Update your tools!

A lot of presenters I work with are not using the latest and greatest version of their presentation tool. Occasionally, this is because they are unaware of updates from the software vendor. Often, it is simply that they are used to the tool and do not feel a need to upgrade.

There are many reasons to keep current.

  • If you have someone help you with your slide decks, you should both be at the same version of your tool. If they add something from the newest version – which they are most likely to have – you may not be able to take advantage of that tool.
  • If you share with other people for any collaboration, you should all use the most current version of the tool.
  • If you need to send a slide deck to a company organization for an event, check first – they will often be at the latest version of the tool.
  • If you need to use more than one tool – such as PowerPoint and Keynote, the latest versions of each have better support for translating into other formats, including each other, images, PDFs, etc.

With cloud becoming pervasive, it is much easier to keep at the current level of your software using subscription services from the software companies.


I use Adobe Photoshop and bought a subscription to Photoshop Creative Cloud. It allows me to download and run Photoshop on my Mac locally. While my subscription is active, I can receive all new updates to Photoshop that Adobe release. If I end my subscription, I can still use Photoshop, but will no longer receive updates. The main concern is if you store any documents or images in the Adobe cloud, if you end your subscription, you will lose access to those documents.

For presenters, the only subscription you would need is the basic Photography plan. The entire list of choices are here.


This presentation software is the staple of the world and runs on Windows and Mac OS X. You can make a one-time purchase and download four tools – Excel, Word, PowerPoint, and OneNote. If you need a newer version, you will have to pay to upgrade. You can buy an Office 365 subscription which is payable annually or monthly and you will receive updates as often as Microsoft release them. You can compare the subscription choices here.

Once you own the subscription, you should manage the updates process to remain current. If your subscription lapses, you will be able to open documents, but editing will be disabled.

Most presenters only need the Office 365 Personal plan. This allows you to use PowerPoint on 1 computer and 1 phone and 1 tablet. If you need more devices, the Office 365 Home plan might work. The business plans will allow more licenses for more users.

Many people don’t realize that PowerPoint is available on mobile devices. The same Office 365 license for your laptop (or desktop) can be used for phones and tablets. There are some differences from the laptop in the mobile versions. One thing we are unable to edit in the iPad version is master slides. This simply means to choose what kind of edits you wish to make before planning to use only your tablet or phone version.


The only subscription service related to Apple’s productivity tools is iCloud. This is basically a document storage service, and is extremely handy when using Apple devices and software. For presenting, Keynote is the OS X version of PowerPoint. It was originally designed for Steve Jobs and his presentations, and it is the equal of PowerPoint for Mac users.

Keynote can open PowerPoint files (.ppt and .pptx). Keynote can save PowerPoint files. PowerPoint has not recognition for Keynote files.

I recommend Keynote as the tool of choice when you are a Mac user and present from your own Apple device. If you are going to save PowerPoint files from Keynote, reducing the complexity of the slides themselves will assist in a cleaner conversion.

Keynote is a paid application from the Apple App Store, however it is free with new Macs. Since I have owned it (several years), the updates have been free.



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