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Wondering which presentation software is right for you?
In this comparison guide, we are going to compare two of the most popular presentation tools out there — Keynote and PowerPoint.
By the end of this post, you’ll know which presentation software works best for your needs. Choose the topic you like from the navigation below.
Ready? Let’s get started.
Keynote is a sleek and sophisticated presentation software for Apple users.
It’s available for free on both mobile and desktop, so all Mac, iPhone and iPad users can create presentations with it and share them across multiple devices.
In fact, the software comes built-in with Mac.
Keynote is packed with features like beautiful templates, animations, cinematic transitions, 2D and 3D charts, and more.
Microsoft PowerPoint is the world’s most famous presentation software.
It is also one of the oldest presentation tools around, which is why almost everyone who knows how to make a presentation is aware of it.
Unlike Keynote, PowerPoint is available for both Windows and Mac, although the Windows version is more robust than the Mac version.
And unlike Keynote, PowerPoint is not free. You can either purchase it independently or as part of a Microsoft 365 subscription.
Let’s take a look at the top advantages and disadvantages of Apple Keynote.
A big advantage of using Keynote is it comes built-in with several beautifully designed templates organized into categories like Basic, Minimal, Bold and others.
This means you don’t need to spend hours customizing the templates to make them look good. Most of them are ready-to-go with eye-catching color schemes, excellent font pairing, placeholder images and modern layouts.
If you’re an Apple user, you’ll find Keynote’s user interface familiar, easy-to-navigate and just overall cleaner than PowerPoint’s. The toolbar is less cluttered, and you don’t have to choose from a million options for everything.
You can say Keynote has fewer features than PowerPoint, but that’s actually a good thing. It helps you stay focused, and create a presentation that effectively conveys your message instead of coming out as a tangled web of animations and effects.
Lastly, the biggest advantage of Keynote is it’s completely free for Apple users.
This is especially useful if you’re looking for a no-frills software to create presentations, and you don’t want to pay for any additional features.
Also, Keynote comes built-in with your desktop Mac, so you don’t even need to worry about downloading it on your computer.
On the flip side, Keynote doesn’t let you export your presentations in as many formats as PowerPoint does.
However, you can still export your presentation in PPTX, PDF, HTML, Movie, GIF and image formats, which is enough for most users.
PowerPoint has an app for Mac, but Keynote doesn’t have one for Windows. That’s a bit disappointing, but we all know that Apple likes to keep its products “exclusive” to Apple users.
So, if you’re a Windows user, Keynote is not the ideal software for you.
If you’re a Windows user and you still want to use Keynote to create a presentation, you might not like it that much.
The user interface is very different from PowerPoint and other Microsoft products, and it might take a while for you to get the hang of it.
If you’re short on time, this might impact your productivity, so it’s best you stick to PowerPoint or find another easy-to-use presentation software.
Let’s take a look at the top advantages and disadvantages of Microsoft PowerPoint.
If you’re picky about the formatting of your presentations, and you want them to look super custom and unique, PowerPoint would be the perfect software for you.
The presentation software is jam-packed with all kinds of editing and formatting tools, from dozens of animation styles to data viz tools to color and font settings to slide settings.
With PowerPoint, you can really make your presentation look like anything you want, as long as you put in enough time and effort.
That’s the perk of being the most popular presentation software in the world — there are millions of PowerPoint templates, themes, plugins and integrations you can download from third-party websites.
If you search for it, you can find a PowerPoint presentation template for literally any use case — from business presentations to pitch decks to educational and personal slideshows.
The best part is that most of the PowerPoint templates you can find online are free to download and use.
Another big advantage of using PowerPoint is that it has a very familiar interface for Windows and Microsoft application users.
The ribbon toolbar is a crowd-favorite, for example. It’s structured the same way as the toolbar on Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel.
This high level of familiarity leads to higher productivity as you don’t need to spend any time learning how the tool works before you can get to the good stuff.
The biggest disadvantage of using PowerPoint is probably the fact that most PowerPoint presentations turn out looking similar to each other — and not in a good way.
In fact, PowerPoint presentations are known to look so boring that it has led people around the globe to coin the term “Death by PowerPoint.”
This is partly because most PowerPoint themes and templates are very basic-looking. They aren’t as modern and polished as Keynote templates, and may put your audience to sleep if you don’t get creative with them.
The concept of “Death by PowerPoint” also led to the creation of modern and more creative presentation tools, like Visme.
Yes — too many features can be a disadvantage, especially in the case of PowerPoint.
With so many animation styles and transition options at your fingertips, it’s easy to lose focus and end up with an over-the-top presentation that confuses your audience instead of getting the message across.
