Previous versions of Keynote allowed you to animate charts by using 'builds' – effects that would move the entire chart on or off a slide, or make it fade into view. However, there was no quick and easy way to animate the actual graphics within the chart itself, perhaps to show a set of figures changing month by month. Keynote 6 makes this a lot simpler by adding a new set of 'interactive charts'. Just click the Chart button in the main toolbar at the top of the screen and then select the Interactive tab.
There are four types of interactive chart available – bar, column, scatter and bubble – along with a series of simple colour variations that are chosen to match the colour theme for this particular set of slides. Let's just start with a straightforward column chart. By default, Keynote creates a simple chart with two columns labeled 'Region 1' and 'Region' two, and sets 'April' as the name of the data set. You can change these labels whenever you want, but first of all we need to take a closer look at the data for this chart.
Click 'Edit Chart Data' to open the Chart Data Editor. As well as the 'April' figures for Regions 1 and 2, we can see that the data Keynote has created for this chart also includes additional figures – known as 'data sets' – for May, June and July. When you play this particular slide, Keynote will wait for you to click your mouse or trackpad and will then animate the columns in the chart to show them changing month by month, before stopping the animation when it reaches July. We'll add a few extra figures of our own for Regions 3 and 4 too.
When we return to the chart we can step through the monthly figures by using the horizontal control bar that is located just beneath the chart. It's a little hard to see here but the control bar contains four small dots that represent the four months from April to July that we saw just now in the Chart Data Editor. You can view the figures for each individual month simply by clicking on the relevant dot in the control bar, or hit the Play button to see the chart being animated so that each column rises or falls to reflect the data for each month.
The Format Panel on the right-hand side of the screen is one of the major new features in Keynote 6 on the Mac. It includes all the features that were previously included in the old Inspector palette, such as the ability to change the font used in the chart, or to add a border or background image. The default colours used in the chart are pretty dull, but we can spruce it up a bit by clicking the 'Chart Colors' icon halfway down the Format Panel. This allows us to choose a variety of different colours, image fills or this appropriately wooden texture effect.
Click the first dot on the control bar to go back to April, then click on the 'Animate' button at the top of the Format Panel. The Format panel now changes to display the animation options for this chart. Our interactive chart works just like any other build effect in Keynote, except that instead of simply bringing the chart into view it triggers the animation that displays the different sets of data. Keynote 6 allows you to preview slides right on the main canvas, so you can use the Preview button in the Format Panel to see the interactive chart animation whenever you want.
There are two options here – Duration and Delivery – that affect the way the chart animation plays. By default, the duration is set to five seconds, and delivery to 'continuous'. This means that the entire sequence showing the figures for April to July is played as a single continuous animation that lasts for just five seconds. If you select 'By Set' instead, Keynote treats each set of data – each month – as a separate animation that lasts for five seconds by itself. This allows you to control the pace of the presentation by using your mouse to trigger the animations for each month individually.
Let's click the Format button again to go back to one other important option. If you de-select the option labeled 'Show data sets as builds' you turn the animation off altogether, and this slide will now only display the figures for the specific month that you select with the control bar. This is useful as it allows you to store multiple sets of data within a single chart and then choose which set of data to show. You could then give the same presentation to different audiences – perhaps in different countries – and show each audience just the figures that are relevant for them.
The only disappointing thing about these interactive charts is that you don't have a lot of control over their appearance. You can choose different colours or textures, as we've already seen, but you can't use features such as the 3D graphics, lighting or shadow effects that are available with Keynote's more conventional chart types. However, you can experiment with different types of charts simply by selecting them from this pop-up menu. None of your data is lost when you switch between different types of chart, so you can experiment as much as you want without having to re-enter any of your data.
The iOS version of Keynote does allow you to format text and graphics objects in various ways, but the formatting options for charts on iOS are a bit more limited. If you want to create a chart that uses options such as this wood texture effect then you may find that it's easier to design the basic look of your presentation on a Mac and then use iCloud to sync it across to your iOS devices. The formatting remains intact when we open the presentation on our iPad, even if we can't change the formatting with the same ease as we could on the Mac.