Home > Articles > Home & Office Computing > Microsoft Applications

Create and Show Digital Slide Presentations with Keynote for iPad

📄 Contents

  1. Creating a Keynote Presentation on the iPad
  2. Editing Individual Slides
  3. Adjust the Order of Your Slides
With Keynote for iPad, your tablet device can be transformed into a powerful presentation tool for both creating and giving presentations, either on the iPad’s screen or by connecting the iPad to an external monitor of LCD projector. Best-selling author and avid iPhone/iPad user Jason Rich shows you how to do both.

If you’re an avid iPhone or Blackberry user, you probably already know about apps that allow you to transfer PowerPoint or Keynote digital slide presentation files to your smartphone, allowing you to review your presentation on its small screen. You can also connect the smartphone to a projector and use it to actually give your presentations.

Your iPad offers this functionality as well; however, when you load the Keynote app ($9.99) into your tablet, you have the ability to create, edit, display, and present digital slide presentations, just like you can do using a laptop computer or netbook. Keynote for iPad is part of the iWork suite of applications, which is Apple’s alternative to Microsoft Office.

Keynote for iPad is compatible with Keynote for Mac as well as Microsoft’s PowerPoint for PC and Mac. Thus, you can transfer presentation files back and forth using several different methods. These wired and wireless file transfer methods are described in detail within my “Word Processing on the iPad Using Pages” article.

Using Keynote for iPad, you can create extremely impressive digital slides and complete presentations, incorporating text, graphics, audio clips, video clips, and other elements. You can also add eye-catching special effects to your digital slides, plus use animated transitions between slides to impress your audience.

When importing PowerPoint presentations created on a PC or Mac, you may discover minor compatibility issued with animations, fonts, and formatting. However, these are easily fixed from within Keynote on the iPad.

To make a presentation to just one or two people, you can use the iPad’s display to show off your digital slide show. However, you can easily connect the iPad to an LCD projector or full-size monitor (using an optional adapter), allowing you to present to an audience of any size. From Apple, you can purchase the optional iPad Dock Connector to VGA Adapter ($29) for connecting the iPad to a monitor or projector. Depending on the location of the projector, an extension cable may also be necessary.

Creating a Keynote Presentation on the iPad

The Keynote app for the Mac or iPad is extremely similar to Microsoft’s PowerPoint in terms of features and functionality, allowing you to create professional-quality and visually impressive digital slide presentations on the iPad from virtually anywhere. Or, you can quickly modify an existing presentation created on a desktop or laptop computer.

Because you’re working with rectangular-shaped digital slides, the Keynote app is designed to work with the iPad while it’s being held horizontally. Once the app is downloaded and installed onto your iPad, tap the program icon to launch it from the iPad’s Home Screen.

The Getting Started screen will be displayed upon the app’s launch (shown in Figure 1). From here, you can create a new presentation from scratch, send an existing presentation to another user or your computer via one of several different methods, load a presentation file from a computer or an online-based file transfer service (such as Apple’s MobileMe), or delete any existing Keynote presentation files currently stored on your iPad.

Figure 1 Keynote’s Getting Started screen.

If you tap on the large “Tap to Get Started with Keynote” presentation icon that’s displayed in the center of the screen, you can view a sample digital slide presentation that explains some of the key features built into this app.

To create a new presentation from scratch, either tap the New Presentation icon located in the upper-left corner of the Getting Started screen, or tap the square icon with the plus sign (+) that’s located at the bottom-center of the screen.

The first step in creating a Keynote presentation from scratch is to select a theme from the Choose a Theme screen (as shown in Figure 2). The app has a dozen professionally created themes you can choose from, each of which has templates for multiple slide formats that can be fully customized.

Figure 2 Choose a template for your presentation.

Upon choosing a theme, the main Keynote screen for creating presentations will be displayed. This screen is divided into three distinct areas. Along the left side of the screen will be thumbnails of each digital slide in your presentation. At the start, all you’ll see is one thumbnail, representing the sample title slide.

