David Papp Blog

Using your iPhone/iPad for PowerPoint presentations on the go

I am on the go frequently and am asked to make short (and long) presentations. I have become very comfortable with Microsoft PowerPoint and built up a repertoire of reusable content that I update. I know those who have all their devices in the Apple world like to use Keynote which has its own set of benefits.


If you want to display your presentation on an external device (such as a monitor, TV, or projector), you need to purchase a Lightning Digital AV Adapter (AV = Audio Visual). This adapter plugs into your modern iPhone or iPad device through the lightning port and provides 2 connections: an HDMI connection which is used to connect to an external display and a lightning port which can be used to charge your device while in use during the presentation.

It is optional to connect the AC power adapter to your AV Adapter lightning port. If your presentation is short and you have enough battery remaining, you can opt to not need the extra cable and finding an available power outlet.

Note you also need a regular HDMI cable if one is not provided at the facility where you are presenting. I highly recommend you purchase a long Redmere HDMI cable from Monoprice. They are ultra slim and very portable. I also use these for the majority of all my home theater cabling. It makes things very clean and helps reduce cable clutter due to bulky cables. As an aside, I highly recommend Monoprice where I buy most of my cabling and their prices are great.


Download the free Microsoft PowerPoint app onto your iPhone/iPad.


In order to access your PowerPoint files, you have several available options. Currently you can have your files located in:

  • OneDrive
  • OneDrive for Business
  • Dropbox
  • Box
  • SharePoint Site
  • iCloud Drive

I already make use of Dropbox and it is my preferred choice. Dropbox is also free.


Dropbox offers a feature that I really love: Make Available Offline. If you have Dropbox installed on your workstation, create a folder called “Presentations” and copy your PowerPoint files there. You can also do this using a web browser on their website. Next open the Dropbox app on your iPhone/iPad and find your PowerPoint files you will be using. To the right of each filename is an arrow pointing down indicating extra actions for that file, one of them is Make Available Offline. By selecting that option on the files you require, you will have these files available to you even without a data connection. No need to have a reliable WiFi or cell connection to ensure your presentation works, one less thing that can go wrong.


You have all of the above ready and you should test it out. Set your mobile device to airplane mode, open PowerPoint on your iPhone/iPad, select the “Open” menu option, select “Add a place” to connect to your Dropbox files, find the Presentations folder, select your PowerPoint file and there is a Play button near the top right. You should be able to see everything on your external display as soon as you connect the Lightning Digital AV Adapter to the HDMI port. Ensure you have selected on your TV/Projector the correct HDMI source/input port.

If you have an Apple Watch, PowerPoint for iPhone allows you to control your presentations from your wrist with the ability to navigate between slides and also see the elapsed time or total number of slides in your deck.

Being a road warrior and carrying these small extra cables with you wherever you go, will enable you to give presentations on the fly with minimal preparation required. If you make a habit of copying your presentations to your Dropbox folder (or working directly within), you will always have what you need at your fingertips. There are also many handheld portable projectors in the market over the past few years, commonly called Pico Projectors. These allow you to easily project onto many surfaces such as a blank wall for quick on the go presentations using a projector that fits in your hand. Here is a list of the top 10 Pico Projectors.

5 thoughts on “Using your iPhone/iPad for PowerPoint presentations on the go”

  1. We currently use lightening cables with all of our iPads (1200+) but are starting to roll out Apple TV to our meeting venues.
    When it works, it is brilliant but it does have it’s glitchy moments.

    Our main hurdle we’ve experiences now is the bandwidth usage over our LAN, something that of course a wired lightening cable negates LAN limitations

  2. Whenever I need to make a presentation with my iPad, I just prefer to take an Apple TV box with me. The set-up is usually painless, and I don’t need to have long winded discussions with the IT team. Of course, sometimes I can have issues when the Wi-Fi signal is not strong, in which case I set up a local Wi-Fi hotspot.

  3. Because I’m a programmer/IT guy I always have a backpack with all kinds of cables, external hard drives, my laptop and tools that are useful for these types of situations.
    Nowadays I only use Powerpoint on my phone, it’s basically the same thing but it’s much more convenient to use it on my LG G4. Always make sure to have a pluggable memory stick handy, you never know when stuff happens.

  4. I tend to do a lot of Power Point presentations on school and I’ve really thought about buying one of this adapters, because sometimes is not that practical to carry the laptop all the way to my school, it’s kind of heavy and sometimes it seems a little bit useless to use it just for those 15 minutes. I just ended this semester but I’m pretty sure that I’m going to buy one of those when summer it’s over.

    Thanks for sharing!

  5. Is there any way to actually make power points on an iphone? Based on this article, it seems like you can only use your iphone to show a powerpoint. Obviously, a phone isn’t the ideal way to put together a presentation due to the screen size touch controle, but I feel like it could be a great tool in a bind or if you want to get some extra work done on a long train or bus commute.

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