Presenting a PowerPoint from your iPad can result in a more natural and interactive presentation, allowing you walk around, switch between applications, write notes or do white-boarding, and go back to your core presentation.
Getting your PowerPoint on your iPad
My three “choice” apps to have in your toolbox show PowerPoint presentations on the iPad are PowerPoint (available since March 28, 2014), Keynote and SlideShark. There are pros and cons to all three.
PowerPoint is a good choice, but since it is so new, it still lacks a couple key features. It definitely converts the best (because there is no conversion) and offers a large font set and quite a few features. The shortfalls that I immediately noticed were (1) lack of object & text animations, (2) no support for audio AND video, (3) lack of Dropbox integration, and (3) no “presenter view” to see valuable speaker notes. Additionally, in order to edit PowerPoint, you must purchase a Microsoft Office 365 subscription.
Keynote is Apple's answer to PowerPoint. It has been around a long time and is a must-have app. Once your PowerPoint is converted to Keynote, Keynote is going to give you the ability to (1) make edits, and (2) show the presentation. Unlike PowerPoint, it does allow you to animation to objects/text, and it supports video (although it requires that you re-insert video and audio into the Keynote presentation because they are lost in the conversion). The downside is that it the conversion isn't always perfect. I'd give it a B. This requires that you make some aesthetic tweaks and fixes to the presentation.
SlideShark (www.slideshark.com – free) is an app that will convert the PowerPoint to a SlideShark format and then allow you to play/show the slides through the SlideShark app. It converts the PowerPoint very well, including video and audio, and preserving fonts and animations extremely well. I'd give it an B+ on the conversion. SlideShark also has a fantastic presenter view that allows you to easily see your notes and upcoming slides very similar to PowerPoint's presenter view. The latest version allows you to annotate slides during the presentation.
The downside to SlideShark is that you cannot make edits to the slide show from the iPad. You can hide slides or re-arrange them, but you can’t make edits beyond that. You have to make changes in PowerPoint and then re-convert/upload the PowerPoint. With large presentations and low bandwidth, this can take 20-30 minutes.
The easiest way to get a PowerPoint on to the iPad in the PowerPoint app is to import it through OneDrive, Dropbox, Email. In whichever method, when you tap on the PowerPoint file, select Open In and select PowerPoint. Once in PowerPoint, the file will be stored locally on your iPad until you delete it, and the only cloud storage location where you can save is OneDrive.
The easiest way to convert a PowerPoint to Keynote and load it in your iPad is through Dropbox or Email. In either case, when you tap on the PowerPoint file, select Open In and select Keynote. Once in Keynote, the file will be stored locally on your iPad until you delete it.
Go to www.slideshark.com and set up a free account. This will also set up a needed cloud storage area for your presentation, which you can link to Dropbox, Box, Google Drive or Syncplicity. Once the account is created, login and upload your finished PowerPoint. During the upload process, SlideShark will convert your PowerPoint and store it in your private SlideShark storage area.
Next, from your iPad, go to the App Store and download / install the SlideShark app. Launch the app and enter your login credentials. Once logged in, you will have the ability to download from the SlideShark cloud all your converted presentations. Select the presentation and hit the green play button.
Editor's Note: If you want your PowerPoint presentations to be as interesting and persuasive as possible, order and read Paul Unger's new ABA book, PowerPoint in One Hour for Lawyers.