How to Create Your Own Free iPad Templates for Keynote

The recent update to Keynote, brought the ability to import presentations complete with master slides and preset styles. So, this got me thinking. How could I take advantage of this new feature? Well, here is a simple, but straightforward way to do just that and create some free iPad templates for Keynote to supplement the 12 themes that Apple gives you as a default on the iOS version. If you already have the desktop versions of Keynote, or PowerPoint, this method will cost you nothing at all!

Start by opening Keynote, or PowerPoint, on your Mac/PC and choose a template for your presentation. It does not need to be any longer than one slide. Next, you need to add that presentation to your iPad. (Mountain Lion users can save it to iCloud, but you can also email it to your iPad or save it to Dropbox and Open in… Keynote).

Repeat for as many templates as you would like to bring over to the iPad, and organize them by creating a folder for these new templates, like in the image below. You can group presentations together on the iPad version of Keynote simply by dragging one on top of another to create a new folder. I went a step further and renamed each presentation to the name of the original template, but this is optional.

Free Keynote Templates for the iPad

Now, these aren’t new templates in the strictest sense of the word, because once you start editing one of these, it will automatically save your new content, so here is what you need to do. DUPLICATE the file before you start working on it and work on a copy of the original template you brought over. You do this by tapping Edit in the top right hand corner, tapping the presentation you want to duplicate, and then tapping the duplicate button, (see below).

Duplicate Templates in Keynote

Rename your newly duplicated presentation by tapping the name under the thumbnail and then open it when you are done. Before the latest Keynote update, the user would go to add a page to a PowerPoint file, and be greeted with eight blank slide layouts that rarely matched the theme. However, when you go to add a new slide to your presentation now, all the original master slide layouts are an available, (see below).

Adding new slides in Keynote iPad

Simply repeat ad nauseum, and when you get tired of the presentation templates you have, go find some more! The new Keynote for iOS is great at bringing over those master slide layouts, although I have noticed it works a lot better with Keynote than it does with PowerPoint. It will still give you some nice new slide layouts for PowerPoint, but not nearly as many as you get with an imported Keynote file.

Are there apps available in the App Store that do very much the same thing? Yes, but none for free, and the one I have opens a default presentation with over 40 slides. I need to delete the ones I don’t want, and duplicate the ones I do. This takes away some of that hassle and gives you a bunch of free iPad templates for Keynote that you didn’t have before! 🙂

27 thoughts on “How to Create Your Own Free iPad Templates for Keynote”

  1. I start of this school year, I did something with templates in Pages.
    We wanted to do a task template on the news in the classroom. I copied the templates “Boletins” Pages from a shared folder on Dropbox with my students. Then they opened the template chosen from Dropbox directly applying Pages. easy 🙂

    1. I love that idea. You could save a whole collection of templates in that folder for students. Just dont make that your only copy of the document, because when you share Dropbox folders with others, they all have read and write access, so a student could delete your files accidentally (or on purpose!). Maybe experiment with putting them in a Google Drive folder because that can be read only. Students won’t be able to preview the Pages file in the Drive app, but they can use the Open in… function to open it in Pages.

  2. As I have no Mac I cannot use the Mac version of Keynote.
    Can a give me a VERY brief overview about the ESSENTIAL differences between the Mac and the iOS version. Thanks a lot.

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