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Keynote for iOS: Updates That Presenters Will Love

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Tom Negrino, author of Keynote for iPad: Visual QuickStart Guide, takes us on a spin through the impressive new and updated features in Keynote for iOS that deliver more power and versatility to this mobile presentation program.
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As part of the introduction of the iPad in 2010, Apple chose to showcase the power and versatility of its new tablet by bringing its iWork productivity suite to the new device. The iWork suite consists of three apps—Keynote (the presentation program), Pages (word processing and page layout), and Numbers (spreadsheets and charting)—that are available individually from the iTunes Store for $9.99 each. The mobile apps don't have all the power of iWork '09 on the Mac, but they share a common file format with their Mac counterparts, and documents created on the Mac translate with good fidelity to the mobile versions (and vice versa).

Since the Fall 2010 publication of my Peachpit book Keynote for iPad: Visual QuickStart Guide, Apple has released several updates to Keynote, along with the other iWork programs. In this article, I'll detail most of the improvements made to Keynote as of July 2011 (including the version 1.4 update), and we'll take a peek at the future that Apple has laid out for Keynote.

Keynote 1.4 and later for iOS solves a lot of the pesky limitations that plagued the original version, which had problems with—or outright didn't support—things like presenter notes, grouped objects, some slide transitions and builds, table conversions, and hyperlinks.

Grouping, Animations, and Tables

One of the most welcome changes in Keynote for iOS is that you can group multiple objects on a slide, and grouped objects import correctly from Keynote for Mac. Grouped objects also can be animated, which saves a lot of time because you can apply the animation effect to the whole group, instead of fiddling with individual objects. To group objects on your mobile device, follow these steps:

  1. Tap the first object to select it. Selection handles appear around the object.
  2. Holding a finger on the first object, tap the other object(s) you want to select. Keynote adds selection handles to the other object(s).
  3. Lift your fingers for a moment; then tap any of the selected objects. In the resulting popover menu (shown in the center of Figure 1), tap Group.

Figure 1 When you have multiple objects selected, you can group them.

Keynote for iOS adds some of the missing slide transitions from the Mac version, such as Revolving Door, Swoosh, and Wipe. Similarly, slide builds (animations added to objects on slides) now include the Lens Flare, Spin, and Wipe animations. If your Keynote for Mac presentation has any of these transitions or builds, they'll import correctly into Keynote for iOS, including the animation timings. If you used audio in your builds, that sound works on the mobile device, too.

The original version of Keynote for iPad wasn't especially great at importing tables. That feature has been improved. The font, size, and color settings for individual cells import correctly, and font matching is better than in the previous versions. If the table has an image background fill in one or more of its cells, the previous version of Keynote for iPad wouldn't import the fill at all; that issue has been fixed.

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