Keynote (for iPhone)

You probably wouldn’t want or expect to create a presentation on your cell phone, but in case you ever needed to, rest assured that Apple’s Keynote for iPhone can do the job with aplomb. Like the other members of the iWork for iPhone suite, Keynote not only impresses with its elegant interface, but it is also surprisingly capable at creating compelling presentations, which you can save as PowerPoint, PDF, or Keynote desktop files. The app even offers animations and presenter’s notes, both beloved of today’s lecturers.

Related StoryCheck out  The best iPhone Apps

Interface in the same clever technique used by the other iPhone members of the iWorks family, Pages and Numbers, Keynote starts you off with a how-to guide built in the app’s own format—a presentation deck. unlike the other iWork for iPhone apps, however, Keynote always presents a landscape-oriented view. This makes sense, since the slide navigator takes up the left side of the screen. as in the other apps, shaking the phone undoes your last action (or redoes your last undo). No need for a Save menu item, since your work is automatically saved in the app. QuickOffice ($19.99, 3 stars) and Documents to Go ($14.99 direct, 4 stars) make you explicitly go through saving whenever you close a project.

The Presentations button in Keynote is your folder of presentation projects, including the welcome how-to. in typical iPhone fashion, you can create sub-folders by dragging an item onto another, the first of many conveniences you won’t find in the competition from Documents to Go or QuickOffice. Hitting the plus sign here gets you started with either creating a new presentation or loading one from iTunes, iDisk (soon to be iCloud), or WebDav. If you choose to create a new one, you have a choice of 12 nice-looking templates, or Themes to start from—far more than you get in Documents to Go or QuickOffice.

Whenever you’re viewing slides in edit mode, four icons remain at the top: an “I,” a picture, a wrench, and a play arrow. The “i,” for info, actually lets you modify selected items as opposed to just displaying info. The image icon (showing the standard mountain and sun thumbnail) is actually called the “insert button, and it lets you insert not only photos and videos from your Camera roll, but also shapes, charts, and tables. Keynote’s Insert choices are identical to what you get in Numbers (for iPhone), with several pages of color options for the three graphic types. By contrast, DocsToGo only lets you edit text, and QuickOffice only let me add shapes and images.

The third button, a wrench, offers Share and Print, Find, Animation mode, Presenter Notes, Settings, and Help. and the fourth is the Play button, which lets you launch your presentation in full screen. Tapping on the screen advances you to the next slide, and swiping left will take you back to the edit mode. Simpler than QuickOffice’s forcing you to rotate the phone from landscape to portrait orientation to get back to edit mode.

To move or resize any text or image in a slide, just touch it and a bounding box appears around it for those actions. Double-tapping on any object in a slide in your presentation brings up more choices, such as “mask” to crop images and formatting for text. You can swipe slides up and down in the left-panel slide navigator to change their positions, and you can “unpinch” a slide to enlarge or even full-screen it.

Not only can you move and resize inserted images on still slides, but you can even choose from 15 animations, such as Blast, Bouncy, Dissolve, Orbital, Spin, and Swoosh—pretty remarkable for a handheld productivity app, and unmatched in the competition from Documents to Go or QuickOffice. even the maker of PowerPoint, Microsoft, doesn’t come close to this amount of creative power in its Office Mobile PowerPoint app on Windows Phone 7.

When you choose an animation, a demo of its effect on your object is played so that you can decide if it’s right for the slide. Possibly even more impressive than the preset animations, however, are Keynote’s Magic move custom animations, which let you move and resize presentation objects from one slide to the next. This capability pretty much leaves all the competition in the dust.

A staple of presentation software such as PowerPoint is presenter notes. Keynote for iPhone offer these as well, and you can read these on your iPhone or iPad while showing your presentation on a big screen, as long as you have a display connector. (There’s even a “laser pointer” for displaying like this: just touch or drag your finger around the display, and a red dot appears, to highlight a spot.) You access the Presenter Notes feature from the wrench icon; from there, you get a yellow notepad to type as much text as you want for each slide. Shockingly, QuickOffice has no presenter notes feature, and while Documents to Go does, they’re visible in the presentation, rather than staying hidden from the audience and no laser pointer.

Sharing and Printing So that their audience doesn’t later forget everything you told and showed them, printing out a presentation is common practice. But this isn’t Keynote for iPhone’s strongest suit. it does let you print using any printer you’ve set up with AirPrint, which launched with iOS 4.2. unfortunately, for now this means you’ll only be able to print if you have a recent HP printer.

But there are other ways to get your presentation out there. It’s very simple to email or save to an Apple web service—iDisk (soon to be iCloud),, or your own WebDAV setup, but not to Google Docs or, as the competitors can. whether emailing or storing online, you can save your work as a Keynote, PowerPoint, or PDF file. obviously, once you’ve downloaded it to your desktop, you can easily print it, as long as you have the appropriate desktop app. I transferred my test presentation to iDisk, saving it as a Microsoft PowerPoint file. The 9.3MB file came through looking exactly as it had on the iPhone, complete with animations.

Transferring documents to a desktop is one part of the iPhone productivity puzzle that competitors Documents to Go and QuickOffice still have Apple beat. Both of these offer a desktop app that allows simple Wi-Fi transfer from their iPhone apps, while Keynote requires you to go through the unwieldy process of connecting your iPhone syncing cable to the computer and going through some gyrations in iTunes to get the file where you want it.

The Most Presentable Presentations despite these transfer and printing limitations, Keynote for iPhone is really in a class by itself when it comes to iPhone presentation software. Documents to Go (which was our Editor’s choice over a year ago) and QuickOffice don’t let you build anywhere near the sophisticated presentations you can create in Keynote: forget animations. they do allow simpler transfer to a desktop, but perhaps iCloud will change that. If you really want to be amazed at what a handheld computer can do with a touch interface, and you need to make appealing presentations, give Keynote for iPhone a shot—it’s our new Editors’ choice for mobile presentation software.

More iPhone App Reviews: •   Orbitz Flights, Hotels, Cars (for iPhone)•   Garmin StreetPilot Onboard 1.0 (for iPhone)•   Keynote (for iPhone)•   Facebook Messenger (for iPhone)•   Hipmunk Flight Search (for iPhone)•  more

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply