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March 22, 2014

Keynote annoyances (and some pleasures)

There are some good things about the new version of Keynote. For example, the Alpha function (i.e., smart erase) now shows you the color you’re Alpha-ing. The Light Table shows you hidden slides without making you click out to another view. The Presenters’ View shows you the animations that your audience is seeing. Plus there are some spiffy new slide transitions that no one should ever, ever use. But there are missed opportunities, such as still not providing a timeline for path animations.

And then there are things that are just plain annoying.

The following is just what I noticed while trying it out on a presentation I’m giving tomorrow:

  • The main palette is now always attached to the window. You can’t get it to float.

  • To see the effect of an animation or slide transition you have to click on a preview button after the first time. “Auto preview” would be a useful option setting.

  • The quick formatting bar is gone. I find that particularly irksome since it means lots more mouse travel and clicking if you want to adjust the font, font-size, color, and background color of some text you just entered

  • When you click on “Animate” with an unanimated object selected it makes you click again to see the list of animations.

  • In the box that lists the order of animations, there is no visual difference between an animation that happens after or with the previous one. [MINUTES LATER: I just noticed that when an animation comes after another, there’s a thin line between them.]

  • In that same box I have no figured out the logic of what’s draggable and what isn’t. Bug or weird-ass feature?

  • There is no longer a popup of frequently-used font sizes, so you have to type font sizes in every time.

  • I’ve found no way to tell my Mac not to open my old Keynote files with the new version. That’s some aggressive, user-hostile marketing, Apple!

Overall, with the new updates, I’ll probably be switching to this new version. But it annoys me when an upgrade downgrades functionality

 


By the way, I was unable to find in the documentation what the little symbols in the corners of the slide thumbnails mean. As far as I can tell, three circles in the lower left means there are animated objects on the slide. A triangle in the lower right means you’ve applied a slide transition. A box in the upper right of the thumbnail means there’s a box in the upper right of the thumbnail. Nothing in the upper left means sailors’ delight.

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May 8, 2013

Cheating Keynote’s dumb sizing limitation

Keynote presentation software has what seems to be a needless limitation on how large you can scale an object using their animation capabilities: you can take it up to 200% and no larger. A few years ago I poked around in the xml save files and manually increased the scaling on an object to 1000%, and it animated just fine. So I don’t know what was in the designer’s minds when they limited the user interface. Actually, I’m sure they had a good reason, so I already regret the use of the word “dumb” in my headline. A little.

“Dumb” is appropriate, however, for me, given how long it’s taken me to realize a way around the limitation in some circumstances.

Keynote has a really helpful slide transition called “Magic Move.” If you duplicate a slide and move around the objects in the duplicate slide, and resize them, then when you click from the first slide to the second, the objects will smoothly animate into their new positions and sizes. It is occasionally finicky, but when it works, it can save an enormous amount of manual animation. For example, if you have a slide with a square made up of 64 little squares, and you want to animate those little squares flying apart, rather than animating each of their movements, just duplicate the slide and drag the little cubes where you want.

So, duh, if you want to animate one of those cubes so it grows larger than 200%, just duplicate the slide and enlarge the cube to whatever size you want. Apply the “Magic Move” transition to the first slide, and Keynote will do the deed for you.

This doesn’t work for all situations, but in the ones that it works in, it’s very handy. And, yes, I should have realized it a couple of years ago.

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July 7, 2010

Extracting speakers notes from Keynote

[NOTE: A couple of weeks after posting this, Bruno Amaral wrote an Apple Script that does a far better job of it. Check the comments for his script and instructions. Thanks, Bruno!]

Here’s a very simple Automator script that extracts the speakers notes from a Keynote file and writes them into a text file on your desktop. The text file it makes is very ugly, and I’m sure someone better at this than I am (= everyone) could have Automator do some cleanup of it.

To install it, download it (duh), unzip it, and then put it into MacHD/your_account/Library/Services (where MacHD and your_account reflect the actual names of your setup).

To run it, in Finder select the name of the Keynote file, and right click for the context menu. Go to Services > extract_keynote_notes.

8 Comments »

August 7, 2009

Tags again

Jeez, it would save me a lot of time if Keynote (or Powerpoint, if you insist) let me tag slides and objects in slides (especially images). I spend way too much time looking for that slide of a “smart room” or the one that shows business vs. end-user use of Web 2.0, or that photo of an old broadcast tower. (Later that day: Maybe I should add, having just rewritten the Wikipedia entry on Interleaf, that back in the early 1990s, Interleaf gave us exactly that capability.)

Instead, I have two hacks, both a pain in the butt. First, I keep a humungous file of slides I think I’ll want to use again. Second, I’ve started putting tags into the speaker notes by putting the tags in brackets. But I use the speaker notes to speak from, so larding them up with tags is sub-optimal.

And especially if you save Keynote files in the pre-2009 multi-file formats, then it’d be a snap for third parties to build tools that extract the tags and manage them. (I have a fussy home-made utility that extracts the text from the speaker notes and builds an editable file of them. If you want it, let me know.)

Tags are easy! Tags are useful! Let tags be tags!

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February 13, 2009

Request for Feature: Keynote & Powerpoint

How about if there were a magical shape we could draw on top of a slide that would magnify what’s under it? So, if you were showing a slide of a screen capture, you could invoke these shapes to come and go, enlarging the elements to which you want to call attention.

kthxbye.*


Yes, not an entirely appropriate use of the term, but I find it an amusing youthicism. Its marginal appropriateness in this case is that I’m acknowledging that I’m talking into the wind when it comes to making product enhancement suggestions. And, yes, now the footnote is longer than the post. kthxbye.

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6 Comments »

May 6, 2008

Keynote 08 to Powerpoint 08

The latest version of Keynote exports files in Powerpoint format that the latest version of Popwerpoint can’t read. Charming.

A discussion board pointed out, however, that if you strip out all the presenter notes from your Keynote file, the exported Keynote file will indeed open in Powerpoint. I tried it on one small file, and it worked.

Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to strip out all those notes. And I haven’t seen anything from Keynote about an update.

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