By Monte FergusonKeynote, Apple’s answer to PowerPoint, also received an update with some
additional features. Of the three programs Keynote, being the oldest in
the suite, is the most mature. This means that this time around the
program sees incremental improvements.
Most of the new features in Keynote ’09 bring more sophistication to the
program. An excellent example of this is Magic Move. With Magic Move you
can animate transitions between consecutive slides with objects that
repeat. You can change location of objects, so they “move” across the
screen, scale, change the opacity, and rotation automatically. Keynote
does all of the work for you. You just choose a beginning and an end
Another example of increased sophistication is the new text and
object-based transitions. With just a few clicks you can create
morphing effects, where one object or word changes into another.
The truly freshest feature for the program really isn’t part of the
program. It is actually an iPhone or iPod Touch program. It is called
Keynote Remote. Once you’ve installed the program on your iPhone or iPod
Touch you an control your presentation from anywhere in the room via
Wi-Fi. It displays your slide with notes on the iPod/iPhone, or you can
see the current and next slide. To advance you use a swipe gesture. The
program is not free, but it is only 99 cents.
A new Share menu makes it easier than ever to share presentations with
others. You can instantly email a presentation. The sharing feature
includes an image and movie optimization algorithm. This lets it shrink
down the overall file size yet maintain a higher level of quality. You
can also choose from this menu to share via the new iWork.com. (See
below for more details.)
Sharing your Keynote documents has always been straightforward, if you
saved them out as a QuickTime file or a PDF. (The option to save to
PowerPoint is more complicated due to a lack of support in PowerPoint
for some Keynote abilities.) But now there is a new way to share your
files. It also provides a limited amount of collaboration. Apple
announced this feature as a new service, currently in beta, called
You have to publish a document to iWork.com to take advantage of the
service. Which is as easy as clicking a button in Formatting bar. Once
you have published the file you can invite people, via email, to view,
comment or download the file. It works with both Mac and PC users.
When the recipients of your invitation arrive at the site they are
presented with an excellent copy of the original document. It appears
just as you viewed it in Keynote. Invited visitors can add comments,
which look like sticky notes and have an ongoing chat type running
conversation in the side bar. If they prefer to have a copy of the file
they can download it directly from the iWork.com web site. While the
file was being uploaded iWork created copies in PowerPoint and PDF
format, as well as a native Keynote file.
Right now the service is free, it is in beta, to anyone who has
purchased iWork ’09. Apple has said that at some point they do plan to
charge something for the service. How much is yet to be determined.
An Enhanced Template Chooser, much like the one found in the iLIfe
suite, helps you to quickly sort through all of those built in
templates. If offers high resolution resizable previews that greatly aid
in picking just the right template. Thanks to being resizable, you can
see the fonts, colors, and textures. You can also view all the slide
designs by skimming over them. Keynote ’09 also features 8 new
professionally designed templates.
Charts in Keynote gain some added pep. You can now add 3D textures to
depth, and extra emphasis. You can also animate your 3D charts to add
some movement and entertainment.
Keynote ’09 finally addresses one of my pet peeves. It finally adds
dynamic integration with other apps in the iWork suite. It does this
with a dynamic linking feature. It works like this. Now you can create
a spreadsheet in Numbers. Later link to it in a Keynote presentation.
When you update the spreadsheet the changes are automatically updated in
Keynote as well. Long time Mac users will realize that this sounds
practically identical to an old Apple feature from the 90’s called
Publish and Subscribe. Which it is. I’m delighted to see this feature
make a reappearance. The lack of dynamic linking between components of
the suite was my main gripe with previous iterations of iWork.
The improved features solidify an already good program. By far the
coolest feature is the Keynote Remote app for iPhone and iPod Touch
users. Road warriors will appreciate being able to repurpose their own
gear, rather than having to learn a different remote. Magic Move will be
a welcome addition to anyone’s presentation skills. It adds a level of
sophistication without being difficult to implement. I’m also extremely
pleased to see dynamically linked content between programs in the suite.
You have to try it to see how handy it really is. The iWork.com is an
interesting additional feature. It’s rather early to tell, but it looks
My biggest grumble, lack of live linked data between apps in the suite,
is no longer an issue. I really found no glaring faults with the program
itself. Though it doesn’t offer many new features. I think iWork.com
shows some initial promise but needs further refinement. It works well,
as far as it goes, but it doesn’t allow true collaboration. Say some
kind of check in check out type of system so multiple people can work on
a document. It would be nice if it supported other files as well, for
example jpegs or photoshop files.
Keynote has moved forward yet again. Much of the focus of this years
release is about adding new transitions and special effects. Not exactly
something that excites many prospective buyers.
This years release does not have much in the way of big features. It is
more of an evolutionary update. The overall effect of the various
improvements is that the program feels more advanced. It does sport some
new features that can apply to a range of Keynote users and give the new
version added value. I would heartily recommend the update. The
combination of features, and low price point, make it worth the money to
Posted: Tuesday, October 6th, 2009