration and visual designs.

 

  1. Velvet Spectrum

Discover how over 85,600 followers found themselves in the velvety spectrum. Original. Bold. Concise. Words to live by.

 

Conclusion

A great Keynote or PowerPoint presentation design can help you educate with authority and clarity, engage with confidence and punch, and entertain in one swoop. The result is a successful presentation that is not only memorable to the audience but one that encourages action, whatever your call to action.

A presentation is both an art and technical science you’ll want to master if you are to craft great slides that compel effortlessly and affordable without tossing your reputation to the curb.

 

This Presentation Design Agency in Switzerland Can Help

Sondora is your one-stop PowerPoint presentation design agency. You can also visualize out your wildest Keynote presentation design needs, and Sondora will work them to reality without you lifting a finger.

Expect a team of fresh talents and experienced presentation designers ready to help you inject life into your presentation software. Whatever your needs: motion graphics, virtual reality, augmented reality, or custom illustration and branding design.

Hit contact and see for yourself. 

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