PowerPoint Presentations on iPad: A review of SlideShark

SlideShark website screen shot

As the owner of a small business, I regularly present to clients and potential clients. As more and more business meetings take place away from office settings, I find myself delivering presentations in coffee shops and cafés. While I love my MacBook Pro, it can be cumbersome when talking through my slides, while trying to avoid knocking a latte or cappuccino off the small sized tables at my local coffee shop.

Last week I decided to start using my iPad for presentations. Inspired by this choice, I was blazing through the creation of a new PowerPoint presentation about lbdesign, when I suddenly realized a flaw in my plan: how was I going to get my PPT files to display on the iPad?

A quick internet search and I had my answer: SlideShark.

Moving PPT files to the iPad

SlidesharkThe concept behind SlideShark is wonderfully simple: keep creating presentations on the same program that you have been for years … but deliver those presentations on the light, easy to carry iPad. Through SlideShark, you can transfer PowerPoint presentations to your iPad and have them available anywhere, regardless of whether you have an internet connection.

Racing to complete my presentation on time, I could spare only scant attention to the process of downloading and configuring SlideShark. It could not have been easier. I hit the App Store on the iPad, searched for SlideShark and then tapped the install button. As the install progressed, I returned my focus to my PPT file.

My presentation completed and saved locally, I returned to the iPad. Registering an account was an easy and straightforward process. The app configured, I switched back to my MacBook Pro to upload the presentation to SlideShark via its website. My presentation was bigger than I normally create – 5.6MB. Still, Slideshark crunched through the conversion process in only a few moments. Then all I had to do was sync the Slideshark app on the iPad with my online account and — Whammo! — my presentation was on the iPad.

The beauty of SlideShark is its simplicity. Never once did I need to review the demo or surf to the help section on the SlideShark website. The process of uploading, converting and transferring my PowerPoint presentation to the iPad was seemless and quick.

My Slideshark Wishlist

Slideshark is a new app and I accept that it may not have all the features that the smart people at BrainShark might eventually include. If I could one add one feature to the existing app, it would be more advanced slide transitions; Slideshark currently only offers a basic right-to-left slide transition. The beauty and style of the iPad certainly calls for more exciting changes between slides. Still early days for this powerful new app, but that’s one feature that would make Slideshark even more impressive.

28 thoughts on “PowerPoint Presentations on iPad: A review of SlideShark”

  1. Thank you Liam for the compliments on our newly launched app. We appreciate your review and the review of your readership – and we’re excited to see the great press it’s getting!

    Of course we love getting product suggestions and enabling additional transitions is a great one. Our intention is to keep the integrity of the PowerPoint, and not necessarily move away from the author/designer’s original intent. That way you’re not managing two differing versions. So if we were to approach this, we’d start with what PowerPoint offers, and then, who knows…maybe we do come up with a few fun ones as well.

    Thanks for installing SlideShark. I hope it helps you land that next client.

    David Klein
    Product Director, Brainshark
    t. @slidesharkapp

  2. Hi David,

    Thanks for visiting my lowly site and for your insightful comment. You raise an excellent point about not mixing versions. Very clear why you are the product director and I am just the user.

    I’ve no doubt that SlideShark will be of use in landing that next big project.

    Thanks again for the great product!

  3. It’s great to see someone out there putting their head(s) to the problem and getting a solution available.

    It’s a shame (but not for Brainshark) the folks at Microsoft haven’t gotten their game face on.

  4. You should also try SlideGo. Also converting to iPad format though not directly comparable to SlideShark. The site focuses on content authoring rather than presentation. But since it outputs pure HTML5, you may find some other uses (when you need interactivities, or need publish your design to web…).

  5. This is a great little app. Works perfect for viewing all my transitions and custom animation for teaching props. The one thing I wish is that you could copy the ppt directly to the Slide Shark to view the app in case you don’t have internet access; instead of uploading to the website and then downloading back down to your ipad. It is a good feature for sharing with teams, but it would be great to do both. I assume there is no way to do this currently? Thanks for the great app!

  6. Hi Steph,

    Are you asking if it’s possible to use Bluetooth to transfer a PPT file from your computer directly to your iPad, using the Slideshark app?

    As it stands, Slideshark relies on its web servers to convert the PPT file into something that will display nicely on the iPad. Skipping the online process, while understandable from a usability standpoint, presents issues to the way that Slideshark currently works. I suppose the conversion process could happen on the iPad (rather than via the Slideshark server), but that really would fundamentally change the way that the app functions.

