Juggling with Excel, Omnigraffle, Numbers, Keynote, and Powerpoint

July 31, 2009

You want to compile a presentation using graphics from across different applications like Excel, OmniGraffle, and Numbers? Apple Keynote turns out to be the most flexible tool in order to bring everything together.

  1. Write and structure your presentation in an outliner tool (e.g OmniOutliner).
  2. Create Keynote document. Choose or create appropriate master sheets. Avoid decorative bullets for lists – they might cause problems to export as Powerpoint.
  3. Copy and paste text (“match style”) from outliner into Keynote – section by section in order to avoid formatting confusion in Keynote.
  4. After having completed one or two pages, export a test .ppt document to review in Powerpoint. If there are export-problems, delete master sheet(s) that cause the rouble (most likely tose with fancy bullet points). The same applies, if the exported .ppt version does not look exactly the same as in Keynote.
  5. You can easily copy and paste charts from Excel and (individual or multi-selcted) graphics from Omnigraffle into Keynote. Both charts and graphics are vector-based and fully scalable in Keynote.
  6. I found Keynote to be the only application that allows placing formated data-tables from Apple Numbers (when it comes to presenting tables, I prefer Numbers to Excel, it is so much quicker to produce presentable data!). Copying and pasting a data-table into Keynote will transfer the object into a fully editable Keynote table.
  7. Export final presentation to Powerpoint. Why? In order to make it editable for proof-readers, project-managers or other non-Mac users (e.g. clients)! If all-too fancy styles and features have been avoided (see 2.), the presentation will look exactly the same and re-touching is not necessary. Tables placed from Numbers into Keynote will appear as formated table in Powerpoint and can be edited.
  8. Before printing out from Powerpoint, check ‘Page Set Up’ to reflect correct settings for the printer

Interestingly, graphics imported from OmniGraffle into Powerpoint will remain scalable (unless it is already a bitmap graphic), whereas if you directly import them into Powerpoint, they are transformed into a non-scalable (and somewhat blurry) bitmap image.

Note: If you have copied and pasted a complex table from Omnigraffle into Keynote, you might find it pixelated in the final Powerpoint document. In that case, export the Omnigraffle document as a Visio file,. open Visio on the PC, copy the table and paste it into Powerpoint.

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