The iPad features several apps that let you create PowerPoint presentations on your tablet. None has the full set of features found in the computer-based version of Microsoft PowerPoint, but all will create presentations with a variety of features. Each app has its own benefits and drawbacks, so determine the features you need most before selecting an app.
The PowerPoint presentation creation apps with the most features as of June 2011 are Apple's Keynote, Dataviz's Documents to Go (Premium version only) and Quickoffice Pro HD from Quickoffice. Each app lets you create PowerPoint or PowerPoint-compatible files directly on the iPad. All three apps can also edit existing PowerPoint files, with some limitations. Keynote and Quickoffice can only create .ppt files, the file type associated with PowerPoint 2003 and earlier versions. Documents to Go can create and edit .pptx files, associated with Microsoft Office 2007 and later file types, in addition to .ppt files. All these apps cost a moderate fee and are available in the iPad App Store.
Documents to Go and Quickoffice both let you create PowerPoint presentations directly in PowerPoint format. You can add text and images, create a variety of layouts and run your slideshow all from the iPad. Keynote creates your presentations in its own format but will export to .ppt when you finish the presentation. The exported file can be edited in PowerPoint on your computer or in one of the other apps mentioned. All apps will play the presentation directly on the iPad or on an external screen using a video out adaptor.
Features and Limitations
The templates, effects and transitions you can find in PowerPoint on a computer are only available from Keynote on the iPad. The other apps have limited or no transition options and to templates, so you must create each slide from a blank slate. Keynote also offers in-app photo editing so you can choose just a portion of a photo to present in the slide, as well as timed transitions. Always test these features in PowerPoint after you export, because the file conversion can alter the way some characteristics of your presentation appear outside of Keynote. Audio and video options are also limited on the iPad presentation apps, with Keynote having the most available features for these options.
PowerPoint creation on the iPad is useful for creating quick presentations while away from the computer, but the loss of features makes it impractical if you need a heavy-duty presentation editor. Keynote can handle most presentation creation needs better than the other apps, while Documents to Go offers the most format options and both Documents to Go and Quickoffice work well for editing existing PowerPoint files without a loss of features due to format conversions.