Keynote, Apple’s answer to Microsoft’s PowerPoint presentation software, has the limited feature set of a first offering but makes a good-looking show out of the gate.
Users accustomed to PowerPoint’s robust array of clip art, pre-populated themes, and pre-set transitions will be disappointed with Keynote’s small offering of pre-fabricated elements. However, they won’t be able to find fault with the visual quality of the elements that Keynote does include; any of the tasteful Keynote themes, detachable chart elements, or cinematic slide transitions would easily stand out against their PowerPoint counterparts.
Keynote’s interface is fairly similar to PowerPoint, although there are some differences. As with PowerPoint you can setup and see the progress of your slide show in a vertical panel on the left. Most of the formatting controls are in a control box called the "inspector"--whether building a chart, making a graphic twirl, or mandating the transition between two slides, you are mostly using the inspectors’ controls rather than dropdown menus or key commands to get things done. In addition to being able to animate imported graphics, audio and movie files can be played within a slide, though these multimedia effects will not run across multiple slides.
What will have to wait for the next version are comprehensive chart creation and exporting capabilities. Currently Keynote provides nine beautiful chart styles to choose from, but getting data into these pre-populated formats can be tedious. Users may find it easier to construct their more complicated charts outside the program, and import them as pre-made images into the slideshow. And, though you can export Keynote presentations to QuickTime and to PowerPoint, there is no Keynote-to-HTML conversion as yet. --Elizabeth Aoki