No Office Export in Keynote/Numbers for iPad?

To be honest, I’m getting even more excited about the iPad. Not that we get that much more info about it, but:

For one thing, the Pages for iPad webpage is explicitly stating Word support:

Attach them to an email as Pages files for Mac, Microsoft Word files, or PDF documents.

Maybe this is because Steve Jobs himself promised it to Walt Mossberg?
Thing is, the equivalent pages about Keynote for iPad and about Numbers for iPad aren’t so explicit:

The presentations you create in Keynote on your iPad can be exported as Keynote files for Mac or PDF documents


To share your work, export your spreadsheet as a Numbers file for Mac or PDF document

Not a huge issue, but it seems strange that Apple would have such an “export to Microsoft Office” feature on only one of the three “iWork for iPad” apps. Now, the differences in the way exports are described may not mean that Keynote won’t be able to export to Microsoft PowerPoint or that Numbers won’t be able to export to Microsoft Excel. After all, these texts may have been written at different times. But it does sound like PowerPoint and Excel will be import-only, on the iPad.

Which, again, may not be that big an issue. Maybe will work well enough for people’s needs. And some other cloud-based tools do support Keynote. (Though Google Docs and Zoho Show don’t.)

The reason I care is simple: I do share most of my presentation files. Either to students (as resources on Moodle) or to whole wide world (through Slideshare). My desktop outliner of choice, OmniOutliner, exports to Keynote and Microsoft Word. My ideal workflow would be to send, in parallel, presentation files to Keynote for display while on stage and to PowerPoint for sharing. The Word version could also be useful for sharing.

Speaking of presenting “slides” on stage, I’m also hoping that the “iPad Dock Connector to VGA Adapter” will support “presenter mode” at some point (though it doesn’t seem to be the case, right now). I also dream of a way to control an iPad presentation with some kind of remote. In fact, it’s not too hard to imagine it as an iPod touch app (maybe made by Appiction, down in ATX).

To be clear: my “presentation files” aren’t really about presenting so much as they are a way to package and organize items. Yes, I use bullet points. No, I don’t try to make the presentation sexy. My presentation files are acting like cue cards and like whiteboard snapshots. During a class, I use the “slides” as a way to keep track of where I planned the discussion to go. I can skip around, but it’s easier for me to get at least some students focused on what’s important (the actual depth of the discussion) because they know the structure (as “slides”) will be available online. Since I also podcast my lectures, it means that they can go back to all the material.

I also use “slides” to capture things we build in class, such as lists of themes from the readings or potential exam questions.  Again, the “whiteboard” idea. I don’t typically do the same thing during a one-time talk (say, at an unconference). But I still want to share my “slides,” at some point.

So, in all of these situations, I need a file format for “slides.” I really wish there were a format which could work directly out of the browser and could be converted back and forth with other formats (especially Keynote, OpenOffice, and PowerPoint). I don’t need anything fancy. I don’t even care about transitions, animations, or even inserting pictures. But, despite some friends’ attempts at making me use open solutions, I end up having to use presentation files.

Unfortunately, at this point, PowerPoint is the de facto standard for presentation files. So I need it, somehow. Not that I really need PowerPoint itself. But it’s still the only format I can use to share “slides.”

So, if Keynote for iPad doesn’t export directly to PowerPoint, it means that I’ll have to find another way to make my workflow fit.

Ah, well…

8 thoughts on “No Office Export in Keynote/Numbers for iPad?”

  1. The iPad walked away from the couple million of us who already use some kind of tablet computer. No stylus means no purchase for me… and I so wanted to become an Apple user.

    1. The iPad might not be the thing for you, but I need one. I don’t have a laptop, anymore, and I’ve been an intense iPod touch user. I know exactly how and when I’ll use the iPad.
      And, yes, you can use a stylus, if you so wish.
      I find it a bit sad that I won’t be able to export to PowerPoint directly from the iPad version of Keynote. But what I’m hoping for is a better standard for slides. S5 looks interesting, but I need a WYSIWYG editor.

  2. Strangely, the UK version of Apple’s iPad Numbers page ( does that Numbers can export as Excel. The US version of exactly the same page (just remove /uk from the URL) omits that.

    My guess (= hope) is that they’re working on enabling Office export in all 3 apps but it’s only Pages that’s ready, and somehow, for some reason, the UK page has got ahead of itself. But who knows….

    1. Quite peculiar! In fact, the Canadian page (“ca” instead of “uk”) also lists Excel export but the guided tours make no mention of Excel of PowerPoint export. Of course, it’s not tragic. If allows for Office export, it could be a reasonable solution. But I find it strange that they could have one without the other. Those file formats are probably complex but they’ve been working with them for a while and probably have standardized conversion tools.

      At least, I’m glad to see that Keynote for iPad supports “presenter mode,” according to the guided tour.

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