When it came on the scene
two years ago, Keynote (
) was really the first viable presentation tool alternative to Microsoft’s PowerPoint on the Mac. While Apple’s offering surpassed PowerPoint in some areas (transitions, graphics handling, professionalism of templates), it fell far short in others (detailed info on slides during presentations, automatic animation options, slide timing). Keynote 2—
unveiled at Macworld Expo
and now shipping as part of the iWork ’05 suite—aims to narrow the gap, while adding even more compelling features.
Here’s a first look at some of the major changes in the latest version of Keynote.
Animation of both objects and text has improved greatly. In the first release, there were just nine options for types of “builds,” which is a shortcut term for animating the text and graphics on your slides. In the second release, there are now 26 different techniques, including choices such as iris, twirl, pop, and cube. In addition, some of these build types work on individual words or characters within a line, as seen in
this movie, which shows the “character compression” build working on a character-by-character basis. In the previous version of Keynote, build effects could only be applied to entire lines.
Transitions are visual effects applied when switching from slide to slide. The original version was best known for its rotating 3-D cube transition, whereby one slide seemingly rotated around a cube to the next. The new version adds a very elegant page flip 3-D transition, and seven additional 2-D transitions, including the cool pond ripple effect seen in
this movie clip.
Text, Web Pages, and Other Objects
Text handling has also gotten some attention in this update. New features allow you to set extra space before and after paragraphs, and bullets and numbering now have their own tab for easier distinction from text-handling features.
You can also embed Web pages directly into presentations. Instead of shooting a picture of a Web page and pasting the image, just insert a Web View, and you’ll have the actual page—and an Update Automatically option will make sure it’s always the latest view, assuming you have a network connection.
There are also six new shapes you can add to slides, including two different arrow styles, a diamond, floating “cartoon-style” quote bubble, and an octagon. This gives you 12 shapes to work with, and with full control over fill color or image, transparency, and line type, you can get quite creative.
You can also easily add text directly to an object; the previous version required adding a new text layer and positioning it on top of the existing object. Now a simple double-click on an object puts the text insertion point in the center of that object, and you just start typing.
Finally, although table handling was already one of Keynote’s strengths, it’s also been improved in this release. The new table tool offers easy creation of row and column headers, precise column and row sizing in pixels, a button to resize cells automatically as content changes, and a set of buttons to quickly select entire rows and columns.