Keynote vs PowerPoint: Which Is Best to Achieve Your Goals?

Since the early days of presentation software, the Keynote vs PowerPoint debate has been going on without pause. While Mac users swear by the former, PC disciples cannot imagine their lives without the latter. Today we take a closer look to compare the features, pros, and cons of both apps to help those undecided among us make the final decision and pick the best presentation software between the two juggernauts.

Disclaimer: we won't go into technical details, like the number of standard figures, effects, or fonts. Instead, we'll focus on the app's capability of achieving presentation goals, user-friendliness, and integration options.


Any Mac and iOS user can answer "What is Keynote?" It's a part of the free software package that comes with any Apple-made laptop, tablet, and smartphone. But few Windows users are familiar with the app as it is only available on Apple devices.


  • The template library is better than PowerPoint, with modern designs and color schemes that make your slides look expensive and professional.
  • The interface is intuitive for every Mac user and is not overburdened with features and customization options.
  • The Magic Move feature smoothly transitions objects between slides, creating a unique and sleek effect.
  • Keynote enables seamless synchronization across all Apple devices via iCloud, and the mobile app is convenient enough to continue editing presentations even when your laptop is unavailable.


  • The customization for fonts, figures, images, and other elements is limited, which narrows down your design options.
  • Keynote only offers a handful of file format options, and though the list includes PowerPoint-compatible PPTX and PPT, the formatting may go wonky if you try it.


Microsoft ensured that every PC owner knew the answer to "What is PowerPoint?" It was the first mass-market presentation software, though its misuse resulted in presentation fatigue and the dreaded "Death by PowerPoint" at every college lecture or business meeting. Still, the app has been evolving for decades and remains the most popular in the niche despite emerging online-only rivals.


  • While the built-in library of templates is basic and dull, the PowerPoint online community is ripe with millions of third-party designs you can download and use.
  • The customization features are unmatched by any other presentation app on the market for all elements, including fonts, figures, charts, images, etc.
  • Editing the master slide makes introducing changes across all slides easy and fast.
  • Office 365 has premium features, like an extensive graphics library and a design toolbar with suggestions for creating unique layouts.
  • PowerPoint offers dozens of file format options besides PPTX and PDF, and it can save read-only files that prevent others from altering and using your presentations without your permission.


  • PowerPoint is available on Windows and Mac, though the app doesn't run as smoothly on Apple devices. Still, the online version can work via the browser.
  • The app isn't free or cheap. You can purchase PowerPoint as a standalone downloadable app or a part of the Microsoft Office 365 package.
  • The overabundance of features crowding toolbars can be intimidating for novice users, especially those used to Mac apps.


Is Keynote the same as PowerPoint? By now, you know the two apps possess similar features. At the same time, their strengths lie in different dimensions: whereas PowerPoint offers extensive customization options, Keynote is renowned for sleek, modern templates and easy navigation. Unfortunately, shifting between the two apps is problematic, as the learning curve is rather steep for both. Most importantly, transferring files between apps causes unforeseeable problems with fonts, images, and animation.

The final choice should depend on your goals and your environment. For example, if you need a fast way to put together stylish presentations, you own a Mac, and your professors, classmates, or colleagues use Keynote, you should too. But if you're into customizing every slide, you use Windows, and so do most of the people you work with, PowerPoint is the obvious choice.

Alternatively, if you don't want to be limited to the choice of Keynote or PowerPoint because neither meets your requirements, consider looking into online presentation apps like Canva, Prezi, or Visme. They might offer some features the Microsoft and Apple software is missing.

Finally, remember that it's not software that makes presentations good or bad. Even the most advanced app will not transform a jumbled mess of bullet points, glaring colors, and useless flowery animations into a compelling presentation. So whichever software you use, stick with the presentation best practices and do not use neat effects in place of quality content.

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