You love your iPad, and chances are good that you need to use Microsoft Office for work. You have lots of options for editing documents created in Microsoft Word and Excel on your iPad, but what about the third major component of Microsoft Office, PowerPoint ()?
If you need only view a PowerPoint document, you can use almost any iOS app that displays documents (including Apple’s Mail and Safari). iOS can natively display, though not edit, PowerPoint (.ppt and .pptx) documents—but it shows them as a continuous scroll rather than as individual slides. You also won’t be able to see any animations, builds, transitions, or other special features. For displaying an existing PowerPoint presentation, a better choice is the free SlideShark app, which preserves most major PowerPoint features but still doesn’t allow editing.
When you need to edit a PowerPoint presentation or create a new one from scratch, your alternatives fall into three main categories: Keynote, a third-party office suite, or a virtual copy of PowerPoint for Windows.
Apple’s $10 Keynote for iOS () is a fine tool for creating, editing, and displaying presentations. This version doesn’t have all the features of the desktop version of Keynote (), and if you import a presentation (whether created in Keynote on OS X or in PowerPoint), you may lose some important content. Say good-bye to fonts, transitions, and builds that aren’t available on the iPad, as well as audio and more. Even so, using Keynote is arguably the best way to edit a PowerPoint presentation on an iPad, because the app offers more powerful editing tools than any other native iPad presentation app does, and it has a better touchscreen interface than a virtual copy of Microsoft PowerPoint.