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How to Convert PowerPoint (PPTX) for Mac Keynote Presentations

Everyone has preferences when it comes to their favorite apps. You’ll find Google Sheets users that just won’t touch Microsoft Excel, Apple Pages users that are repulsed by Microsoft Word, and more. 

One example of this is the divide that exists between Apple’s Keynote and Microsoft PowerPoint. I find myself switching back and forth between the two apps, but I can certainly see why users have strong preferences. Keynote’s interface is very intuitive while PowerPoint makes working with Excel a breeze, a key feature for many power users.

Because I jump back and forth between PowerPoint and Keynote presentations, I sometimes need to convert PowerPoint to Keynote presentations to regard my collaborators. It’s easier than you think to convert presentation files so that you never leave anyone left out of opening and working with a presentation.

It’s not uncommon to need to switch between presentation apps. When you need to switch back between platforms, you might need to convert PowerPoint to Keynote format. Let’s learn how to do just that together.

keynote presentation

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Now, it’s time to learn about converting PowerPoint to Keynote.

How to Convert PowerPoint to Keynote (Watch & Learn)

Want to walk through opening a PowerPoint presentation in Keynote together? Make sure to play the screencast that you see below to learn how to convert a PowerPoint to Keynote presentation.

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Want to learn more? Keep reading below to learn how to convert PowerPoint to Keynote presentations and correct for any incompatibilities as you go.

Convert from PowerPoint to Keynote

In this example, we’re going to convert a PowerPoint presentation and open it up in Apple’s Keynote presentation app.

Throughout this tutorial, you’re going to see me use a PowerPoint presentation that’s pre-built from the Envato Elements library. Elements is an all-you-can-download service for creatives that includes presentation templates, stock photos, and so much more.

Elements presentation templates
All of these PowerPoint templates are available for a single flat rate as a part of the Envato Elements subscription.

When you don’t have the time to design something from scratch, it’s a lifesaver to grab a template from Elements instead. Start with a presentation template, drop in your details, and presto! You’ve created a presentation much more quickly than building one from scratch.

In this tutorial, I’m going to use the Paradox PowerPoint template from Envato Elements. Paradox is a beautiful presentation template, but unfortunately is only available in a PowerPoint version. Since we can convert PowerPoint to Keynote presentations, we’ll learn how to make it cross-compatible in this tutorial.

1. Open a PowerPoint Presentation in Keynote

It turns out that opening a presentation in Keynote is easier than you might think. It’s clear that Apple has acknowledged their role as the second player in the presentation app market and know that it’ll take some time to catch up to PowerPoint’s market share.

Therefore, opening up a PowerPoint presentation in Keynote is pretty straightforward. On your Mac, open PowerPoint and browse to the PPTX or PPT file. Then, click on Open to launch into Keynote.

PPTX open in Keynote
Choose File > Open in Keynote and browse to your PPTX file to start converting it.

Now, you’ll see the presentation in Keynote. You might see some warnings about items that didn’t translate well to Keynote, but don’t worry about that for now.

I’m always impressed by how well this conversion process typically works. For example, embedded audio, images, and video worked perfectly in my testing. Unless those files are very unusual or specific file formats, the conversion typically takes care of perhaps 90% of the work. Once the conversion is complete, save an updated version of the file as a .keynote file.

Keynote will automatically take care of the majority of work in the conversion step. However, that might not be the only step you need to take to prepare your presentation for use in Keynote. Keep reading to adjust everything else.

2. Review the Warnings

You might have noticed when you open a PowerPoint presentation in Keynote that there are some warnings about how the “PowerPoint presentation may look different.” Keynote flags issues that might have occurred during the conversion.

Keynote warnings for PPTX presentation
Warnings that appear after you convert PPT to Keynote.

Let’s look at how to correct and modify the presentation so that it converts as smoothly as possible between the two apps.

3. Replace Fonts

This issue isn’t specific to converting PowerPoint presentations to Keynote, but you’re likely to see this issue when converting. You need to replace fonts if you don’t have them installed on your Mac.

