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Francesco's Top 3 Keynote Features
Francesco Schiavon on Thu, May 15th 0 comments
It's time for PowerPoint to hang up its boots. Apple's Keynote makes it easier than ever to create killer presentations on your Mac, iPhone or iPad! Francesco Schiavon reveals its top 3 features.

Keynote is a presentation software from Apple comparable to Microsoft's PowerPoint. If you have a new Mac or iOS device, you already have Keynote installed (if not, you can get it from the App Store or the Mac App Store). One major difference from PowerPoint is that Keynote creates presentation files that can be opened, edited and played on your Mac, iOS device (iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch), and even on a web browser via

If you've seen any of my courses on Pages, Numbers or Keynote, I consistently complain how difficult is to work on iOS devices compared to working on a Mac. That's because creating content on a touch-based interface is somewhat more convoluted than doing it on a computer with a larger display, physical keyboard, and a precise pointing device like a mouse or even a trackpad, opposite to using your finger on a small iPhone screen. But when it comes to consuming content, iOS devices offer lots of flexibility not available on a Mac, even on a MacBook. So it may be surprising that my top 3 Keynote features are iOS centric.

Feature 1: Tweak Your Presentation on Your iPhone

Pic 1

This is my third favorite feature, and lags behind quite a bit from my second favorite feature, but I like it because of the flexibility it offers.

I don't have a MacBook, so most of my work is done on an iMac either at home or at work or whatever computer is available in the classroom. When working with Keynote, I prefer to do that on my Mac, and by "working" I mostly mean "creating" or "editing" my presentations. But since Keynote can sync to my iPhone and iPad using my iCloud account, it's really nice to be able to do minor edits or updates to your presentation right on your iPhone. This is particularly true if you play your presentation from your iOS device rather than from your Mac (see my favorite Keynote feature below).

There have been a couple of cases that I've needed to update or tweak a presentation just before stating. Since I don't have a MacBook, being able to make these updates or tweaks right on my iPhone has saved my bacon. Yes, for me it's not a thrill to edit on a small touch screen, but being able to get the changes incorporated without having to run back home or to the office is a huge relieve!

Feature 2: Use Your iPhone to Control Your Presentation

Pic 2

This feature is a close second to my top feature and that's because they're related, but not the same.

When you combine your Mac as the presentation device, with your iPhone as the remote control, then you have a killer combination. This means that you can create, edit and play your presentation right on your Mac, say, connected to a projector, but control playback from your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch! This is really neat because you can make your presentation more engaging if you detach yourself from the podium or from your desk and walk around the room or stage.

Pic 3

Apart from being able to detach yourself from the podium or desk, you can also make annotation, scribbles, and use a laser-like pointing light, all by using your finger right on the iOS touch screen.

Feature 3: Carry Your Presentation on Your iPhone and Play It on an Apple TV

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This feature takes the top place for me because it does not require a Mac, at least for playback. In fact, if you're brave enough, you could create, edit, and play a presentation right on your iOS device without touching or using a Mac. Personally I wouldn't do that because I have a hard time doing precise edits, like entering text, on a touch interface, but when it comes to playback, you don't need that level of precision.

In my case, I always create and edit my presentations on my Mac (except when I need to make minor updates on the move'"see my third top feature above), but often just play them back directly from my iPhone.

My workflow goes like this:

  1. First, I create my presentation on my iMac either the one at home or the one at the office. iCloud automagically gets a copy of the Keynote work in progress to my other iMac, so if I need to do further work on that other iMac, I do.
  2. Next, my iPhone and iPad are both using my same iCloud account, so my Keynote presentation is also pushed to these devices as I work with it regardless of where I do the edits. In most cases I don't do any or much edits on my iOS devices, though. But the important thing is that I don't have to worry about the latest files syncing, since iCloud does that behind the scenes even over the cellular network (you do have to enable the cellular data for your iCloud applications in the iOS Settings).
  3. When it comes to making my presentation at work, we have an Apple TV connected to a large HDTV. I simply use AirPlay to connect to the Apple TV and display my presentation on the large HDTV screen. And just like my second top feature, on my iPhone, I get the Presenter Display, which allows me to make annotations, scribbles and highlights using the laser-like red light from my iPhone.

Pic 5

The most complex part of this workflow and feature is enabling AirPlay on the iPhone. It's one of those features that is so easy to do, that is in fact difficult to remember where in the world you enable it. Once your iPhone is on the same Wi-Fi network as the Apple TV, you have to go to Control Center, and enable Mirroring for AirPlay. Once you do that, the Play button from within your presentation is enclosed in what looks like a TV screen frame. Tapping it will send the presentation to the Apple TV but on your iPhone you'll get the Presenter Display.

Check out the Keynote course for more details on how to get all these features to work for you, so you can create killer presentations!

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