To really make the most of PowerPoint, you need to be careful with the type and frequency of animations and features you use, which can be difficult if you’re not a pro designer.
Unlike Keynote, PowerPoint is not a free presentation software.
It doesn’t come built-in with your PC, and it actually costs a lot if you plan on downloading it as an individual software.
This is a major deal breaker if you’re looking for a free presentation maker as a casual presenter or a student. If that’s the case, just know that PowerPoint is not for you.
Keynote and PowerPoint both offer excellent features to help you create, view and share presentations of all sorts and for various purposes.
However, there are some unique features that each tool offers that help differentiate it from the other. Read on to find out more about Keynote and PowerPoint features.
A cool feature of Keynote is it lets you easily tweak the opacity settings of an image or graphic object.
This is a useful feature for creative backgrounds, such as a faded image with text on top, as shown in the example above.
One of the best and most unique features of Keynote is the Magic Move slide transition.
If you’re using the same object on multiple slides, you can reposition the object on one slide and enable a smooth, almost magical transition of it from the previous slide.
Here’s how that would look like:
Pretty cool, right? The Magic Move feature lets you create sleek, polished presentations with seamless transitions between the slides.
If you’re using Keynote, you can easily sync your presentation with other Apple devices you own, such as an iPhone or an iPad.
This is a handy little feature if you want to access your presentation on both desktop and mobile without going through the hassle of transferring the file manually.
For example, you might want to continue editing your presentation on the move. Or, maybe you created a presentation on your phone but want to present it using your laptop.
One of PowerPoint’s useful features is the ability to extensively edit the Master slide of your presentation. You can also do that in Keynote, but the feature is not as robust as it is in PowerPoint.
For example, if you want to add your company logo to all slides, you can easily do so with PowerPoint's Master slide. In Keynote, though, you’ll need to add the logo manually to every slide.
PowerPoint’s graphics library lets you search for icons, stickers and even stock images right from inside your presentation editor. Of course, you need to have a Microsoft 365 subscription in order to browse the premium graphic assets.
This is a nice feature to have if you don’t have any images in your computer to upload. On Keynote, you can only upload images from your computer as there’s no stock image library connected to the web.
Last but not least, PowerPoint lets you save files as Read-Only, which means if you share your presentation with others, they won’t be able to edit it.
This is a nice feature to have if you want to protect the content or design of your presentation from being modified in any way.
Even though you can’t save your presentations as Read-Only in Keynote, you can password-protect them, which is also a great feature to have.
Both Keynote and PowerPoint offer dozens of built-in presentation themes and templates, and you can also find templates on third-party sites for both tools.
That said, there are some distinct differences between the templates offered by each presentation tool.
Keynote’s built-in presentation templates are generally better-looking and cleaner than the ones offered by PowerPoint. Plus, they’re categorized by design style and use cases, which makes it easier to find relevant templates quickly.
You can also download free and paid Keynote templates from various third-party websites, such as Envato and Creative Market.
PowerPoint’s template library also offers plenty of options to help you create presentations for virtually any use case.
These templates are more generic — you can call them “themes.” They’re not really made for any specific use case, and are actually pretty basic-looking.
That said, you can still customize them extensively using PowerPoint’s powerful formatting features.
Just like with Keynote, you can find millions of free and paid PowerPoint templates on various third-party websites.
Create an engaging presentation online quickly and easily by getting started with one of Visme’s professionally designed templates. Download as PDF or PPTX file, share the presentation online or embed it. Find a presentation template that your audience will love.
Let’s take a look at the pricing details of each presentation software.
Keynote is completely free for Apple users.
You can use it on your Mac, iPad and iPhone at zero cost. It comes built-in with your desktop Mac, but you need to download the app for your other devices.
Microsoft PowerPoint is not free, even for Windows users.
However, it does offer a free online version that you can download on any device, including on your phone.
If you’re buying PowerPoint as part of the Microsoft 365 suite, it will cost you around $6.99 per month. This comes with cloud storage and other apps, like Word and Excel, and the price varies with the number of users on your team.
You can also purchase PowerPoint on its own, but that will cost you around $139 and it doesn’t come with cloud storage.
When it comes to presenting online and offline, both Keynote and PowerPoint are somewhat similar.
You can download presentations as PPTX or PDF files using both software, and then share them online or via an external storage device to present offline.
You can also present them directly within the software by connecting to a projector or screen, and using the Slideshow or Presenter modes.
That said, there are a few differences between the two.
Keynote is an offline app available for both desktop and mobile.
