Software

First Look: Keynote 2

Smoothing the Show

Keynote 2 Presenter Display
One area where Keynote trailed PowerPoint was in tools for presenters. The previous version could show your presentation on the projector while you watched a view with notes on your laptop’s screen. But that was it. As seen in the screenshot, the new Presenter Display option gives you complete control over what you see on your laptop’s screen. You can see some or all of the following: current and next slides, your notes, as well as a clock and a timer counting either elapsed or remaining time. You can even edit the layout of these objects on the laptop’s screen. If you give longer presentations, the ability to have your notes, a peek at the next slide, and feel for your timing available with a quick glance at the screen in an invaluable addition to Keynote.

Beyond Basic Presentations

The new version of Keynote has a few neat features that make it suitable for more than just standard “person talking to crowd” usage. First off, you can set any slideshow to automatically enter Play mode when it’s opened, and you can put it in loop mode, so it just repeats over and over. If you also set the presentation mode to Self-Playing, then the entire presentation will run without any user intervention—all builds and transitions occur without any intervention, with the timings that you set for them. But if you had them set to happen on a mouse click, then you’ll also have to set the two new top-level settings for Build and Transition delays; these timings will then take the place of the mouse click. When combined with Keynote’s amazing 3-D transitions and great handling of images and movies, you can create a self-playing photography portfolio, a display of your sketchwork, or collection of classic movie clips—all of which will just be shown to passersby without any intervention on their part.

Keynote 2 Hyperlink
The other cool new feature in Keynote is the ability to make anything a hyperlink. The inspector has a new Hyperlink section, as seen in the screenshot; you can hyperlink any text or object to an external webpage, to an email message, or to one of a number of slide options (previous, next, first, last, last viewed, or a specific slide number). You can even hyperlink to another Keynote presentation. Using these features together with a new Hyperlinks Only slideshow mode, you can build interactive presentations. For example, put your company’s product catalog into a hyperlinks only presentation, then load it up on an iMac in your lobby, and you’ve got a great way for visitors to pass the time while waiting for an appointment.

Sharing With Others

Presentations often need to be shared—attendees want a copy of your slides, you’d like to make your presentation available via the Web, or someone on a PC needs to edit your work. Keynote has always offered the ability to export to QuickTime, PDF, and PowerPoint, but the new release adds two more—Flash, for easy web display, and Images, which saves each slide as a separate image file (PNG, TIFF, or JPEG). In addition, a few annoying bugs from the original’s export tools have been fixed. PDF export now fully supports transparency, and embedded QuickTime movies no longer cause odd problems when exporting to QuickTime.

Wrap Up

Keynote was a strong presentation creation application in its 1.0 release. With the new version, it’s become an even stronger competitor to PowerPoint. From its seamless integration with iPhoto and iTunes to its greatly improved animation and slide timing features, the new version of Keynote looks like a winner.

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