As I said in my introductory post, I live (proudly) as a Mac user in a Microsoft OS build and support center. And try as I might to convince the powers-that-be that it’s time to “switch”, I’m not getting a ton of traction on that front. So, I’m unfortunately left with having to live between two worlds.

One of the ways that I’ve had to cross-integrate those two worlds is in office suites. Now, I’ve quite painfully run Office 2004 for Mac, and I don’t suggest that office “solution” to anyone. Even people I hate. Vigorously hate. However, this was one of the first steps that I took in my efforts to find something cross-platform/compatible with the larger market share of Windows users.

Earlier this year, I invested in iLife 08, and thus far it’s been a great experience. One of the better features of each of the included apps are the “Inspectors” that format anything from text, pictures, effects, and more. This feature is most obvious in Keynote. Keynote is a fantastic application, but the point of this post is to provide a word to the wise…

Formatting between Office 2007/2003 and iLife 08 is, for most of the applications, a fairly seamless process. Aside from the usual issues with font support and spacing, or as with Numbers, it’s the fact that there isn’t support for macros. Keynote is a little different in that while you can export your presentation to PowerPoint, I don’t suggest it. Let me explain:

I had to build a presentation for work. Something nice and corporate. And rather than use PowerPoint (hey, I’ve gotta get a dig in somewhere at work, don’t I???), I used Keynote, knowing that I could eventually export it to PowerPoint. Wow. Was I in the wrong on that one… Exports to PowerPoint get completely hosed in the process. Now, your expectation is that things like transitions would obviously be different, but it goes a little deeper than that. JPG’s got blown out, trashed, moved, shat upon, you name it. Timing became an issue on every slide. And of course, fonts that were specific to my Mac got lost in translation on the move to PowerPoint. You can also export to Quicktime, Flash, PDF, an image, and the iPod. Strangely, going in the other direction (from PowerPoint to Keynote) seems to preserve most of the formatting, so if you’ve got something that you’re working on at the office that you need to finish (and finesse!), you can pull out your Mac and perform some Keynote voodoo. Maybe even impress your friends and co-workers!

Even with its’ limitations, I firmly believe that Keynote is (on its’ own) a great presentation app. Just save yourself some frustration and play in your own sandbox on this one.

Excelsior!