While it offers cloud storage and lets you sync your presentations between devices, there’s no online version you can use to create or view presentations.
Unlike Keynote, PowerPoint offers an online version called PowerPoint Online. You can use it on any device, including as a Google Chrome extension or a mobile app.
Both tools offer limited teamwork and collaboration features. Here’s a detailed comparison of how each software stacks up in this area.
Keynote lets you invite other people to view and even edit your presentation in real-time. For this feature to work, you’ll need to set up your iCloud account.
Collaboration in PowerPoint works in the same way as it does in Keynote, except that you need to connect your software with OneDrive, not iCloud.
You can then share your presentation by emailing the link to specific people, and set permissions on whether they can view or edit it in real-time.
Both Keynote and PowerPoint are downloadable software, which means they let you store your presentations on your computer or any other device you’re working on.
Below is a detailed explanation for each presentation software.
Keynote lets you store your presentations on both your computer and on the cloud.
You can download your presentations in PDF, PPTX, PPT, HTML, image and video formats. To store your presentations on the cloud, you’ll need an iCloud account.
Similar to Keynote, you can download your PowerPoint presentations in various formats, such as PDF, PPTX, PPT, HTML and more to store on your computer.
You can also connect your software to OneDrive to enable cloud storage for your presentations.
Both software give you limited functionality to embed external content, such as videos.
In Keynote, there’s an option to insert web videos that allows you to embed videos from YouTube and Vimeo in your presentations.
Just like Keynote, you can embed videos from YouTube and Vimeo in your PowerPoint presentations. If you have a Microsoft 365 account, you can also embed videos from Microsoft Stream.
PowerPoint also lets you embed content from other Microsoft Office applications, such as charts and graphs from Excel. You can also embed content from any application that supports Object Linking and Embedding (OLE).
If you’re an Apple user, then yes — Keynote is probably better for you than PowerPoint.
Why? Because it’s free, comes built-in with your Mac, syncs with all your devices and has a nice, clean design-driven interface.
Also, Keynote has better templates and themes for various use cases.
But if you’re a Windows user, you’re better off with using PowerPoint. It has a familiar interface and ribbon toolbar, which makes it easier to create presentations fast.
Also, if you’re in a corporate setting where you need to share your presentation with other users and if your colleagues all use Microsoft Office, PowerPoint is a better choice because of superior compatibility and integration support.
But what if I told you there’s an even better presentation software out there than both Keynote and PowerPoint?
Say hello to Visme — an online presentation maker that works in your browser, and lets you create jaw-dropping presentations that are completely unique to your brand.
With Visme, you don’t need to worry about compatibility issues or creating a boring, traditional presentation that no one wants to watch.
You can create a visual masterpiece in minutes using a drag-and-drop editor, hundreds of professionally designed slides and templates, free graphic assets like 3D icons, shapes, illustrations, animated characters and more.
And the best part is — you can customize each and every thing with a single click to match your branding or design theme.
Other cool features of Visme’s presentation maker include:
Ready to create an engaging presentation and blow your audiences’ minds? Sign up for a free Visme account today and take it for a test drive!
Disclaimer: Information is accurate as of April 28, 2021.
Below, we have answered some of the most common questions about creating presentations with Keynote and PowerPoint.
Yes, you can. Keynote lets you open PowerPoint files. All you need to do is save your PowerPoint presentation as a PPTX file, and open it in Keynote to start converting it.
Beware of using 3D text, shapes and other PowerPoint-only features in your presentations as they might be supported in Keynote.
No. You can only use Keynote on Mac, iPhone and iPad.
There are several instances where you might want to use Keynote over PowerPoint, such as:
Make your Keynote presentation stand out by using visuals like images, icons and shapes. Use lots of white space and less text to prevent your slides from looking cluttered.
Also, visualize data with the help of interactive or 3D charts and graphs, instead of adding tables and numbers. Another tip is to add engaging content like videos and audio to your presentation.
Keynote offers the ability to upload audio files from your computer or record audio directly within the app.
The best Keynote template depends on your unique needs, audience and use case. You can search for the best Keynote template for your needs in the built-in options within the software, or on third-party websites like Envato and Creative Market.
You can add pictures to a Keynote presentation by uploading images from your computer or mobile device.
While there are many great presentation software out there, Visme is the best option for all kinds of business, educational and personal purposes.
Visme templates are professionally designed and unique, and you can find the perfect template for nearly any use case.
You can also create presentations online in your browser, access millions of free design assets, add seamless animations and transitions, collaborate with your team, upload your Brand Kit, download and share in multiple ways, and much more.