Keynote vs Powerpoint

26 Jun

Keynote vs PPT
Presentation applications are the most important item in your productivity suite. After all, this is what you will use to showcase yourself, your company and your brand to potential clients, investors, etc. The choices made for internal use can have an impact on company culture as well. Despite the importance of this decision, many jump straight to Powerpoint, without properly considering their options.

Stand Out

Making a presentation with Keynote makes you stand out. It shows you went the extra mile instead of reaching for the easiest solution. Do you really want to blend in with the crowd? Or would you prefer your boss, co-workers and clients recognize you for being unafraid to take risks, a true individual.

Use Video

Remember when the only option for capturing quality video was to have an expensive, dedicated device the size of Russia? It was either that or the crappy 30 second captures made with your digital camera.

Video has come a long way; nowadays you can record beautiful HD video with compact, inexpensive devices such as the Flip, or even with your iPhone! With a plethora of capture devices, there should be no excuse not to use video whenever you get a chance.

Keynote plays nice with your video files. A really great way to add some polish to a presentation is to use video in the background. Fade out the opacity and place your text or images on top. Go for a minimalist look. The examples below can get you started but use your own creativity as well.


A lot of people avoid animation altogether; why not just chop off a finger? Unfortunately animating slide transitions in Powerpoint is like pulling your hair out – one piece at a time. It’s a real pain. Doing anything or special just isn’t worth the time. In Keynote, it couldn’t be easier! Let’s look at the options:

First of all, you’ve got slide transitions. These include the 3d animations that we all recognize instantly as the hallmark of a Steve Jobs presentation. Think doorway, page flip and cube. A word of caution, however – use these sparingly. Nothing screams amateur like a presentation where every slide uses 3d animation. Use them for effect only when appropriate.

Next, we have build in/outs. Here you’ll find the standard fade, swipe, typewriter, etc. You’ll find these easier to work with in Keynote than in Powerpoint. Open the inspector, select the appropriate tab and you’re off to the races. Click more options if you want to control the timing or order of events.

Finally, magic move. This is a killer feature for Keynote. Put a bunch of objects on a slide; then put the same objects on your next slide. For a transition, select “magic move”. The items will automatically animate to their new position. You can do a lot of slick things with this. Here is the Apple training video, make sure to watch to the very end for some very cool (but professional) effects.

Sure it might be a little extra work, especially the first time, but you’ll get better as you go and it will only make you a more versatile person – more likely to get the client, job, promotion, etc. So go the extra mile and add some WOW to your next presentation.

Standing out? WOWing the client? Now that’s Extraordinary Marketing! Let me know how it goes in the comments.

An update concerning accessibility.  If you’re worried about displaying your Keynote presentation on a PC, export it as a Quicktime movie.  You can click through it like a regular presentation, view it full screen, and run it on any computer whether they have presentation software or not!


This is an old post.  You can find more recent writing at



5 Responses to “Keynote vs Powerpoint”

  1. Simon Morton June 28, 2010 at 1:55 AM #

    I have a lot of time for Keynote – it’s a great piece of software…

    That said, so is PowerPoint. Rather than use this forum to draw out-of-date comparisons that can be best summed up by saying “it’s an Apple product so it must be cool”, think deeper.

    PowerPoint 2010 now manages video better than Keynote. It handles animations as well if not better than Keynote. It manages graphics files better than Keynote.

    It’s not perfect but then neither is Keynote. Like I say, I like Keynote but simply because it comes in a smart white box doesn’t make it faultless (case in point – Keynote for the iPad is just plain poor).

    Finally it doesn’t matter which software package you choose – neither will work well for your audience if you don’t plan out the structure, content and messaging before firing up your PC/Mac. Fancy animations do not make for a good presentation – considered content designed for your audience does.

    Hope this helps balance the argument slightly…

  2. ATurnbull June 28, 2010 at 3:02 AM #

    Hey Simon, reaaally appreciate the comment; thanks for taking the time to drop in a contribution 🙂

    I’m actually going to start with your last thought, which I entirely agree with. In just about anything you do, whether it is a presentation, a commercial, or whatever – you have to consider your audience. To use a cooking analogy, having the biggest BBQ doesn’t mean you grill the best steaks. =)

    As for Powerpoint 2010, it is a huge and sorely needed step forward. It deals with video in a much better way, which is more and more becoming a must-have feature. Also, broadcast is killer if you are ever going to use webcasts. That being said – and if I’m wrong, please correct me – but you still can’t stack items on top of a video on one slide, correct? (I’m thinking of the video background) When I participated on SIFE Calgary’s tech team, this was actually the criteria that caused us to jump to Keynote.

    All things being considered, both are tools to get a job done; you pick the best for your need, your skillset and your audience. I participated in the ACE 2010 National Exposition in Calgary where teams really showcased the best of both breeds pushing both Powerpoint and Keynote to their limits. I do think it can be beneficial to try something new: the change in mindset that trying a Keynote presentation can have is an intangible benefit you gain even if you do go back to Powerpoint because it gets you away from the generic templates of yesteryear.

    Lastly, Simon, I took a look at your website – you guys do some great work! If you are ever thinking about expanding North of the border then let me know.
    BTW are you on Twitter?

    • Ulfilas July 21, 2010 at 6:32 AM #

      Actually the video in PowerPoint 2010 can absolutely be stacked with items on top – multiple videos on a page with effects applied – text over the whole thing. – BUT you can’t use a video background that spans multiple slides – which is a shame – a feature I was hoping to be there too.


  1. Twitted by ar_turnbull - June 25, 2010

    […] This post was Twitted by ar_turnbull […]

  2. Tweets that mention Keynote vs Powerpoint « T.H.E. Extraordinary Marketer -- - June 25, 2010

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mona Lisa and John Bloebaum, Andrew Turnbull. Andrew Turnbull said: Why you should use #keynote for your next presentation: video, animation; stand out: try & let me know how it goes! […]

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