    Dropbox to Slideshark, all on the iPad
    Just yesterday, I was asked if it was possible to transition a PPT file from Dropbox on an iPad into Slideshark. I tried to do so via Safari on the iPad, but the Slideshark website does not allow for PPT uploads from an iPad … or at least so I think it does not. Certainly the upload functionality is not readily visible from the Safari browser. (That may be a limitation of the iPad OS more than anything else.) I’ll look into this and post an update when I have an answer.

  7. @Liam,

    Within iPad apps, there is typically an “Open In” button that allows you to open that file in one of your installed apps. With the Dropbox app, you’ll find that button on the top right. Once you choose SlideShark from your list (again, it has to already be installed on the iPad), it will open the app and send the PowerPoint file into your account. The content will then appear in your catalog.

    With Box, we have created a cloud-to-cloud transfer of the PPTX using their own ecosystem. You can find the “SlideShark for Box” app on their site (www.box.com/services/slideshark).

    You’re right with regards to uploading from Safari on an iPad. There is no concept of grabbing files from a hard drive on iOS devices. Each app “owns” a file until it’s shared to another app like in the scenario I listed above. So if you access http://www.slideshark.com from your iPad, you won’t see an upload button. If you’re in an app with the actual file, you’ll want to look for that “Open In” button instead.

    Thanks for keeping the conversation going and for continuing to review SlideShark.

    Senior Product Director

  8. Wow! Thanks David, and Liam! Within days I got an easy anwer to my question about using Dropbox to open files in slideshark right from the iPad. Very cool trick to know. Much appreciated.

    Btw, should we be congratulating you on a promo David? Did you move from Product Director to Senior Product Director?

  9. @Conall

    Thank you for noticing! I’m happy to say that Brainshark continues to be a very successful, innovative, stable and growing company. I am enjoying my new role within the organization.

    We’re here if anyone has any other questions (support at slideshark dot com)


  10. I’ve just downloaded this and tested for the first time. This is the perfect solution for me! I’ve been using my iPad2 for presentation since a year ago. Bought other software that is so expensive but couldn’t even display a pie chart (but I’ve got my refund). Finally bought Keynote, which has been tough too – every ppt I have to spend 3-4 hours adjusting the size (yes, it changes all of my charts’ sizes) and have to check whether there are missing bars (yes, somehow it likes to swallow up some of the bars).

    Although Keynote has so many nice slide transitions that can give the hoo-hah effect to the clients, I still prefer this as it saves me a lot of time and no-stress!

    I like what David says that they want to keep the integrity of PPT, this way we have the most compatible format. This is just what I need. Regret I didn’t find this out earlier – you need to do better publicity on this!

    I will definitely recommend this apps to all my friends in the same dilemma.

    BTW, if you can allow us to edit the transition/animation in the App would be great. Sometimes, after downloading, while on the way to the prez, we realized we forgot to build this in the ppt. It would be a pain to go over the upload/download process again. Some animations are important to tell the story (charts can be too crowded).

  11. I liked SlideShark on my Iphone 4 but when I upgraded to IOS v 6.0.1 it stopped working. When I select my slideshow or the default help slideshow it just displays black screens. I can tap the black screens till it gets to “end-of-slideshow” but that is a serious problem. Does anyone have any ideas?

  12. @Roger

    I haven’t heard of that problem occurring. The iPhones here in the office are all running the latest OS. I’d like to echo Liam’s recommendation. Get in touch with our Support team (support at slideshark dot com). They might have you delete the app and re-install to see if that helps – so you could preempt their recommendation prior to your call.

    Thanks for the compliments! We’ve been prioritizing accuracy, security and “presenter’s-best-friend” tools over slide production tools. Changing elements in the PPT after it gets uploaded to us falls into that latter category.

    Enjoy the holiday season and the new year everyone.

    Senior Product Director

  13. Thanks Liam and David.
    I followed the advice given by Slideshark tech support.
    Deleted the APP from my iPhone and then re-installed it. It works fine now.

  14. @ Roger,

    Excellent news!

    @ David,

    Thanks for the great advice and continued support for your fine product. Much appreciated.

    Best wishes to you both for the new year!

  15. This website and the comments convinced me that I needed SlideShark to make my PowerPoint presentations from my iPad. But I did not understand the upload part…I thought I could upload my PP files from my PC to SlideShark. After installing SlideShark, I now see I need another method to get my files from my PC to my iPad. So how do I make that transfer? And what effect will that have on the file format?

  16. David — I hope you are still monitoring this forum.

    I just tried SlideShark and like it except for one MAJOR gripe that could make it a no-go.

    I can find no option to delete a presentation from the SlideShark account and LEAVE it on the device.

