Grab the room’s attention by using Apple’s Keynote and dumping Microsoft’s PowerPoint

“Les Posen, Melbourne psychiatrist, Macintosh fan and expert in treating fear of flying (, read in a Microsoft bulletin somewhere that 30 million PowerPoint presentations occur every day,” Garry Barker writes for The Sydney Morning Herald. “No wonder the planet is in trouble. If, on average, each presentation lasts an hour, and each sends 10 people to sleep or stuns their minds with an overkill of multi-coloured pie charts and graphics that makes them think they have ridden a motorbike into a locust swarm, PowerPoint could be reducing world productivity by 300 million man-hours a day.”

“There is another way. It is called Keynote, now in its third version, part of Apple’s iWork ’06, paired with Pages, the layout and word processing application ($119) [US$79]. Keynote was developed for Apple and Pixar CEO Steve Jobs’ speeches, and has been available commercially for a couple of years,” Barker writes. “Keynote integrates with iMovie, iTunes, iPhoto and Garageband, and material from any of them can be dragged and dropped into any of the themes in the package. This is the age of pictures, audio, video and short attention spans. Most presenters are not designers and they need help. PowerPoint tends to offer the help directly by providing templates that you amend to suit. It is powerful enough, but showing its years. It is also complex and can be daunting. Keynote operates on the Jobs principle that less is more. Its themes are bright, professional and modern.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Want to know how to wow ’em? Easy, use Apple’s Keynote and not PowerPoint. Chances are that most of the room hasn’t seen a Keynote presentation and just by breaking out of the PowerPoint rut, you’ll perk up more than few pairs of tired eyes. More info about Apple’s Keynote application here.

Apple’s brand new iPod Hi-Fi speaker system. Home stereo. Reinvented. Available now for $349 with free shipping.
Apple’s new Mac mini. Intel Core, up to 4 times faster. Starting at just $599. Free shipping.
MacBook Pro. The first Mac notebook built upon Intel Core Duo with iLife ’06, Front Row and built-in iSight. Starting at $1999. Free shipping.
iMac. Twice as amazing — Intel Core Duo, iLife ’06, Front Row media experience, Apple Remote, built-in iSight. Starting at $1299. Free shipping.
iPod Radio Remote. Listen to FM radio on your iPod and control everything with a convenient wired remote. Just $49.
iPod. 15,000 songs. 25,000 photos. 150 hours of video. The new iPod. 30GB and 60GB models start at just $299. Free shipping.
Connect iPod to your television set with the iPod AV Cable. Just $19.

Related articles:
Apple’s Keynote makes better-looking presentations than Microsoft’s PowerPoint – December 06, 2004
Clean elegant Keynote: ‘the anti-PowerPoint’ – March 10, 2003
Keynote cleaner and better organized than PowerPoint – February 18, 2003
Bill Gates on Apple’s ‘Keynote’ app: ‘I doubt what they’ve done is as rich as PowerPoint’ – January 09, 2003


  1. I don’t think the business world has figured out yet how much a compelling presentation can generate more sales. If they did, they wouldn’t keep throwing 30 slides of ppt bullet points at me.

  2. That is so true. I had to use PP recently again and it was just a pain in the backside. You never find the feature you’re looking for and even if – it’s never working the way you want it to. Keynotes is so smooth… 😀

  3. At Andy:

    It does but don’t expect to see the slides move as nice. And the *.gifs I used worked with my PP but not the one on the lecturer’s windoze’s one. I actually said “shit” during that presentation because there was this white space and no molecule spinning around…

  4. I agree, the themes/templates provided in Keynote (in Pages and other iLife apps, too) are so professional looking and modern compared to the dreck in MS Office. And generally so much more enjoyable to use. no wonder you see so many bad powerpoint presentations. but that’s only part of the story – too many people simply don’t know what makes an effective presentation. Less really is more.

    but whether you use Powerpoint or Keynote, here are some good pointers on design

    – a GREAT resource on anything to do with presentation design
    Presentation Zen

    contrasting examples, “Gates, Jobs & the Zen aesthetic”
    (LOTS of other blog entries at presentationzen on the topic, too)

    and similarly here
    (follow the link to the Flikr photo gallery for more samples of how NOT to do it…)

    finally, a little dated but still useful tips on how to give a presentation
    The Problem with Presentations

  5. Heh, I design PPT presentations on a freelance basis, and it’s a miserable existence doing so. I’ve tried several times to get these stupid company CEOs to buy a PowerBook and do their presentations in Keynote (seriously, to a $15Bn/year company, what’s $2,500 for a computer and some software??), but they refuse. The joke of it all is that I bill them tremendous hours doing the PPT shows, and they _still_ turn out worse looking than my own presentations, where I exclusively use Keynote. I just gave one yesterday, and after the show, I had several folks drooling over what I’d been able to do and asking how PPT could make those shows.

    When a lowly college prof’s presentations blow away those by huge corporate CEOs, there’s something seriously wrong. But hey, at least I make lots of money since they stick with MS products. I guess that’s why the IT world like Windows so much ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  6. Yeah, the biggest problem with Keynote is all the work you have to do to dumb your presentation down so that it can be exported as a PowerPoint.

    Wish I could avoid that, but I have to turn them in as PowerPoints in order to satisfy college class requirements.

  7. I gave a presentation last week using Keynote. After the round of questions about the subject (animation), I got about 10 questions about my presentation.

    It was pretty funny… “How did you get the text to appear that way?”, “What PowerPoint setting is that?”, etc.
    I ended up showing about 6 people what you can do in Keynote and they were blown away with how easy it was and how clean the interface is. At first they didn’t believe you could do all that stuff because the Keynote interface is so sparse compared to PowerPoint.

  8. Anim8tr’s post sounds about right…

    I gave a presentation a couple weeks ago, and consciously copied SJ’s presentation style.. minimal text on the slides… big symbolic images.. very clean… Needless to say, it was a huge success.

    I didn’t go overboard with it, namely because i had to EXPORT to Powerpoint… since I don’t have an iBook. 🙁

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.