Get it together
Apple’s $10 Keynote (all prices U.S.) for iOS can import presentations made in Microsoft PowerPoint or in Keynote for OS X ( Macworld rated 4 out of 5 mice ), but in both cases you’re likely to lose a great deal during the import process. Say goodbye to some fonts, transitions, and builds that aren’t available on the iPad, plus audio and more. (Presenter notes are supported, however, whether created on the iPad or imported from a PowerPoint or Keynote for Mac presentation.) Therefore, when feasible, create your presentation directly on the iPad.
If you do use Keynote on a Mac, be sure to read Apple’s Best practices for creating a presentation on a Mac for use on an iPad, which guides you in selecting compatible templates, fonts, and other features. Once you’ve created your presentation, you need to move it to your iPad. Although the iOS version of Keynote supports iCloud’s Documents in the Cloud feature, which automatically syncs documents on all your iOS devices with Apple’s servers, the Mac version of Keynote still lacks integrated support for this feature. (OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion will have access to iCloud’s Documents in the Cloud.)
Instead, you must log in to your iCloud account in a Web browser at www.icloud.com, click the iWork icon, click Keynote, and then drag your Keynote document into the browser window. After it uploads, the document will appear automatically in Keynote on your iOS device–but keep in mind that this process doesn’t eliminate the compatibility issues I mentioned a moment ago.
If your audience is very small–perhaps you’re showing your portfolio to a potential client or giving your boss a quick demo–you could show your presentation on the iPad itself, albeit without the presenter notes. But you’re more likely to prefer using a projector or other display.
Plug it in One way to do this is to plug a video adapter into your iPad’s Dock connector, and then connect that to your display. You’ll get the best results (and the highest resolution) using a display or projector with either the $39 Apple Digital AV Adapter (for displays with HDMI inputs) or the $29 Apple VGA Adapter (for displays with VGA inputs).
If you’re connecting to a television with neither HDMI nor VGA inputs, you can instead use the $39 Apple Component AV Cable or the $39 Apple Composite AV Cable, as appropriate, although both offer lower resolution than the Digital AV and VGA adapters. Although this wired approach works just fine, it’s difficult to hold your iPad while giving a presentation without the video cable falling out–I speak from personal experience.
If you prefer to roam across the stage holding your iPad while you speak, you can beam your presentation’s audio and video wirelessly using AirPlay mirroring–provided you have an iPad 2 or later running at least iOS 5. To pull off this trick, you’ll need an AirPlay receiver connected to the projector or display and on the same Wi-Fi network as your iPad. Apple’s $99 Apple TV can serve this purpose, if you happen to have one handy.
Once your AirPlay receiver is set up, you can mirror your iPad’s display by double-pressing the Home button, swiping the multitasking bar toward the right, and tapping the AirPlay button. Tap the name of the device you want to use for mirroring and then set the Mirroring switch to On.
(Image Caption: With an app like Reflections or AirServer running on your Mac, you can mirror your iPad’s display and audio wirelessly.)
Control the presentation
Once you tap Play, you can use your iPad to control the presentation as well as provide presenter notes for yourself (a cheat sheet, if you will) that the audience won’t see. To change what’s on the iPad’s screen when using an external display, tap the Layouts icon and then one of the follow buttons: Current (the current build of the slide as shown on the external display), Next (the next build, which may or may not be the next slide), Current and Next (current and next builds side by side), or Current and Notes (current build and any accompanying presenter notes). This final layout is the only one to display presenter notes, but you can supplement it by tapping the button in the upper left corner to display a list of slide thumbnails, which can aid in navigation (tap a thumbnail to jump directly to that slide).
To advance to the next build or slide, tap once anywhere, or swipe toward the left. To go back, swipe toward the right. A nice extra in Keynote for the iPad is a “laser pointer”: Touch and hold on the iPad’s screen to show a red dot, which moves with your finger on the main display. Lift your finger and the dot disappears. This is useful when you want to call attention to a particular area of a slide. To end the presentation (and turn off Keynote’s video output), tap the Close icon.
If your iPad is physically connected to your display–or if you want to be able to move around during your presentation without carrying the iPad with you–you can download Apple’s Keynote Remote app ($1) on your iPhone or iPod touch. Follow the instructions to pair Keynote Remote with your iPad using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, and then your iPhone or iPod touch becomes a remote control for Keynote on your iPad, complete with previews of your slides.