Making a presentation? In this Newbies Guide Miraz Jordan provides first steps for using Apple’s Keynote application.
A presentation isn’t always a big speech to a conference; sometimes it’s showing off photos to friends, or demonstrating a sequence of steps to a group of volunteers.
Apple’s Keynote application is a flexible tool for creating slideshows, training materials, storyboards, and many other types of presentation. It’s very easy to create a presentation, that you can run directly from your computer or export as a PDF, Flash movie, or various other formats.
Choose a theme
When you open Keynote the first action is to choose a theme (Figure 1) and a slide size. A theme is an underlying design for sets of slides: colour schemes and textures, fonts, graphic elements and the like. Many themes are included, but you can easily find more — just search the Web for ‘keynote themes’.
A window opens with the title slide for your presentation, using the theme you chose. To change themes at any time use the Themes button on the Toolbar.
Double-click to edit
New slides often display the words ‘Double-click to edit’. When you double-click that text it disappears so you can enter your own text.
Make a new slide
Click the New button on the Toolbar to create additional slides. This second slide will use a different ‘master’ — probably with a header at the top and space for a bullet list below.
Change the slide master
The slide master is the layout for an individual slide. Select a slide and click on the Masters button on the Toolbar to choose a different format (Figure 2), such as photos instead of bullet points.
To add a photo to a slide either locate a photo in the Finder and drag it in to the slide or click the Media button on the Toolbar and select iPhoto from the pop-up. Then you can drag any photo from the Media Browser onto your slide (Figure 3).
Resize or remove photos
If you don’t want that photo after all select it and press the Delete key. The photo’s removed from the slide, but it’s still safe on your computer.
Your photo may be too big to display the whole picture in the cutout (space for a photo). Click and drag the photo to be able to see the best part in the ‘window frame’ formed by the photo cutout. To see the full photo either choose a master that has a larger photo cutout or click on the photo to select it then click on the Inspector button on the Toolbar. When the Inspector palette appears click on the Metrics button (its icon is a ruler). Adjust the size of the picture using the arrows or type new dimensions.
Add movies in the same way as you add photos. Use the QuickTime button on the Inspector palette (its icon is a blue letter Q) to set options.
Add a soundtrack
To add a soundtrack to play for the whole movie click on the Document Inspector in the Inspector palette — it’s the button at the extreme left. Make sure the Document tab is selected and either drag a sound file in to the Audio well or click the iTunes button to find a sound in your iTunes library, then drag in a soundtrack from the Media Browser that appears (Figure 4). Use the controls in the Document Inspector to control the volume and other settings.
Build a slide with effects
You may have a slide with several elements — perhaps bullet points — that you’d like to bring in one at a time (Figure 5). Select the slide and call up the Inspector palette. Click on the Yellow diamond icon to view the Build Inspector. Click on the Build In button to choose effects for making the slide appear. Choose effects from the Effect pop-up (Figure 5). The preview pane at the top of the Build Inspector shows you what it will look like. You may find you can specify detailed options.
Transition between slides
Would you like to click each time you want the next slide, or use a timer to move the presentation along automatically? Should each slide simply replace the one before it, or would you like a fancy spinning cube or dissolve effect?
To apply the same transition to all slides first select one in the Slides area of the Keynote window and then choose Edit > Select All. Now call up the Inspector palette and click on the Slide Inspector (second button from the left), then click on the Transition button. Now choose an effect (Figure 6) and any options for that effect. You’ll see a preview in the preview area of the Slide Inspector.
Tune up the presentation
Select the first slide and click the Play button in the Toolbar. Watch your presentation carefully and see where you can improve it. Press the Esc key on your keyboard to escape from the presentation and edit your slides.
If a slide’s in the wrong place drag it in the list of slides to its new position. Control click on a slide to see a menu of interesting possibilities.
Keynote is part of the iWork suite that also includes Pages. It costs approx NZ$110 from your Apple dealer.
First published in Macguide magazine Issue #28 July / August 2006 and republished with permission. This article has been modified from the original. First published August 2006.
Update February 2008: if you’re making presentations then do yourself and your audience a favour: look at Garr Reynold’s Presentation Zen Design: Simple Design Principles and Techniques to Enhance Your Presentations (affiliate link). He writes articles and tips that will dramatically improve your presentations. He shows examples from the best presentations in the world (and the worst). This is must-read material.