Keynote 09: Notes to Share

Ludwik Kowalski (see Wikipedia) and
this autobiography

After deciding to learn how to use Keynote, a Macintosh application for slide shows, I started looking for a tutorial. My goal was to quickly master what is needed to create simple slide shows. The first Apple guide I found, by Googling, was

It did not take me too long to realize that this very good (250 page) tutorial is not for me. Why should I spend time trying to learn about things I will never use? The second tutorial, written by Matt Fuller (only 24 pages), was much better in that respect. The link is:

But I wanted something simpler. Not able to find it, and knowing that teaching is a very effective way to learn, I decided to produce this set of notes. They are expected to be sufficient for a person who has some experience with computers, and with a word processor. Keynote--one of the three components in iWork--is a Macintosh application, similar to Power Point in Microsoft Office. A person reading my notes is expected to practice what s/he learns, using Keynote (version 09) installed on a Mac computer.

Note 1
Please do what is described here on your computer. Start the application, for example by clicking on its icon in the dock. The window that opens is called THEME CHOOSER. Ignore nearly everything in this window, except two things.

(a) First is the SLIDE SIZE menu, near the lower right corner. Make sure size 1024 X 768 is selected. That is likely to be sufficient, in most cases. More about this will be said later.

(b) Second is a box labeled WHITE. Double click on it, to create the first slide. Why am I asking you to start by working with a WHITE option? Because to understand other options one has to be familiar with the idea of "theme." I do not want to be distracted by that idea, at this stage. Follow me and you will learn how to create a simple slide show very quickly.
Examine your computer screen carefully, to identify the components. The top area, called the MENU BAR, shows that the active application is Keynote. As you know, menus are used to select commands. The second component is the Keynote INTERFACE WINDOW. You will soon be using it to create a slide show. But first pay attention to the four parts of that window:

(a) The TOOLBAR, containing icons of commands. The left-most icon "NEW" is used to create a slide, the second icon "PLAY" is used to start showing your slides, etc. Ignore other icons; for the time being.

(b) The FORMAT BAR displays icons of formatting commands; most of which are no different from those found in word processors.

(c) The left sidebar is the NAVIGATOR. It is a place where icons representing existing slides are displayed. For the time being the NAVIGATOR shows only one empty slide. Click the NEW icon and look at the NAVIGATOR; another empty slide was added to your document.

(d) The biggest area of the INTERFACE WINDOW is called CANVAS. It represents the screen on which the slide will be projected during a show. During the editing stage CANVAS displays the content of a slide selected in the navigator. By "editing" I mean populating a slide with objects, and with making changes in these objects. Only two kinds of objects will be described below, text and pictures.

Note 2
Note 1 showed you how to start creating a slide show. A slide show is a Keynote document, usually containing more than one slide. Documents must have names, like documents created in other applications. The name of the document is always displayed at the top of the TOOLBAR. The document we started to create was named UNTITLED. Suppose we want to name it SHOW1, and place its icon at the desktop. To accomplish this one does the same thing as in naming a word processing document.

Go to the FILE menu and choose the SAVE AS... command. The dialog of that command has places for typing the desired name, for indicating the location (such as desktop) and saving the file (the SAVE button). Please practice; make sure that the document SHOW1 is saved on your desktop. Do not worry that it has only two empty slides. We will add content to them shorttly. And you already know how to create new slides. Do not hesitate to use the SAVE command, also from the FILE menu, to save a document while you are working on it (without renaming). This can be accomplished with the SAVE command, also from the FILE menu.

Why am I reminding you about things that you already know? Because being a retired teacher I kown that learning is effective (and pleasant) when one proceeds from what is known to what is new. We will start learning new things in the next note. For the time being close the document you are working on and make sure that the SHOW1 icon is displayd on the desktop. Use it to open the document, and continue our task, populating slides with content.

Note 3
As you can see, after opening the SHOW1 file, the content is the same as before saving; the NAVIGATOR displays our two slides. Click on the second slide, to select it. The CANVAS of that slide shows two text boxes. Each box contains the "Double-click to edit" text.

