Keynote vs. Powerpoint

Keynote vs. PowerPoint

These days, presentations seem to focus more on impact and less on content. Industry leaders like Guy Kawasaki and Sheryl Sandberg have picked up where Steve Jobs left off. They’ve paved the way for groundbreaking thinking when it comes to energizing your audience with thought-provoking design. But those of us in the healthcare and medical communications world work under a different set of expectations.

There is a difference between a sales pitch and an informative presentation. It’s a unique challenge to condense 10 years of data into 20 slides that will adequately tell your story. Sometimes the 10/20/30 rule just doesn’t work. And is it just us, or does the idea of hunting down an IT guy at your next presentation to switch the monitor over to your ipad keep you up at night?

We’re going to let you in on a little secret. It’s OK to keep using PowerPoint. There’s nothing wrong with using a program that’s universal, compatible, and above all…comfortable. And guess what? 75% of the market share is still owned by PC users. It’s true, Macs are sleek and offer the best set of design tools, but there’s still a learning curve that scares many PC users away. But with today’s work force flooding with millennials, the Mac numbers are bound to catch up. Sooner or later, we may all be using Keynote. Here is an overview to help you understand the minute differences between the two.


PowerPoint is the leading software when it comes to user friendliness and compatibility, although Keynote does get an E for effort. Apple is known for designing user-friendy software and Keynote is no exception. Most of their features are based on Adobe programs, minimizing the learning curve and keeping PC users in their comfort zone. And the design tools in Keynote are similar to PowerPoint as well. But finding them is a whole different ballgame.

Keynote uses drop-down menus and tabs, which can make finding the options time consuming and frustrating for a PC user. Some options, such as ‘send to back’ and ‘flip horizontally’ can only be accessed by manually adding them to a customized toolbar. Overall, familiarity is always going to be the deciding factor when it comes to user-friendliness. PowerPoint has just been around longer and is used by more people.

PowerPoint’s age is what also makes it a more compatible program. Since more people are using PCs, your recipients are more likely to receive your file if you use PowerPoint. This can be crucial given the number of versions you can go through while negotiating content with your stakeholders.

Exporting Keynote to PowerPoint and PDF

Apple has a few tricks up its sleeve. You can save your Keynote files as PowerPoint files. (Just go to Share > Export and choose PowerPoint.) However, charts, figures, characters, and animations may break during the conversion process, meaning additional design and QC work post conversion. Time is the deciding factor. Post-conversion efforts could be the lesser of 2 evils if you are more comfortable creating the original content on a Mac. You can also save your keynote files as PDFs, using the same saving method. Of course animations and builds will create additional slides that might need to be deleted.


In terms of design, Keynote shows a clear advantage over PowerPoint. The overuse of PowerPoint’s themes and templates can make them seem outdated. Keynote’s 44 templates are just sleeker and more modern than PowerPoint. Keynote also supports alpha transparency, meaning you can pull an image off of its background, making it look as if the image is actually part of the presentation. In PPT you have to pull the image into another program, and save it out as a PNG to achieve this.

Keynote’s chart capabilities are a little more advanced than PowerPoint because you can use apple’s numbers program or Microsoft Excel to create your data and populate your chart. The animations are more extensive as well. Apple had today’s mobile-friendly world at the top of their mind when they provided user-friendly options like zoom or swipe. Plus Keynote is more media driven, allowing for smoother insertion of audio, video, and music files. PowerPoint is primarily used for data-based presentations. While you can insert audio, video, and music files, it’s not as smooth as Keynote. And Keynote presentations can easily be saved as YouTube videos or Quicktime slideshows.

Closing Thoughts

It all boils down to what you want to accomplish. Are you developing a presentation that will be used by your entire sales force? If so, then user friendliness and compatibility are probably your main goals and PowerPoint is the way to go. If you need a dynamic presentation that will sell your genius marketing plan to the key stakeholders then you should cash in on the wow factor that only Keynote’s sleek design tools can give you.

Which is better Keynote or Powerpoint?

The answer is whatever works best for you. At the end of the day, we all need to buy back minutes. If your mac skills need a bit of polish then stick with the PowerPoint that you know and love. But if you’re looking to learn something new and develop a presentation with a little more kick, the Keynote practice will pay off…we promise you.

Creative MediaWorks has been designing and formatting presentations for the healthcare community since before PowerPoint was even invented. Out of that discipline grew a team of experienced professionals who truly understand the art of creating and supporting effective presentations. We perform our PowerPoint to Keynote conversions with the highest-level quality checks, ensuring that your presentation displays properly on your iPad with all of your bells and whistles intact and functioning flawlessly. Contact us today to speak with our Creative Services manager about your next Keynote or PowerPoint presentation.