With more and more churches meeting in rented facilities, portability can be a major consideration on Sunday mornings. For churches seeking to use projection while minimizing the hassle of lugging and setting up more "stuff," the iPad can be a welcome alternative. Its compact size, its advertised 10-hour battery life, and its ease of use make the iPad a legitimate choice for portable churches.
Unfortunately, Microsoft has not yet come out with a PowerPoint app for the iPad. There are several other presentation apps, though, that are capable of importing PowerPoint files. Leading the way is Appleęs relatively inexpensive Keynote app, which is available through the iPad App Store.
Keynote has long been the standard presentation software produced by Apple. Its iPad app is essentially a scaled-down version of the complete desktop/laptop version. Significantly for PowerPoint users, the Keynote app is capable of easily importing from and exporting to PowerPoint. Rather than abandoning PowerPoint altogether, users can continue to prepare complete PowerPoint presentations and then convert the final product into Keynote.
Depending on the video input on your video projector, you can use either Appleęs VGA Adapter or Appleęs Digital AV Adapter. When plugged into the dock connector on the iPad, the adapter can then connect to the projector via a standard monitor or HDMI cable. When connected, the Keynote app can send the signal for one slide to be displayed for the congregation while providing you the luxury of seeing the current and next slide, the ability to scroll through all the slides using a sidebar, and the aid of any speaker notes you have entered to be used as cues.
If you have an iPhone, iPod Touch, or a second iPad, you can also take advantage of Appleęs Keynote Remote. As long as you can establish a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection, you (or a member of the congregation) can control your presentation while being free to roam around the room.
When transferring PowerPoint presentations to the Keynote app, there are a few important details to keep in mind. First, because the iPad has a limited supply of fonts, you should design your PowerPoint presentation using those same fonts. If you donęt, Keynote will substitute other fonts that may throw off your slideęs appearance.
Likewise, WordArt and certain animations in PowerPoint do not have a Keynote equivalent. The more you use the app, the more you will become accustomed to what does and what doesnęt import well.
You may also discover that some graphics in the original PowerPoint file have been replaced on the iPad with a white box containing a large question mark (“?”) in the center. This indicates that the graphic was not saved as an individual file on your desktop. Perhaps you copied and pasted the file directly from a website or acquired the presentation from another computer. To rectify this problem, right click on each graphic and save it on your computer. Then delete and reinsert the graphic in your presentation. Finally, transfer the updated file to your iPad and retry it.
Another issue you may encounter is that, in PowerPoint, it is possible to have text overflow beyond the text box and still be visible. When imported into the Keynote app, though, the text will be scaled down to fit within the box. You can fix this by enlarging the text box in the original PowerPoint presentation or within Keynote.
Using video files in Keynote is a bit more complicated. To do so, first import the PowerPoint presentation without the video into your Keynote app. Then use iTunes to convert the video file to the MPEG-4 format, which is compatible with the iPad. Next, transfer the new file to your iPad using iTunes, iPhoto, or another software solution. Finally, insert the video by opening the Keynote presentation and locating the video in the photo/media library. (The icon is located near the upper right hand corner of the screen.)
Importing PowerPoint presentations into Keynote on the iPad is not flawless, but it is certainly a useable option for pastors as well as worship leaders. As Apple regularly provides free upgrade for the Keynote app, its performance and flexibility should continue to improve. Plus, with new iPad models in or near production, Keynote users will enjoy even more benefits.
© 2011 Greg Hanson / PowerPointPastors.com