Only three days into the New Year and I’ve discovered collaboration works better on Apple’s own products, rather than the popular Microsoft Office Suit.
Although I’ve been using Microsoft Office products on my MacBook, I’ve noticed over recent weeks Word, Powerpoint and Excel had become quite slow, sluggish and in some cases quite clunky to work with, and the collaborative “real time” side of things isn’t so much real time at all.
I’m working on a presentation with a colleague, a presentation we need to host in March relating to Digital Communications. After having spent some time using Microsoft PowerPoint, the clunky look and feel doubled with the fact the collaboration feature isn’t what is described, I decided to dust off Apple’s own version, Keynote, to see if that could do better.
After a quick update of the apps in the Apple App store, Keynote was opened and already there was a massive difference when compared to PowerPoint.
The look and feel of Keynote is much simpler, neater, and something you’d expect from an Apple product. Some of the features are hidden, including some of the obvious ones (Animation effects, text styling etc), but once found, they’re easy enough to get too.
The big thing for me though is collaboration. This isn’t just my presentation, it’s a shared presentation with a colleague. I live in Oxford, he lives in Banbury. Sure, we could meet up in a cafe, share my MacBook and work on it together, but it’s just not practical.
In this latest update to Keynote, Apple have released their own collaboration feature. In fact, their website states the following:
Keynote makes it easy for you and your team to create beautiful presentations together, from anywhere. It lets everyone work at the same time, with access to the same powerful tools.
Knowing he uses a Windows machine, I was a bit dubious as to how this would work. There isn’t a download for Keynote for Windows, nor can this collaboration work if he uses PowerPoint. I did remember he has an iPhone, and thus must have an iCloud account.
After getting his iCloud address, the set-up process was a touch complicated at first. Sure, I entered his email address; but I wasn’t sure if that would automatically send him an invite. After two attempts, it turns out it didn’t. There are other options, so I simply copied and pasted the link from my iCloud to him.
That seemed to work. Despite being on a Windows PC, he can edit this presentation via iCloud for web. Whats more, when Apple say real time, it is real time! Literally, I sat there watching him work on one of his slides in amazement, and I worked on a couple of mine at the same time. It didn’t freeze, it wasn’t sluggish, the fonts and stylings remained the same, we left sticky note comments on each slide – it was, and still is, super handy, and something I highly recommend.
The last time we tried to collaborate with a PowerPoint presentation, and a One Note document, the collaboration wasn’t in real time, and caused at least one of us to freeze and not see any updates, so this was very refreshing – a service that says “real time”, genuinely meaning that it does it in real time.
We’ve made good progress on the presentation, which should be ready within the next couple of weeks. We’ll rehearse, adjust and hopefully by March will have a presentation that’s enjoyable and interactive.
Since my use of Keynote was a success, I’ve dabbled in Pages (Word) and Numbers (Excel). The look and feel of these are equally as clean and simple as Keynote, there’s collaboration features on these, and unlike my Office products, these don’t feel clunky, they don’t freeze, and they’re in some respects easier to use.
I’ve subsequently ditched my subscription to Microsoft Office and now use Apple’s own office suit. The fact they can open Microsofts’ equivalents and if saved correctly, Office can open Apple’s own documents, this is by far one of the best changes I’ve made in 2017, and we’re only three days in.
Quite apt when you’re working on a presentation about Digital Communications.