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Editing PowerPoint documents on an iPad

Joe Kissell | April 4, 2013
You love your iPad, and chances are good that you need to use Microsoft Office for work. You have lots of options for editing documents created in Microsoft Word and Excel on your iPad, but what about the third major component of Microsoft Office, PowerPoint?

You love your iPad, and chances are good that you need to use Microsoft Office for work. You have lots of options for editing documents created in Microsoft Word and Excel on your iPad, but what about the third major component of Microsoft Office, PowerPoint ()?

If you need only view a PowerPoint document, you can use almost any iOS app that displays documents (including Apples Mail and Safari). iOS can natively display, though not edit, PowerPoint (.ppt and .pptx) documentsbut it shows them as a continuous scroll rather than as individual slides. You also wont be able to see any animations, builds, transitions, or other special features. For displaying an existing PowerPoint presentation, a better choice is the free SlideShark app, which preserves most major PowerPoint features but still doesnt allow editing.

When you need to edit a PowerPoint presentation or create a new one from scratch, your alternatives fall into three main categories: Keynote, a third-party office suite, or a virtual copy of PowerPoint for Windows.

Use Keynote

Apples $10 Keynote for iOS () is a fine tool for creating, editing, and displaying presentations. This version doesnt have all the features of the desktop version of Keynote (), and if you import a presentation (whether created in Keynote on OS X or in PowerPoint), you may lose some important content. Say good-bye to fonts, transitions, and builds that arent available on the iPad, as well as audio and more. Even so, using Keynote is arguably the best way to edit a PowerPoint presentation on an iPad, because the app offers more powerful editing tools than any other native iPad presentation app does, and it has a better touchscreen interface than a virtual copy of Microsoft PowerPoint.


Keynote may be the best app for creating and editing presentations on an iPad, but its PowerPoint importing and exporting aren't perfect.

However, if you need to move a presentation back and forth between an iPad and a Mac or PC, where youll edit it using PowerPoint, Keynotes failure to preserve formatting may be a deal-breaker.

Use an office suite

The next option is to use an Office-compatible office-suite app. Five major contenders are available at the moment, and each offers at least minimal PowerPoint editing capabilities. All let you insert, duplicate, delete, and (with one exception) rearrange slides from imported PowerPoint presentations. And they all can play presentations, although without any builds, transitions, or animations.

Documents To Go Premium: DataVizs $17 Documents To Go Premium lets you edit only the text of imported PowerPoint presentations (including presenter notes); you cant alter formatting, layout, graphics, or any other visual attributes.

 

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