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Make your iOS presentations look as good as the desktop

If, like me, you’ve been following the presentation revolution that’s been championed on Twitter by people like Natalie May (@_NMay) and Ross Fisher (@ffolliet and www.prezentationskills.blogspot.co.uk) then you’ll know that bullet points are out, and punchy images and fonts are in.  You might even have tried something like Canva (www.canva.com) to make creating stylish presentations even easier. But there can be some problems in translation of your masterpieces to the iPhone and iPad.

The Problem

I like to create and edit presentations on my Mac.  I tend to use a mix of Keynote and Powerpoint depending on what I’m doing.  Sometimes I’ll take my MacBook with me to deliver the presentation, but a lot of the time I prefer to travel light and attach my iPad or iPhone to the projector.  This works really well in all regards except one: fonts.

Keynote presentation with original font
A striking font in your original Keynote presentation…
Keynote presentation with substituted font
… can become boring when the font has been substituted

While it’s easy to install fonts on the Mac itself, there’s no easy way to transfer these to an iOS device.  iOS has a limited set of built-in fonts, and if you try to open a presentation containing another font then it will be substituted.  The impact of your slide can easily be lost because of this.

Font substitution dialog
The font substitution warning tells you that your original font is not available

The Solution

Custom fonts can be installed into iOS, but only through the use of a ‘configuration profile’.  A profile is a way of installing pre-configured settings onto the device, for example WiFi network details, security certificates or – in this case – fonts.  There is no font manager app, but the Settings app deals with installing and managing profiles.

AnyFont App LogoTo create the profile that you will need to install the fonts, you’ll need an app.  I use AnyFont (http://www.anyfont-app.com) which is available from the Apple App Store here.  It costs £1.49 and is well worth the investment.  (Other font apps are available).

There are several steps involved in getting a font into iOS:

Step 1: Transfer the Font Files to iOS

This can be done in several ways:

  • Transfer the files to AnyFont via iTunes when your iOS device is plugged in via USB
  • Open a font file in AnyFont by using the ‘Open In…’ menu in another app, for example Mail or Dropbox

AnyFont supports TTF, TTC and OTF fonts and will also accept a ZIP file of fonts (useful when transferring a whole font family or a number of fonts together).  It will automatically expand the ZIP file and extract the fonts from it.

I use Dropbox to transfer the font files.  I save the fonts I want to Dropbox, and then open them in the Dropbox app.

 

Uploaded font in Dropbox
Uploaded font in Dropbox

I then use the ‘Open In…’ menu to open them in AnyFont.

Use the 'Open In...' menu to open the font in AnyFont
Open the file in AnyFont using the ‘Open In…’ menu
AnyFont appears as an option in the menu
AnyFont appears as an option in the menu

Once opened in AnyFont, the fonts appear in the list.

Once opened, the font appears in AnyFont

Step 2: Choose which Fonts to Install

A single font can be installed in AnyFont by tapping on its name.  The configuration profile will be named after the font.

To install multiple fonts, there is a checkmark button at the top of the font list which allows you to select multiple fonts when tapped.

Installing multiple fonts is easy – tap the checkmark button at the top of the list then check the fonts you want to install

You can then choose a name for the multiple font profile.

You can choose a name for the multiple font profile – in this case ‘Cabin Sketch’

Step 3: Install the Fonts

The fonts can then be installed by tapping the configuration profile icon.

Tap on the profile icon to install the font profile

This opens the Settings app, which will show you details of the profile.

The Settings app will show you details of the profile

Tap ‘Install’ to install it.  A confirmation message confirms that you will be installing a font.

A confirmation message confirms that you are installing fonts

Tap ‘Next’. As the profile has not been digitally signed, a warning dialog appears to tell you about this.  Tap ‘Install’ to accept this warning.

A warning dialog tells you that the profile is not digitally signed. Tap ‘Install’.

Tap ‘Install’ on the final dialog to install the fonts.

Tap ‘Install’ to install the font profile

Safari will open with a ‘localhost’ address – this is the way that the Settings app retrieves the font and profile from AnyFont. It will then be installed and a confirmation dialog displayed.  Tap ‘Done’ to exit the profile installation.

The Settings app will display a confirmation when your fonts have been installed

Step 4: Use the Fonts

The fonts that you have installed can now be used.  They will show up in saved presentations and will also be available to choose from the iOS font picker when you are changing text in iOS.

The fonts will be available in the iOS font picker for use in most apps

 

Note: If you have already opened a Keynote presentation and a font has been substituted before you install the fonts you need, then you will have to open your presentation in Keynote for iOS and reset the desired font for the text in Keynote.  The substitution does not automatically recognise that the font is now available.  Powerpoint will recognise the new font if it is closed and restarted.

The Result

You’ll now be able to deliver your presentations from your iOS device the way that you designed them on your Mac!

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