Apple's Keynote for Mac presentation software comes with features that many users overlook; these features better enable creating, editing, and presenting slide shows. The newest Keynote iteration as of this writing, version 6.6.1 (2560), includes a number of new features, including:
- Keynote '08 and '06 presentation compatibility
- Shared Keynote presentation support within iOS and Android browsers
- Force click images support
- New Line Draw build animation
- Improved recently used font access
- Enhanced OpenType font support, including for contextual fractions
- Added chart reference line support
- Create tables, charts, and shape styles from an image
- VoiceOver support for reading and editing notes
- Improved PowerPoint exporting
In order to ensure you're making the most of Apple's alternative to Microsoft's PowerPoint, I recommend using the following three Keynote features.
Most of us aren't design professionals, so I recommend leveraging Keynote's predefined themes. These preformatted templates unite attractive font styles and object placements with professional designs, and remove the trial and error guesswork associated with trying to create effective slide presentations.
Black, White, Gradient, and Classic are popular themes. Apple recently introduced three new compelling templates — Modern Type, Exhibition, and Drafting — that are bold, colorful, and sketch-like, respectively.
Specifying a theme when creating a new presentation is easy. When creating a new presentation, instead of potentially selecting the same or default Black theme, scroll through the theme options. Be sure to select a few themes and add slides (using the Menu Bar's + Add Slide icon) to view each template's numerous elements, art components, and visuals.
You should also consider changing the default Standard display template. Selecting the Wide button from the Choose A Theme window converts each respective theme to today's more common widescreen format.
It's simple to apply a different theme to a presentation — even if it's already created. Click File from the Menu Bar, select Change Theme, double-click or select the new theme template you wish to apply, and click the Choose button.
2: Split View
Apple introduced Split View with El Capitan. You won't fully realize its usefulness until you use it or see it in action.
Split View provides the ability to use applications physically side-by-side while each app remains in fullscreen mode. The feature better enables multitasking and cross-referencing data between Keynote, Numbers, and/or Pages, for example.
Here's how it works: Let's assume you wish to open Pages and Keynote simultaneously within Split View mode; you can begin by opening Pages and then opening the Keynote presentation. Then, click and hold Keynote's green fullscreen icon (found in the application window's top left corner). After holding the green icon, the left half of the Mac screen will turn blue — release the icon, and the application will enter fullscreen mode, occupying half the screen. Then repeat the process for Pages. You'll end up with both applications open, side-by-side, in fullscreen mode. Viewing and copying information between the two programs becomes exponentially easier as a result.
3: Media Browser
Apple's iWork apps — Pages, Numbers, and Keynote — all pack integrated support for adding customizable art elements, including the ability to use images and logos as chart elements. Keynote also includes the ability to browse, select, and import images and photographs present within the user's Photos app.
Users can access the Photos app, and its Moments, Collections, Years, Shared, Albums, and Faces directories from directly within Keynote. Clicking the Menu Bar's Media icon opens the Media Browser. Users can navigate to specific directories and folders within Photos using the Media Browser, selecting the appropriate source (such as a specific folder within Collections) and double-clicking the intended image to insert the element within a presentation.
Keynote users can also insert a Photos image within a theme's preformatted photo box or other existing image. To do so, right-click the slide's pre-existing image, select Replace Image from the resulting pop-up menu, and locate and select an image from within the Media Browser as described above.
Other Keynote tips?
If you have Keynote tips that you believe would benefit others, post them in the comments.
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Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president of Eckel Media Corp., a communications company specializing in public relations and technical authoring projects.