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How To Use Apple’s Keynote for Windows, and an Exploration of the Alternatives

If you need to create slideshows and presentations, you're probably familiar with Apple's Keynote software.
June 20, 2024
10 mins read

If you’re a Windows user though, you might wonder whether it’s possible to use Keynote for Windows

Keynote is much loved by anyone seeking to captivate their audience. Why should Mac users have all the fun though? Luckily, Windows users can enjoy Keynote as well.

We’ll guide you through how to use Keynote on your Windows device. If you prefer a native Windows solution, we can help there too. Stay tuned to explore powerful alternatives to Keynote and unlock the perfect presentation tool for you.

Part 1: Is Keynote Available on Windows, or Just for Mac?

There isn’t a native Windows application for Keynote, so you can’t simply download it for your Windows PC. Traditionally, Keynote users had to export to PowerPoint if they needed Windows compatibility.

That works just fine, but it feels like a clumsy workaround, and most users prefer to avoid solutions that require extra steps like this.

Luckily, times have changed, and there’s now a much simpler option. You can use Keynote online.

Keynote for iCloud is a web-based version that’s accessible through any web browser. This lets you create and edit Keynote presentations directly on your Windows machine. There’s nothing to download, and no need to mess around exporting files to different formats.

Keynote for iCloud needs an internet connection, and it operates on Apple’s servers. While it offers a great way for Windows users to access Keynote, some users might prefer locally installed software instead.  

Whichever your preference, you’ll find useful guidance here.

In Part 2 we’ll walk you through how to use Keynote on your Windows device. Part 3 will cover the most popular Keynote alternatives to help you make the best decision for your needs.

Part 2: How To Use Keynote on Windows

It’s easy to access Keynote for Windows, but there are a couple of prerequisites you should be aware of. As stated above, there isn’t a Keynote app for PC, so you’ll need to use the web-based tool instead.

You’ll need the following:

  • A modern, recently updated web browser such as Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge.
  • A reliable internet connection.

With those things in mind, here are the steps for using Keynote for Windows. We’ve assumed you have no pre-existing Apple ID, so these steps take you through everything you need to do, even if you’re not an Apple user already. Just skip any steps you don’t need.

Initial Keynote for Windows Setup

  1. Visit the iCloud website and create an account. You’ll need to use an existing username or Apple ID. Or, follow the prompt to create one during the account opening process.
  2. Log in to your iCloud account.
  3. Choose ‘Use iCloud Drive’ when prompted – this is the online storage that will hold your Keynote presentations.

Getting Started with a Basic Slideshow on Keynote

  1. Go to the iCloud website and sign in with your Apple ID.
  2. Choose the Keynote icon to open the web app.
  3. Select a theme. These are pre-designed layouts that form the foundation of your slides.
  4. Click the existing text boxes to add your own content.
  5. Insert video, charts, and images by clicking + in the toolbar and selecting the desired media type.
  6. Use the formatting options in the toolbar to make changes as required. You can change font, size, and color here.
  7. Check out the ‘Arrange’ tab to tweak layouts and add other elements such as additional text boxes and shapes.
  8. The ‘Animate’  tab holds pre-made slide transitions to give your presentation a professional edge and enhance flow. It also includes animations to use within slides for added interest.
  9. Go to File > Save and save your work. Give it a name and click to save it in your iCloud Drive.
  10. When you’re ready to present, simply click ‘Play’ in the top right corner, and use the on-screen controls to navigate through the slides.

The above steps will get you up and running with a basic presentation. There’s a bit of a learning curve, but hopefully, you won’t find it too challenging.

It’s worth taking some time to explore Keynote to learn about the more advanced features. As with any software tool, the best approach is to set aside time to simply play, without a deadline or specific project in mind.

Some features you might like are:

  • Speaker notes
  • Collaboration tools
  • Export in various formats

Using iCloud to access Keynote for Windows has some limitations compared to the desktop app. However, it’s still a robust tool capable of creating impactful presentations.

You don’t always need a specific presentation tool to create professional slideshows. Before trying to learn new software, consider whether you already have access to something that will do the job just as effectively.

For example, UPDF can turn any PDF into a slideshow with just a couple of clicks. In the next section, we will take a closer look at it. 

Part 3: Top 4 Popular Alternatives to Keynote for Windows

If you’re looking for an alternative Keynote app for PC, you should look into the following tools. They’re all great for creating slideshow-style presentations that will show your work in the best light.

  1. UPDF – if you want the fastest, simplest way to create a slideshow presentation, UPDF has a unique solution. You can convert any PDF into a slideshow with just a couple of clicks. Combined with the advanced PDF editing features, this means you can turn pre-existing content into a presentation in a flash. You can try this out in the free version of UPDF, and if you like what you see, upgrade to a paid plan for full access.step by step example
  2. Microsoft PowerPoint – this is the industry standard for presentations. It has a huge set of features including transitions, animations, and media integration. It integrates easily with other Microsoft Office applications. The drawback is that the learning curve can be steep compared to other software. There’s a limited free web version available, and PowerPoint is also included in the Microsoft 365 subscription.
  3. Google Slides – this is a free, web-based tool that’s accessible via any modern web browser. People like it for the clean interface and the library of ready-to-use themes and templates. Like other Google tools, it’s great for real-time collaboration. Google Slides is great for most basic uses, but it does lack the advanced features you might find in paid tools.
  4. Canva – you might already use Canva for designing social media graphics. Did you know it has presentation tools as well? There’s a library of pre-designed templates, making it ideal for those lacking in design experience. There’s a free plan with a solid range of features, and you can upgrade to the paid plan for more functionality.

Any of these tools offer a solid alternative to Keynote, and if you’re already familiar with the interface on one or more of these, why not use that instead?

If you opt for UPDF, you’ll find a host of other features in addition to the easy slideshow option, including the PDF editing, annotation, convertion, and AI chat.

computer exampleIn Summary

If you want to use Keynote for Windows, then the iCloud option is a great fit. It offers easy, browser-based access to this popular Mac tool. Keynote is far from the only choice when it comes to creating slideshows for presentations. For a fast, easy way to convert PDFs to presentations, UPDF is the best option with the least learning curve.

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