Along the top of the screen is a handful of command and menu icons, which we’ll explore shortly. The main area of the screen is where you can view, build, and edit each digital slide, one at a time.

When you opt to create a new slide presentation, Keynote automatically creates a sample title slide based on the theme you’ve selected. For this article, the Showroom theme was chosen. You can start developing your presentation by modifying this slide (shown in Figure 3).

Figure 3 The title slide for the Showroom theme.

When viewing the sample slide, you can tap on any element within it, such as the text-based title or the image, to begin editing it. Or, you can delete the sample slide and start your own presentation using the theme you’ve selected.

To create a new slide, tap the plus sign (+) located in the lower-left corner of the screen. A new window will appear, allowing you to choose a slide format that’s part of your selected theme (as shown in Figure 4). Tap on a slide format, and a blank sample of that slide will be displayed in the main area of the Keynote screen. Now, begin adding your own text and graphics.

Figure 4 Choose a slide format for each new slide you create. The Keynote Command Icons and Menus

Located in the upper-right corner of the main Keynote screen are five command and menu icons. The left-most icon is a circle containing the letter “i”. Tap this icon, and a window will appear containing three main options, including Style, Text, and Arrange. Plus, at the bottom of this new window is an option to access a Style Options submenu.

Tap the Style icon to choose from a variety of different display options for each text element you’ll be adding to each slide. Tap the Text icon to select bold, italic, underline, or strikethrough. You can also choose the heading, subtitle, or a variety of different body text formats (as shown in Figure 5) to truly customize the appearance of your text.

Figure 5 Use the Style options to customize the look of text in your slides.

From the bottom of this window, you can access the Text Options submenu. It allows you to choose your font size, font color, font type, alignment, and inset margin. This submenu window is shown in Figure 6.

Figure 6 From the Text Options window, you can change the look of your text.

Just like PowerPoint or Keynote for Mac, you can create slides containing multiple layers, so text and graphics can be placed on top of each other to create interesting visual effects, especially when using the program’s animation features. After taping the circle icon with the letter “i”, tap the Arrange icon when you have one or more text or graphic elements selected and highlighted within the slide you’re currently creating or editing. This allows you to move a selected layer forward or backward.

Located to the immediate right of the circular icon with the letter “i” is the Picture icon (shown in Figure 7). Tap this icon to import a photo, create a table, insert and customize a chart, or add a graphic shape into the slide you’re creating or editing.

Figure 7 Adding pictures to your presentation is easy.

Once you’ve added a text or graphic element to the slide you’re creating or editing, you can tap one element at a time to highlight it within the slide, and then tap the diamond-shaped icon located at the top-right corner of the screen to begin adding a Build In or Build Out animation. This allows you to add an animated special effect as that particular element of the slide is introduced or exits the slide when it’s being presented.

Keynote offers about two dozen different animation Build In and Build Out options to choose from, such as Appear, Compress, Dissolve, and Flash Bulbs. You can choose your animation option, and then customize it using the command icons located at the bottom of the Build In or Build Out window (as shown in Figure 8).

Tap the Play icon, located in the upper-right corner of this window, to preview how the animation will look. To return to the main slide editing screen, tap the Done icon that’s also located in the upper-right corner of the screen.

Figure 8 Animations and slide transitions will make your presentation more visually interesting.

Tap the wrench icon located in the upper-right corner of the main Keynote screen to access a handful of additional menu options, including Find, Go to Help, Guides, Slide Numbers, and the app’s built-in spell checker. Figure 9 shows the Tools window that appears when you tap the wrench icon.

Figure 9 The Tools screen gives you access to additional features.

The Play icon that appears in the upper-right corner of the screen can be tapped at any time to run your complete slide show (or a portion of it) to preview it in full-screen mode, complete with the animations and added slide transitions.

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020