How to create a PowerPoint presentation on iPad

Make the most of your commute or long-haul flight by putting your iPad to work. Follow these tips to create a great PowerPoint presentation on your iPad.

iPads are great for many things – watching movies; sketching; messaging – but creating PowerPoint presentations? What sort of a madman would attempt such a thing? One who’s pressed for time and wants to make the most of their commute, that’s who. Or one who finds that their best ideas come to them in the bath and wishes to start assembling slides the moment the inspiration comes to them. We’re not going to suggest that you should use your iPad in the bath, be it for creating PowerPoint slides or any other purpose. Still, if you had to use it while bathing, we’ll wager it would be safer than taking the laptop in with you.

iPad bath

PowerPoint for iPad

Due to the compactness and portability of the iPad, and indeed of tablet devices in general, it’s ideal for taking care of business on the go, be it responding to emails or viewing presentations. But what about when it comes to creating them? Can you really expect to create something to a professional standard when using nothing more than your iPad? Not only can you create a PowerPoint on an iPad, but you can deliver it too, and to a high standard as well. As a result, it’s possible to fly long-haul to a conference on the other side of the world, for example, armed with little more than your iPad and some good ideas. You might want to pack a changes of clothes too, and possibly some toiletries, but in terms of hardware, an iPad is all you need.

How to create a Powerpoint on iPad

There are loads of iPads on the market now – too many to list, other than to note that they come in all sizes and colours. For enterprise purposes, an iPad Pro will serve you best, although it’s possible to get by with a smaller and lower powered model. By default, Apple products ship with Keynote and, while it’s possible to create passable slideshows using Apple’s presentation software before exporting them to PowerPoint, it’s not ideal. For one thing, you may find that typefaces inexplicably grow, transitions speed up and other effects are lost altogether. Thus, it makes sense to stick with PowerPoint if you can. The PowerPoint for iPad app is free to install and enables you to view presentations. If you want to create and edit them however you’ll need an Office 365 subscription.

If you’re finishing off a presentation that you started in the office, or are basing your slideshow around a template design you’ve previously saved, it helps to have iCloud set up. PowerPoint presentations can get large and unwieldy by the time you’ve dropped in various multimedia and have assembled two dozen image-heavy slides. No one wants to be forced to fiddling around trying to compress files and then get them to attach to an email, especially if you’re in a country or a hotel with a dodgy WiFi connection. It’s at times like these that iCloud is your saviour.

If you’re using the PowerPoint for iPad app the process should be straightforward; it’s easy to assemble professional looking slides with little more than a few swipes and the odd drag and drop. Okay, so the process isn’t as easy as it is with a desktop computer and a mouse to control proceedings, but Microsoft have done a good job of distilling PowerPoint’s most useful features into a format that works well on iPad and makes the most of the touchscreen format. No, you don’t have the full suite of tools and options as you’ll find on desktop, but there’s more than enough here to create a presentation that will pass muster, even for corporate settings where prefacing your address by apologising “Soz, I had to build this on my iPad in the back of a taxi coming here” simply won’t cut it.

How to place a PowerPoint presentation on an iPad

More often than not you will have created your PowerPoint on a PC or Mac but would like to deliver it on an iPad (or at least the option). So this is how you go about transferring your newly assembled PowerPoint onto an iPad.

Using your OneDrive account:

  1. Upload your chosen presentation to your OneDrive account from your computer.
  2. On the iPad sign in to your Microsoft account in PowerPoint.
  3. Select Open, OneDrive and drag down the pane to refresh.
  4. Select your file and it will download onto the iPad then open, how long this will take is dependent on file size and wi-fi connection.

Using iTunes:

  1. Plug the iPad into the computer and open iTunes.
  2. Select the iPad in the top navigation and then go to Apps in the drop down menu.
  3. Scroll down to the bottom where you will find a list of apps that you can add files to.
  4. Select PowerPoint on the left.
  5. You can add files through the iTunes buttons or drag and drop a file into the space from your computer.
  6. Once it has completed copying the file, eject the iPad and you will be able to open the file through the PowerPoint app.

How to deliver a PowerPoint presentation on iPad

One of the best things about the PowerPoint for iPad app is that when you’re done, it’s really easy to share your slides. You can sync them with OneDrive, Dropbox or iCloud or you can invite people to view them by entering an email address, providing a shareable link or sending them as an attachment. When it comes to delivering your slideshow to an audience, not only can you do so via your iPad, but you can control all the action with your Apple Watch, using it to start the slideshow and then navigate through each slide. While only the most dedicated of Apple fanboys will take this approach, it’s nice to know you have the option at least.

A more practical option is to wirelessly project your content from your iPad to the large screen using AirPlay. If you don’t have AirPlay, or simply don’t trust wireless not to give up the ghost halfway through, you can always hook up your iPad the traditional way using VGA or HDMI. A couple of quick tips though before you step up and prepare to share your iPad presentation with the world: either arrive early enough to allow ample time to check everything’s working and eliminate any gremlins determined to throw a spanner in the works, or run through everything at home, so you know how to connect your iPad and you know that you have the right cables and adapters. Finally, set auto-lock to Never to prevent your iPad going to sleep just as you get to the climax of your presentation. When your audience or your iPad start nodding off, that’s when you know you’re in trouble.

So there you have it: if your laptop dies or it isn’t practical to travel with it, then don’t. The PowerPoint for iPad app is robust enough to handle everything that’s asked of it and thanks to the ease with which content can be synced and shared, it’s easy to get your presentation off your tablet and onto the screens of the audience it’s intended for. We wouldn’t want to work exclusively on an iPad, but on those occasions when your trusty desktop isn’t at hand, you can count on your iPad to save the day. Just try not to drop it in the bath.

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