If you’re an avid iPhone or Blackberry user, you probably already know about apps that allow you to transfer PowerPoint or Keynote digital slide presentation files to your smartphone, allowing you to review your presentation on its small screen. You can also connect the smartphone to a projector and use it to actually give your presentations.
Your iPad offers this functionality as well; however, when you load the Keynote app ($9.99) into your tablet, you have the ability to create, edit, display, and present digital slide presentations, just like you can do using a laptop computer or netbook. Keynote for iPad is part of the iWork suite of applications, which is Apple’s alternative to Microsoft Office.
Keynote for iPad is compatible with Keynote for Mac as well as Microsoft’s PowerPoint for PC and Mac. Thus, you can transfer presentation files back and forth using several different methods. These wired and wireless file transfer methods are described in detail within my “Word Processing on the iPad Using Pages” article.
Using Keynote for iPad, you can create extremely impressive digital slides and complete presentations, incorporating text, graphics, audio clips, video clips, and other elements. You can also add eye-catching special effects to your digital slides, plus use animated transitions between slides to impress your audience.
When importing PowerPoint presentations created on a PC or Mac, you may discover minor compatibility issued with animations, fonts, and formatting. However, these are easily fixed from within Keynote on the iPad.
To make a presentation to just one or two people, you can use the iPad’s display to show off your digital slide show. However, you can easily connect the iPad to an LCD projector or full-size monitor (using an optional adapter), allowing you to present to an audience of any size. From Apple, you can purchase the optional iPad Dock Connector to VGA Adapter ($29) for connecting the iPad to a monitor or projector. Depending on the location of the projector, an extension cable may also be necessary.
Creating a Keynote Presentation on the iPad
The Keynote app for the Mac or iPad is extremely similar to Microsoft’s PowerPoint in terms of features and functionality, allowing you to create professional-quality and visually impressive digital slide presentations on the iPad from virtually anywhere. Or, you can quickly modify an existing presentation created on a desktop or laptop computer.
Because you’re working with rectangular-shaped digital slides, the Keynote app is designed to work with the iPad while it’s being held horizontally. Once the app is downloaded and installed onto your iPad, tap the program icon to launch it from the iPad’s Home Screen.
The Getting Started screen will be displayed upon the app’s launch (shown in Figure 1). From here, you can create a new presentation from scratch, send an existing presentation to another user or your computer via one of several different methods, load a presentation file from a computer or an online-based file transfer service (such as Apple’s MobileMe), or delete any existing Keynote presentation files currently stored on your iPad.
Figure 1 Keynote’s Getting Started screen.
If you tap on the large “Tap to Get Started with Keynote” presentation icon that’s displayed in the center of the screen, you can view a sample digital slide presentation that explains some of the key features built into this app.
To create a new presentation from scratch, either tap the New Presentation icon located in the upper-left corner of the Getting Started screen, or tap the square icon with the plus sign (+) that’s located at the bottom-center of the screen.
The first step in creating a Keynote presentation from scratch is to select a theme from the Choose a Theme screen (as shown in Figure 2). The app has a dozen professionally created themes you can choose from, each of which has templates for multiple slide formats that can be fully customized.
Figure 2 Choose a template for your presentation.
Upon choosing a theme, the main Keynote screen for creating presentations will be displayed. This screen is divided into three distinct areas. Along the left side of the screen will be thumbnails of each digital slide in your presentation. At the start, all you’ll see is one thumbnail, representing the sample title slide.
Along the top of the screen is a handful of command and menu icons, which we’ll explore shortly. The main area of the screen is where you can view, build, and edit each digital slide, one at a time.
When you opt to create a new slide presentation, Keynote automatically creates a sample title slide based on the theme you’ve selected. For this article, the Showroom theme was chosen. You can start developing your presentation by modifying this slide (shown in Figure 3).
Figure 3 The title slide for the Showroom theme.
When viewing the sample slide, you can tap on any element within it, such as the text-based title or the image, to begin editing it. Or, you can delete the sample slide and start your own presentation using the theme you’ve selected.
To create a new slide, tap the plus sign (+) located in the lower-left corner of the screen. A new window will appear, allowing you to choose a slide format that’s part of your selected theme (as shown in Figure 4). Tap on a slide format, and a blank sample of that slide will be displayed in the main area of the Keynote screen. Now, begin adding your own text and graphics.
Figure 4 Choose a slide format for each new slide you create. The Keynote Command Icons and Menus
Located in the upper-right corner of the main Keynote screen are five command and menu icons. The left-most icon is a circle containing the letter “i”. Tap this icon, and a window will appear containing three main options, including Style, Text, and Arrange. Plus, at the bottom of this new window is an option to access a Style Options submenu.
Tap the Style icon to choose from a variety of different display options for each text element you’ll be adding to each slide. Tap the Text icon to select bold, italic, underline, or strikethrough. You can also choose the heading, subtitle, or a variety of different body text formats (as shown in Figure 5) to truly customize the appearance of your text.
Figure 5 Use the Style options to customize the look of text in your slides.
From the bottom of this window, you can access the Text Options submenu. It allows you to choose your font size, font color, font type, alignment, and inset margin. This submenu window is shown in Figure 6.
Figure 6 From the Text Options window, you can change the look of your text.
Just like PowerPoint or Keynote for Mac, you can create slides containing multiple layers, so text and graphics can be placed on top of each other to create interesting visual effects, especially when using the program’s animation features. After taping the circle icon with the letter “i”, tap the Arrange icon when you have one or more text or graphic elements selected and highlighted within the slide you’re currently creating or editing. This allows you to move a selected layer forward or backward.
Located to the immediate right of the circular icon with the letter “i” is the Picture icon (shown in Figure 7). Tap this icon to import a photo, create a table, insert and customize a chart, or add a graphic shape into the slide you’re creating or editing.
Figure 7 Adding pictures to your presentation is easy.
Once you’ve added a text or graphic element to the slide you’re creating or editing, you can tap one element at a time to highlight it within the slide, and then tap the diamond-shaped icon located at the top-right corner of the screen to begin adding a Build In or Build Out animation. This allows you to add an animated special effect as that particular element of the slide is introduced or exits the slide when it’s being presented.
Keynote offers about two dozen different animation Build In and Build Out options to choose from, such as Appear, Compress, Dissolve, and Flash Bulbs. You can choose your animation option, and then customize it using the command icons located at the bottom of the Build In or Build Out window (as shown in Figure 8).
Tap the Play icon, located in the upper-right corner of this window, to preview how the animation will look. To return to the main slide editing screen, tap the Done icon that’s also located in the upper-right corner of the screen.
Figure 8 Animations and slide transitions will make your presentation more visually interesting.
Tap the wrench icon located in the upper-right corner of the main Keynote screen to access a handful of additional menu options, including Find, Go to Help, Guides, Slide Numbers, and the app’s built-in spell checker. Figure 9 shows the Tools window that appears when you tap the wrench icon.
Figure 9 The Tools screen gives you access to additional features.
The Play icon that appears in the upper-right corner of the screen can be tapped at any time to run your complete slide show (or a portion of it) to preview it in full-screen mode, complete with the animations and added slide transitions.