    This is a CRITICAL functionality for people with a lot of standard presentations. I can easily load up 10-15Gb worth of presentations (and have more than enough memory to do so on my ipad).

    SlideShark would require that I somhow get my account upgraded to 10-15Gb of storage, an option I don’t even see…and that would certainly be prohebitavely expensive based on your 500Mb pricing.

    Is there a reason the app has been designed to automatically delete presentations from the device when removed from the account? You gave us the option of deleting from the device (lots of space) but leaving on the account (little space). Totally backward from a logical perspective.

  17. Alan — all you need to do is log into SlideShark on your PC. You can also use a cloud service like Dropbox, Skydrive, etc, which SlideShark will link to.

    It really is a great app, if only they had provided the option of deleting presentations from the SkyShark account but still keeping on the device.

  18. @George

    Thanks for trying out SlideShark. I’m glad to see that you like it.

    Our model allows you to manage your content via a cloud-based account. In this manner, you can upload once (via computer or mobile device) and then download to your iPad and/or iPhone – even iPod Touch in some cases. We have made it so that people can delete files from the cloud and it will automatically delete from each device. This is primarily used in multi-user situations where you have a Marketing team managing and removing content so that the Sales people in the same account don’t use outdated material. So there is no option to delete just from the cloud without deleting from all devices.

    Most of our community have stayed under the 100MB limit; many have referred friends or upgraded or get to 1GB, which also gets them more functionality (and a lot more to come); and the business users have purchased Team Edition, that multi-user option that I mentioned, which gives the account 5GB. We’ve adjusted that allowance in some cases.

    We haven’t come across many people like yourself asking for much more storage.


  19. @Alan

    Thank you @George for answering Alan on this. Yes, there are a variety of ways to get your PPTs into your SlideShark account and optimized for any iOS device:
    – Desktop: log into your account at http://www.slideshark.com and upload from any computer
    – Cloud Storage Provider: import your file by securely linking SlideShark to your Cloud Storage account. We just recently added new providers, so we now include Box, Dropbox, EMC’s Syncplicity, Google Drive and Microsoft’s SkyDrive. We’ll be adding more too!
    – Attachment: use the “Open In” function of the device if you receive the PPT via email or some other app.

    Once it’s been optimized, you download it and view or present it to an audience with full support of animations, fonts, design, links, etc.

    Hope that sorts it out for you, Alan. Enjoy!

    Senior Product Director

  20. @David

    Why not just provide the option to not delete from the device? It would be an easy option to add (every bit as simple as the current option to delete from device only…you simply need delete from cloud only).

    I do understand your model, but please understand that many people who use powerpoint presentations are looking for a great presentation app, not a great cloud model. 500Mb – 1Gb is great for the more dynamic presentations we use and change out all the time. But for our library of more static presentations we need to be able to carry around on the iPad without cluttering up limited cloud storage.

  21. PS…you may be having some difficulty translating to real-world need. So let me give you a specific example. I head out to do a 1 or 2 week training seminar with various sales presentations on the side. Training presentations are relatively static and fairly large. I need to have these on the iPad only.

    Some of the sales presentations are customized to people I’m meeting with, and may be tweaked by support in the home office while I’m delivering training — so these live on the cloud until I’m done with them.

    As you can see, there is clear need for ability to store only locally, only cloud, or both. It is a key feature that I’m quite sure other people want as well.

  22. I downloaded SlideShark and found it very convenient to use on the ipad mini.

    However, I use PC to make the pptx presentations and it doesn’t come out well on SlideShark in terms of:
    1) some fonts don’t come out (e.g., copperplate gothic, Berlin sans Demi)
    2) some graphics don’t come out- standard shapes from PC (e.g., block arrows, “doughnuts,” etc)
    3) formats don’t come out right (e.g., spacings, centering, indents, bullets, etc).

    I would like to very much use SlideShark but still can’t. Help please.

  23. I love this app as a real estate agent. But, I was disappointed the slide transitions did not transfer over as it would allow me to give a PREZIO appears but with the comfortable use of PowerPoint that I am used to. I see in 2011 this was considered. Hope the transition slides as in PowerPoint can be included soon! Great app. I had Office App, but slides did not have animations. Thanks for that part!

  24. @ David Thomas

    Hi David,

    I’m figuring that your content is 16:9 – which SlideShark supports – but the iPad is 4:3. So, it simply appears in an envelope format. You will notice that an iPhone’s format is more optimized to the 16:9 sizing.

    If I’m wrong on that, please get in touch with our support team through the app and they should be able to investigate any issues.

    VP, Product Management

  25. Hi Liam, is there any way to move contens of my slideshark to dropbox?
    Thank you
    Best regards

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