Short answer: “yes” with an “if”.
Yes, the files created on a Windows machine can be read and played on a Mac – if some minor work is done before and after. Viewing Windows-created files in PowerPoint on a Mac should be, for the most part, pretty painless, but there are several points that need to be taken into account to ensure an entirely hiccup-free experience.
Mostly Windows-created PowerPoint animations are interpreted just fine on a Mac, however certain animations such as ‘Fade’ and ‘Descend’ can sometimes become lost in translation and may act unexpectedly when you’re presenting. The way animations can behave varies between versions, so it’s best to double check that your animations all act as you expect them to before you stand up to present.
Once you’ve checked the animations are behaving as they should, the next stumbling block would be multimedia content. The major issue here will be the format of the multimedia file – PowerPoint for Windows requires a video to be in WMV format whereas its Mac cousin demands AVI or MOV formats. There’s really no easy way around this cross-platform issue except a workaround involving third party tools (e.g. flip4mac). Your video file would need to be converted to a Mac-friendly format and re-embedded in the file.
One last issue that deserves an honourable mention is the Mac’s inability to handle embedded fonts. If your presentation uses specific, custom fonts, they will need to be installed on each Mac you want to display the presentation on. A minor point, but one that may cause issue when you need to create a deck that adheres to strict corporate guidelines.
If you take these issues into account, you should be able to view your Windows presentation on a Mac without too much pain!