When you download presentation templates from Elements, it’s likely that the author uses free fonts available online, so make sure to check the documentation and download those available fonts if that’s the case.

To replace a font, click on the Replace Fonts… button on this pop-up window. You’ll get the chance to select replacements from the drop-down menu. If you know a similar typeface, you can just select it from this drop-down to replace all instances of it in your Keynote presentation as you can see in the screenshot below.

Replace fonts in Keynote
One-by-one, you can replace fonts that aren’t available on your computer with replacement fonts in the dropdown list.

If you don’t have access to the fonts that the PowerPoint author used, you might need to make substitutions. On the Replace Fonts menu, choose alternate fonts from the drop-down options.

4. Check Charts and Graphs

PowerPoint has some really advanced charting features thanks to its tight integration with apps like Excel. Stacked bar charts, pie charts, and so much more are easy to create in PowerPoint. Keynote makes it easy to chart too, but the formats don’t translate one for one.

The problem is that when you try to bring these charts over to Keynote, they don’t convert smoothly. This aspect is just one area where the conversion sometimes misses the mark.

Keynote charts
The stacked line chart converted from PowerPoint, but some aspects are missing and work differently than the PowerPoint version of the presentation.

Simply put, you might need to re-create new charts in Keynote. This is one type of content that just doesn’t convert easily. Both presentation platforms have implemented different ways of doing charting, and it’s only natural that it doesn’t always work perfectly.

5. General Review and Adjust

As I reviewed my converted PowerPoint presentation, it was clear that several objects and text boxes needed to be repositioned slightly. 

It’s critical when you convert files from one format to another that they stay “true to form.” That means that the presentation appears the way you expect it. There might be other issues that aren’t flagged in the pop-up warning when you first convert. 

Make sure that you review every slide before you present it to an audience. You want to avoid anything looking off or not working when you share a presentation with an audience.

Another Option: Use PowerPoint Online

Throughout this tutorial, we’ve been converting the presentation from PowerPoint to Keynote. The basic idea here is that doing this accommodates users who don’t have access to Microsoft PowerPoint. Converting the presentation is one option.

But, this isn’t the only way to include others in working with the presentation. If you don’t want to convert an existing presentation, you can let others into edit by using free alternatives.

That’s where PowerPoint Online comes into play. Available for free with a Microsoft account, you can jump over to Office365.com to get started. Upload your PPTX or PPT presentation, invite other users, and they can edit the presentation online. As long as they’ve got a web browser, they can work with the presentation.

Paradox in Office 365
In this example, I’ve uploaded Paradox to my OneDrive and opened it in PowerPoint for web browsers to share and include others.

For a more detailed write-up to learn how to use PowerPoint Online, check out the tutorial below to see it in action:

This approach doesn’t technically convert the presentation across formats, but it does help you achieve the goal of inviting others to work with your presentation. If the conversion process directly isn’t working, think about turning to PowerPoint Online.

Keep Learning

In this tutorial, we covered how to convert PowerPoint to Keynote presentations. It turns out that Apple’s Keynote app has built-in functionality to help you handle PowerPoint presentations easily.

Want to learn more about Microsoft PowerPoint or Apple Keynote? Either way, we’ve got you covered in the Envato Tuts+ library. Check out any of the tutorials below to level up your presentation skills:

We’ve got the perfect complement to this tutorial, which will walk you through the complete presentation process. You can get The Complete Guide to Making Great Presentations when you subscribe to the Tuts+ Business Newsletter. Discover how to write your presentation, design it like a pro, and prepare it to present powerfully.

presentation ebook

What Are Your Next Steps?

You’ve just learned some techniques for converting PowerPoint to Keynote. Knowing this will give you more presentation options.

How do you handle jumping back and forth between PowerPoint and Keynote? Do you convert your presentations or try to use a tool that makes the presentation accessible to anyone to work with and edit? Let me know in the comments section below if you’ve got a favorite tip to share with other Tuts+ readers.