PowerPoint for Mac is an abomination

It’s inferior in every way to PowerPoint for Windows

I run an event called Ignite Sydney, which is a regular presentation evening where around 15 speakers give a PowerPoint presentation before an audience of around 500 people.

Each presentation consists of 20 slides which auto-advance after 15 seconds, giving a series of 5-minute presentations. It sounds crazy but it’s loads of fun.

As the curator, I need to process every speaker’s slides and compile them into a single slide deck, so I can seamlessly show all of the presentations on the night. Using PowerPoint for Windows this is a breeze, but PowerPoint for Mac makes this unnecessarily painful.

The master slide deck is pretty big and complicated. PPT for Windows handles it — PPT for Mac shits itself

PowerPoint for Mac sucks in so many ways — let me count a few.

Keep Source Formatting

I start with a master slide deck which has a default template, but each presenter uses their own template to create their slides. When copy-pasting each presenter’s slides into the master slide deck, I need to keep the source formatting.

On PowerPoint for Windows, this is a simple as hitting Copy then Paste, and a handy popup appears which allows you to choose Keep Source Formatting. Or you can right-click then immediately choose Keep Source Formatting.

On PowerPoint for Mac, you need to choose the Home tab, then find the down-arrow beside the Paste tool, and choose Keep Source Formatting. After doing this 15 times, the novelty definitely wears off.

Insert Photo Album

Often the presenters give me a Keynote file, or a series of PhotoShop images, and I need to import these into PowerPoint. (Why not just use Keynote? I’d love to, but the vast majority of the speakers give me PPT files so it’s just easier to go with PowerPoint.)

On PowerPoint for Windows, it’s as simple as choosing > Insert > Photo Album, and each of the 20 images automatically becomes an individual slide — done.

This function doesn’t exist on PowerPoint for Mac, so it’s a total pain in the arse to create new slides from the individual images. If you try to import multiple images simultaneously, they’re all added to a single slide <facepalm>.

Embed Fonts

It’s common for the presenters to use funky fonts in their presentations. Using PowerPoint for Windows there’s an option to Embed Fonts directly in the slides, so they work seamlessly on my laptop.

PowerPoint for Mac can’t read the embedded fonts, and can’t itself embed fonts into the slides. This means that the slides look terrible on my laptop, unless I obtain and install the fonts. #FontFail

It doesn’t fucking work

I’ve saved the biggest problem until last. During the last event, in front of 500 people, PowerPoint simply gave up and displayed a blank white screen on 2 occasions during one hapless speaker’s presentation.

Admittedly the slide decks I work with are large, with a few videos, around 400 slides, and coming in at 650 Mb in size. But PowerPoint for Windows has never struggled with decks like this, on the same modern MacBook with 16Gb of RAM, when running on Parallels.

I no longer trust PowerPoint for Mac

The lesson I learnt last night is that PowerPoint for Mac just isn’t reliable enough to use in front of an audience. From now on I’ll use PowerPoint for Windows on a virtual machine. PowerPoint for Mac belongs in the Trash.


You can see videos from previous Ignite Sydney events at http://www.ignitetalks.io/ignite-sydney