Step 1 - Apple giveth and Apple taketh away. There are a number of new features in Keynote 6, but when Apple rewrote Keynote, Pages and Numbers for the 64-bit processors used in the latest Macs and iOS devices, all three programs lost a number of features that had been available in previous versions. In fact, Apple has effectively admitted that the new iWork suite isn’t really finished, and that it will be issuing a series of updates to restore a number of key features over the next six months. Keynote has had one update already – to v6.0.1 – and you can read more about Apple’s update plans here.


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Step 2 - One of the main improvements to Keynote 6 is its redesigned interface, which is cleaner and more efficient at providing easy access to the main tools you’ll need while creating and editing your presentations. More than a dozen tools and icons have been removed from the main toolbar that runs across the top of the screen. All that’s left now is a central set of tools for adding text, tables, photos and other media elements, along with the main Play button, and a new Zoom menu. Most of the other tools have been relocated into the new Format Panel that runs down the right-hand side of the workspace.

Step 3 - One popular feature that went missing in Keynote 6 was the ability to customize the toolbar so that it contained just the tools that you used most often. Fortunately, this was one of the first features to be restored in the recent 6.0.1 update. Right-click the toolbar and select ‘Customise Toolbar’ from the pop-up menu that appears and you’ll see a window containing icons for dozens of different tools. You can add or remove tools from the toolbar simply by dragging and dropping with your mouse. This is a popular option with more experienced users, but new users will appreciate the simplicity of the new Format Panel.


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Step 4 - The Format Panel is similar to Keynote’s old Inspector Panel, and allows you to quickly alter the format of text, graphics and other objects on your slides. But, unlike the Inspector Panel, the Format Panel is context-sensitive, which means that it displays different options depending on the specific objects that you currently have selected. It initially displays options that affect the basic layout of the slide, such as the position of titles and other text. You can also change the background colour or image, or even change the entire design of the slide by choosing a new template from this pull-down menu.

Step 5 - You can then click on any individual text, graphics or other objects on your slide, and the Format Panel will automatically switch to display additional options that are relevant for that particular object. If you click on this large image of a bike the Format Panel will display three tabs – Style, Image and Arrange – that provide a variety of formatting options. The Style tab includes settings such as opacity and reflection, while the Image tab (above) provides some basic image-enhancement tools to improve the appearance of photos and graphics. The Arrange tab controls options such as alignment and placement of objects on each slide.

Step 6 - If we now select the headline text on this slide the Format Panel will automatically switch to display a different set of options for text formatting. The Style tab includes effects such as fill, border or drop shadow, that we can use to add impact to the text, while the Text tab will allow us choose a different font, or to adjust the font size and spacing. If we were to include other media in our slides, such as some video clips, the Format Panel would display additional options for those elements too, including some simple editing tools for trimming the clips down to the required length.

Step 7 - At the top of the Format Panel there are three small buttons – Format, Animate, and Setup – that switch the Format Panel between three different modes. We’ve already seen the Format mode, and here’s the Setup mode, which allows you to control the overall behaviour of the presentation. The ‘self-playing’ option is useful for sales demos or educational materials as it allows the presentation to run automatically, without you needing to control it yourself. The Audio tab in this mode also allows you to record a voiceover for the presentation so that you can leave it running while you go and have a cup of tea.

Step 8 - The Animate button is the heart of Keynote, as this is where you create animations, transitions and other effects. If you select a slide in the Navigator panel on the left-hand side of the screen then the Format Panel will allow you to select and modify the transitions that move you from one slide to the next. You can preview transitions before you select them, and one welcome new feature in Keynote 6 is the fact that it now allows you to preview effects at full-screen size right on the slide, rather than the little thumbnail preview that was used in previous versions.

Step 9 - And, of course, you’ll also want to animate the individual text and graphics elements that you use in your slides. Click on any text or graphics object, and the Format Panel changes again to show the ‘build’ and ‘action’ effects that are built into Keynote. These effects are organized into categories, such as ‘Appear & Move’ and ‘Flip, Spin & Scale’, but the main thing to remember is that a ‘build in’ moves the object onto the slide, while a ‘build out’ moves it off. You can also use ‘actions’, which animate an object while it’s actually on the slide.

Step 10 - As well as now being able to preview these effects at full-screen size, Keynote 6 also allows you to zoom right out so that you can view the blank space around each slide. This makes it easier to position graphics and other objects when you’re working on effects that move objects on and off the slide. Keynote did lose a few effects when the new version 6.0 was released, but some of these were restored in the recent 6.0.1 update, and there are also some completely new effects that we’ll take a closer look at next time.

Read more iWork tutorials on Pages, Numbers and Keynote in our iWork topic zone. Including:

How to use Magic Moves in Keynote

How to use Emphasis Builds in Keynote for Mac

Add interactivity to charts using Keynote 6 for Mac

Sharing and Collaboration using Keynote 2 for iPad, iPhone

What's new in Keynote 6 for Mac

Master Transitions and Builds in Keynote 2.0

How to work with others using iWork for iCloud

10 amazing Apple Keynote tips