A text box is an object belonging to a slide. Another kind of object that a slide can contain is a picture. You will learn about slides with pictures in Note 6. Be aware that any object in a CANVAS can be selected by single-clicking on it. Please select the second text box. A selected box can easily be recognized, as you see. It can also be deleted by pressing the DELETE key, on the keyboard. Please delete the lower box of the selected slide. Then select the top box and also delete it.

Now we are ready to learn how to begin creating a slide from scratch. Before going ahead let us delete the first slide. First select it (in the NAVIGATOR), then press the DELETE command from the EDIT menu. The document now has only one slide. SAVE the document now. Frequent saving is a good habit in all applications.

Planning to start with empty slides we might create several such slides. To accomplish this select the existing empty slide and execute the DUPLICATE command, from the EDIT menu. Do this ten times to create ten additional empty slides. Any existing slide, not only an empty one, can be duplicated in that way.

Note 4
The slides we created have no objects in them. Let us create a text box in the first slide. To accomplish this select this slide and click on the T icon, in the toolbar. The text object appears in the CANVAS; it is already selected. An object can be repositioned by dragging. And it can be resized by dragging the border handles. Please resize it horizontally now. Then position it closer to the top of the CANVAS.

Next double-click the word "text," and start typing something else, preferably a long sentence or two. Notice that what you type is automatically wrapped around, as needed. Do not press the RETURN key, unless you want to start another paragraph. This is not different from what you do in a word processer. Another similarity with the word processor is that what has been typed can be selected and then deleted, by pressing the DELETE key. After deleting something, a single word or the entire textbox content, you can type something else.

What else can you do with a selected text? You can format it's content with familiar commands from the formatting toolbar, for example, you can change the font, its size, its color, etc. This is also very similar to what you do in a word processor. And nothing prevents you from creating more than one text box in one canvas, and to format the text in each box differently. Just keep in mind that font sizes should not be too small, otherwise people would not be able to read the content on a distant screen. The minimum recommended size is 28 pixels. That puts a limit on how much text can be placed into one slide.

Note 5
Presenting your slide show to others on your computer screen is very simple. You can do this by clicking on icons of consecutive slides in the NAVIGATOR. Or you can click the PLAY icon, in the TOOLBAR. This puts the computer in the so-called "display mode." The screen becomes black and only the canvas is displayed. Press the RETURN key to advance from one slide to another. Another way to advance is to click on the mouse, or to press the SPACE bar. You can terminate the display mode at any time, by clicking the ESC key, on the keyboard. To present a show to a large audience, for example at a conference, one would have to connect the computer, usually a laptop, to a conference projector. A conference technician is likely to be available to make sure that all is done properly. One possible problem has to do with the requirement that the screen size of the projector should match the slide size, usually 1024 by 768 pixels.

Homework 1
Create a document for a slide show and save it as SHOW2. Then display it to a group of three to five friends. The document should contain at least five slides; the topic should be "Drinking wine: yes, no, and why." Feel free to change the topic, if you wish.

Note 6
It is time to learn about slides with pictures. I will assume that a picture to be shown already exists in the form of a jpg file, for example a file created by a digital camera or a scanner. Suppose the icon of this file is on the desktop. Please open the SHOW2 file and select one of your empty slides.

I am doing the same thing now. I drag the icon of the photo file into the CANVAS of the selected slide. The picture appears in its own picture box. It is already selected. But it is too large to fit the canvas. I resize the picture and drag it toward the top of the object box. Then I create a text box, position it below the picture and type "Ludwik with his happy parents, 1936." This is a slide containing both a picture object and a text object. Nothing prevents me from adding a small picture to a slide with already existing text boxes, or from placing two pictures into a slide.

Homework 2
Add a picture to one of the slides of your SHOW2 document. After accomplishing this you can call yourself an amateur Keynote user. Your slide shows would probably be criticized by professional designers. To learn how to create high quality slides learn more from the User Guides mentioned in the introduction. Personally I do not want to be a professional Keynote designer. I want to concentrate on the content of my presentations, not on their artistic qualities. What I already know is likely to be sufficient for my forseeable needs.

P.S. The link to this mini-tutorial is

Feel free to share it with those MAC users who might also be interested. Thank you in advance.

Ludwik Kowalski