Apple, conference, keynote, powerpoint, Presentations

Essential equipment for your presentation


I am doing a lot of presentations. For about 10 years running Powerpoint on Windows based laptops. And for the last 10 months running KeyNote on a MacBook Pro. First some words on “the switch”.

The experience with the Mac is simply much better. Period. And I am an advanced user that actually have been able to use Powerpoint to play videos, do transitions and behave quite well on all my windows boxes. But KeyNote is in general a better application than Powerpoint. The way it renders the slides, support for better graphics with proper shadows, effects, transitions, alpha channels and everything that simply makes your presentation look better.

And the Mac handles the projector with better stability and ease of use. The video always plays on the projector and the Mac always switch to the proper resolution when the projector is connected. When I save my presentation it is saved like a package that includes the media files. No more “can’t find the movie clip”.


But the best thing is that I always get both the current and the next slide on the screen in front of me while the projector shows the current slide. That makes it possible for me to do presentations with extremely fluent transitions and exact timing. Because I don’t have to memorize the presentation and remember what the next slide will be. I know that this is possible in Powerpoint as well. But my engineering degree has not been enough to make it possible for me to use that function with confidence on the laptops that I have used. On my Mac it simply works. Always.

But I have a couple of mandatory accessories to make the experience even better.


For my Mac I need to remember the converter from DVI to VGA. Apple have this tendency to ditch old technology a couple of years too early. About 1% of the conference halls I have been to support DVI directly. The fact that you need this connector is also the reason why Apple computers have this bad reputation regarding presentations. And personally I think it was a bad decision from Apple to ditch a proper VGA connector on their MacBooks. But let’s go on. I have learned to remember this connector along with my other three mandatory accessories.


My beloved remote. Covered in detail here.


The USB key. Always keep a backup of your presentation on one of these. The full KeyNote copy. In addition to a Powerpoint version and a PDF. Keep the USB key separated from the rest of your equipment. When your laptop gets stolen on your way to that important presentation it is very nice to have a backup in your pocket.


For the advanced users. You only need it in about one out of fifty presentations. But when you need it it is extremely valuable. The VGA amplifier. In some conference halls the cable to the projector is very long. This degrades the quality of the signal. This small device has done wonders a couple of times. Everything from making the image from my computer look way better than the person before me. To making me the only person actually getting an image on the projector.

Google “Extron P/2 DA1 Peaker” or something like that to find a shop near you selling this device. More details: “P/2 DA1 USB”. “Line Driver”. “P/N 60-319-03″. It was pretty expensive where I found it. About $200,-


And the last one. Some small loudspeakers. My experience is that most meeting rooms and conference halls have a projector that works. But the audio might be a problem. Especially in small hotels and meeting rooms. These speakers won’t help you in that large 500 people hall, but is very valuable in a small conference room.

But, as always the most important thing is your content. Start following Presentation Zen immediately. And some valuable advice from earlier eirikso articles here:
Working with one slide
How to avoid making boring presentations
Presenting Software

And my main guideline. Seth Godin’s “Really bad powerpoint“.

And comments are open. Do you have something to add? Something more you want to know about my presentations?