New to apple and wondering if using keynote is easier than power point.

Hello all,
I have only been using os x for about 6 months, and I was wondering if using keynote is easier than power point? I am in school so I need to know if keynote will save in ppt format. The school that I go to only uses MS office 97 to 2004 format for all docs and power points. Is using keynote that much different?

i find keynote MUCH easier in almost all areas. it did take me a little learning in the beginning. the main thing to know is that apple uses a floating pallet call "inspector" to control just about all the details of the presentation. they also have a "formatting bar" which is conceptually similar to the formatting bars microsoft uses in the previous versions of office (font size, etc...).
the basic entry for slides is the same, where one just types into the fields on the slides. what i find much better is the control i have in the "inspector" to fine tune anything. i've gotten completely dependent on keynotes "staging" which is how one makes the slides animate. if i have a series of bullets and a diagram, i use the staging to get the diagram to be revealed in stages and to get the bullets appear one at a time in sync with the diagram i'm explaining. nothing is more boring for an audience to have someone just stand up, thru up a slide with 100 words and read the text bullets.
i find keynote to be much easier to develop diagrams or to copy and paste in a PDF picture. then add the staging effects i need to develop the story to explain the diagram or picture. it does take a little learning how to do it the first couple times. but the interface is consistent and it's not hard to learn it.
the only aspect i find a little easier in powerpoint is the indenting style, which is controlled in one of the editing buttons in office 11 and before. keynote controls the indenting from the "inspector" instead of having a little button in the formatting bar. but in every other way, i find keynote to be MUCH easier to use. and it has other features that powerpoint doesn't have. plus iwork is very inexpensive compared to microsoft office. finally, if you are near an apple store, they have free seminars on iWork fairly often. the 1st time i used keynote, i went to the apple store workshop and got a few answers. just see how easy it is to get person to person help for microsoft office...
the only other game in town are the various releases of the open source programs, "open office" and "neo office". they are free, also read and write ppt files, but are a little harder to use than keynote and don't have as many features.
anyway, that's my experience.
good luck!

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