Is there an easy way to open Keynote files on a Windows PC? My colleagues all use Macs.

Keynote may well be the best presentation software package you can buy - or get for free with any new Mac - but if truth be told it isn't the most widely used. That honour still belongs to PowerPoint, and while it's possible to open that program's files in Keynote, the reverse is a little more complicated. Fret not, though, because in this tutorial we show you how to edit .key files in Windows.

Related: Apple Keynote Review10 Apple Keynote Tips | Alternative to Apple's Keynote or PowerPoint for Mac

What is a .key file?

When you create a new presentation in Keynote the file is automatically saved in the .key format. This is different from, say, PowerPoint, which uses the .pptx format, or Microsoft Word, which uses the .docx variety. Essentially they all do the same thing, but not all applications can open each type of file.

The main issue for Keynote users is that PowerPoint is unable to read .key formats and therefore makes it a bit awkward to easily move presentations between the platforms. It can be done, though, as we'll explain below.

Exporting a Keynote presentation in a PowerPoint format

If you're the creator of the Keynote presentation then it's actually very easy to convert it into a PowerPoint format that your Windows friends can open.

The first thing you need to do is find the file in question, open it, then go to the menu bar at the top and click File > Export To > PowerPoint.

How to edit Keynote files on Windows: Exporting a Keynote presentation in a PowerPoint format

This will open a new window that asks you to confirm that you want to Export to PowerPoint. Exporting creates a duplicate version of your Keynote presentation, so be assured that your original remains intact. The new one is simply in a format that can be opened on a Windows PC.

Before you create the new file try clicking on the grey arrow next to Advanced Options.

how to edit keynote files on windows

This reveals a dropdown menu where you can select the exact format you want. Usually the .pptx is the one you'd choose, but if the person to whom you're sending the file is using an older version of PowerPoint (circa 1997-2003) then you can opt for .ppt instead.

Click Next, name the file and where you want to store it, then click Export. A copy of the presentation should now be found in the folder you selected, replete with a .pptx extension at the end. This means you can now send it to your Windows chums and they'll be able to open it just like any other PowerPoint file.

Using iCloud to edit Keynote on a Windows PC

If the Keynote file wasn't created by you, or you don't have access to a Mac, then it takes a little more effort to open a .key presentation.

The easiest way is to use iCloud, Apple's online portal, which includes web versions of Pages, Numbers and Keynote. If you're not an existing iCloud user then you can quickly set up a free account. Just visit the iCloud site and click on the Don't have an Apple ID? option at the bottom of the screen. Follow the instructions and you'll be good to go in a couple of minutes.

Related: How to use iCloud Drive

how to edit keynote files on windows

With you account set up, you now have access to the online version of Keynote. Just log into iCloud with your Apple ID and you'll be presented with a selection of icons for all the different Apple services. Click on the blue Keynote icon to launch the application.

how to edit keynote files on windows  

In the Keynote app you'll see a Settings icon (a gear cog) at the top of the page. Click on this and a dropdown menu will appear, with the option Upload Presentation at the top.

how to edit keynote files on windows

Select this, navigate to your .key file, click Open, and your presentation will appear in the Keynote app.

how to edit keynote files on windows

From here you can either edit the presentation and then save it as a normal .key file again, or if you want to use PowerPoint then you can download a copy in the .pptx format. To do this click on the Wrench/spanner icon in the upper right area of the screen and select Download a Copy from the menu that appears.

how to edit keynote files on windows

Now all that's left to do is choose the PowerPoint format from the windows that appears and you will have a .pptx file that can be opened on your Windows PC.

how to edit keynote files on windows

While many of the features, fonts and formats will be shared across different applications, you might come across a few things that don't quite match up. In these cases it's best to let the software replace them with the ones it recommends. Hopefully most things will go smoothly, and before long both you and your Windows counterparts will be creating beautiful and informative presentations in a harmonious fashion.

Be sure to also check out our How to edit .pages files on Windows and How to install Windows on a Mac articles for more Microsoft/Apple collaborations.