Last week at ABA TECHSHOW, I discovered a limitation of the iPad while leading a session on the iPad for Lawyers: although the VGA adapter I used to connect my iPad to the projector worked great, I found that not all of my apps displayed onscreen. I'm still trying to figure out how to deal with that (any ideas from the iPad community?), but in the meantime, I thought I'd share some tips on a related issue: presenting on the iPad.
I really liked this article on Indezine titled Presenting on an iPad: Conversation with Jamie Garroch, and agree with Jamie's conclusion that Keynote is currently the best way to present on the iPad (although I'm intrigued by the new Prezi app, and intend to try it out soon). You can always convert your PowerPoint file to PDF and present in GoodReader or some other reading app, or you can convert to video or images as well. But Keynote remains the best option, because of its capabilities. You can convert your .PPT or .PPTX files to Keynote format - there will be a little bit of modification in your file, but in all it works pretty well.
That said, there are still some limitations to be aware of when presenting on Keynote, which I take from the interview with Jamie:
- The iPad only supports a small set of fonts - so if you like to use funky fonts in your presentations, you're going to be out of luck.
- Don't use video, unless you are able to convert between the WMV (Windows) and MOV (Apple) formats.
- If you like to hyperlink to documents or other items, you're also out of luck - Keynote only supports links to web pages.
- Don't plan on using too many graphical effects, because most of them won't transfer to Keynote, unless you paste the object back into the slide as an image.
- Stick to simple animations, or wait until your presentation is in Keynote before adding them. I'm starting to use less animations in my presentations lately, so that's not a big deal for me.
- Keep in mind that the iPad has a 4:3 aspect ratio, so if you create your slide deck in another setup you may find your images squashed up when you convert to Keynote.
Using the iPad as a presentation device is really intriguing to me right now - it pulls you out from behind a laptop (unless you use a remote), and makes your presentation more of a conversation, I think. Just keep these tips in mind when designing your slide deck.