Back to our two-part review of Keynote Version 5, introduced as part of iWork 09. We’ve covered Templates, Auto-Shrink and Animation Enhancements, all of which are nice. But what about actually presenting from Keynote? Read on, grasshopper...
Finally, they’ve made some improvements to the presentation mode. One of my biggest complaints about trying to use Keynote for sermon note presentation is the lack of easy, random access. Our pastor tends to jump around sometimes (this may never happen to you…), and it’s nice to be able to click right to the proper slide when he jumps. Keynote used to require you to advance through the deck, which is sloppy.
In ver. 5, you can mouse to the top of the screen and click “Slides.” This brings up a horizontal row of all the slides. Click on the one you want and you’re in business. They also added little blue orbs that represent each step of a build slide. As you step through the build, they turn grey. It’s now easy to know where you are in a build.
OK, I admit, this one seduced me. I'm a total geek when it comes to remote control. I'm smitten with Apple Remote for controlling iTunes from my iPod Touch, and I'm crazy about ProPresenter Remote. And even though I don't really do that many presentations at the moment, I spent the $.99 for Keynote Remote, just because it was cool. And it really is. It works similarly to Apple Remote and allows you to connect to Keynote over Wi-Fi. This allows presenters who want to wander away from IR range the ability to control the presentation from their iPhone or iPod Touch. You can see the current slide, upcoming slide and presenter notes. To change slides (and this is just so cool), you swipe the screen. I used Remote last week for a church meeting, and loved being able to control my MacBook Pro from the back of the room. Make sure your iPhone is charged, though, as Remote keeps it from sleeping. This is good while you're presenting, but it will sap the battery.
There are also additions to the charting and MathType capability, but I doubt those will make a big difference the average church presentation. A few people may miss the Export to Flash feature, but again, I don’t think that will matter to techs like us.
Perhaps the biggest change that could be viewed as a shortcoming is changing the file format. It used to be that Keynote saved presentations in “files” that looked like files, but were actually folders. This worked swell, except they could break when you sent them via e-mail. The new format is a complete package that will move over the internet just fine, but take a little longer to save. They are also incompatible with the previous version.
Apple also introduced iWork.com; a collaborative site designed to make it easier to share iWork documents. I haven’t played with it yet, and I’m not sure how much use that may be for the average church. However, it may be a nice way to empower volunteers to build presentations from home, then easily transmit them to the church without having to set up an FTP server or e-mail huge files.
Is the upgrade worth it? Good question. I’m not sure there’s anything in here that will change my life. However, the additions are welcome and will save some time. Given the relatively modest cost of the upgrade, and the fact that you get an improved Pages and Numbers as part of the deal, I’d say it’s worth it. I already ordered one five-pack, and I have another on the way, if that tells you anything.
How does it compare to PowerPoint? That is perhaps another article. Having used PowerPoint extensively (and I mean extensively), I can say that Keynote is far better to work with. The interface of PowerPoint has always seemed cluttered and hard to navigate, and most annoyingly, master slides never seem to work the way they should. In contrast, Keynote’s interface is clean and easy to get around in. And most importantly, masters actually work. They work really well. I can spend a few minutes every week tweaking my masters for the backgrounds prior to Sunday, and my volunteers can quickly format the slides based on those masters. Everything drops into place just the way it was supposed to, and it works every time. So if you’re coming to Keynote version 5 from PowerPoint, it’s a huge upgrade. Better and cheaper. That’s something almost every church can benefit from right now.