Keynote 3, by Apple
Posted: 15-Sep-2007

4 out of 5 Mice

Vendor: Apple Type: COMMERCIAL

Reviewer: Michael Krayewsky Class: PRODUCTIVITY

Keynote 3 is Apple's next-generation slide-show presentation software for delivering compelling presentations, building cinema-quality slideshows, studio-quality photography portfolios, animated storyboards, and more, all with ease and elegance. You can incorporate photos, movies or music from your iLife libraries, as well any graphics from Safari. Keynote is Apple's equivalent to Microsoft's PowerPoint. It is intended to make the process of creating a presentation about as easy as it gets. However, while not perfect, Keynote 3 has become a compelling alternative to PowerPoint, which has become the de-facto presentation tool used by professionals and managers alike.

Your Keynote production can be viewed in several ways: watching it on either a Mac or Wintel computer, projecting it from a computer to a large screen, printing it, exporting it as a set of images files, Quicktime movies, PowerPoint slides or PDF format for viewing on other computer platforms. Enhancements to Keynote 3 now provide the capability to export your Keynote production to either iPhoto or iDVD.

Keynote 3 is only available as part of the iWork '06 suite, which also includes Pages 2, a versatile word processing and layout program to build professional documents such as posters, flyers, scrapbooks, folding cards, technical reports, business invoices, proposals, screenplays, and storyboards. Together, they provide a powerful presentation and print production capability. You can purchase iWork '06 as a single user ($79) or in a family pack ($99), which can be installed on up to five Apply computers in your household.

Key highlights of Keynote 3:

  • Choose from 27 themes, including new HD themes up to 1920x1080 pixels.
  • Add gorgeous cinematic transitions, animations, slide builds and more.
  • Import presentations created with AppleWorks or Microsoft PowerPoint on from both PC and Mac.
  • Export your presentation to PowerPoint, iDVD or iPhoto.
  • See all your slides at a glance in Light Table View and easily reorganize them.
  • Integrate with the iLife applications (iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie)


  • Processor: Macintosh computer with 500 MHz or faster PowerPC G4 or G5 processor, or Intel Core processor
  • Operation System: Mac OS X 10.3.9 or 10.4.3 or later. (Classic Mac OS 9 is not an ooption)
  • Disk capacity: 3 GB of available disk space
  • Memory: 256 MB of RAM minimum; 512MB recommended; 32 MB or more video memory
  • Software: QuickTime 7.0.3 or later
  • Disk Drive: DVD drive required for installation

In addition, iLife '06 is recommended to provide integration with your music, photos and movies.

Keynote 3 comes packaged with Pages 2 as part of the iWork '06 suite and is contained on a single DVD-ROM. Insert the iWork '06 DVD and double-click on the Install iWork '06 icon to install the software. The installer takes you through the necessary steps to install the iWork applications. The process is simple with no configuration options. iWork '06 (Keynote and Pages) gets installed on your startup volume. It will NOT overwrite your older iWork '05 files, but rather creates a new folder labeled iWork '06 and leaves the others alone. Files are placed on your hard disk in the following locations: The apps (Keynote and Pages) are placed in the /Application/iWork'06 folder; the User guides (pdf's) are placed in the /Library/Documentation/Applications/iWork '06 folder; the iWork Tour is placed in the /Library/Application Support/iWork '06 folder. The software installation process took me about 6 minutes to install on my G5 iMac. I checked the version of the Keynote application on my hard disk and found it to be 3.0.0.

Wondering if this was the latest version, I went to the Apple
software download page to see if there were any updates. The latest version was 3.0.2 which requires 3.0.1 update. I subsequently clicked on the link provided for 3.0.1 and downloaded the 39.2 MB update dated 4/26/06, followed by the 2.7 MB 3.0.2 update dated 9/28/06. Installation of each was a snap and took me less than a minute to install both. I subsequently launched Keynote and entered the Software Serial Number when asked to, and I was ready to go.

In Use
After the initial launch, you are greeted with an untitled Keynote window and asked to choose a theme for your presentation. There are 27 default themes or templates provided, which appear simple and look more elegant and polished than Powerpoints themes. Multiple selectable slide size options are 800x600, 1024x768; 1280x720; 1680x1050; and 1920x1080 to allow you to tailor the size of your presentation to your screen, the TV (standard of High Definition), or the projector you anticipate using. Once selected, you are ready to start entering your presentation content.

The Keynote Toolbar comes populated with most of the tools you typically will use, such as the Inspector and Media browser for integration with the iLife applications. If you choose to customize the toolbar, you are greeted with a multitude of options as seen in the graphic below. I chose to replace the space items with separator items to close-up up the toolbar.

Customizing the Toolbar

The Inspector is a floating palette with ten inspector tabs to facilitate the building of your presentation. You would use the Document inspector to configure your Keynote document; the Slide inspector to set the transition effects and appearance of your layouts; the Build inspector to create the build in/out effects, direction and delivery; the Text inspector to format your text, add columns and bullets (as seen in the graphic below); the Graphic inspector to add fill, stroke, shadow and transparency to your graphics; the Metrics inspector to set the size, position and rotation of your objects, whether it be a text box or a graphic or a table. There is no limit to what you can position; the Table inspector to format your table rows and columns, your numbers, sort your columns and add formulas to your cells; the Chart inspector to format and customize your 2-D and 3-D charts; the Hyperlink inspector to enable your hyperlinks and where you want them linked to. Note a limitation here is that you can only link to another slide, a webpage, another keynote file or an email message, you cannot link to another document type or application; and the QuickTime inspector to establish the poster frame, how you want your movie repeated, the volume of your movie and if you want the QT controlled available.

Text Slide Inspector

The Media browser is another floating palette, with tabs to integrate your audio, photos and movies, as seen in the graphic below. Keynote takes advantage of iTunes and iPhoto to delver well-integrated searching for media files. When you need to add an image, sound, or movie to your presentation, Keynote lets you grab the file from wherever your media is stored. This is an excellent example of integration between Apple's iApps. Making use of components of iTunes and iPhoto from within Keynote, in an inutitive, fast way, without getting bogged down. Like iPhoto, Keynote offers an Adjust Image window to adjust your photos in real-time, which is very convenient as you do not need to go back into iPhoto.

Keynote Media Browser

One of the unique functions I used a lot, and not found in Powerpoint, is the Slide Navigator in the sidebar, which allows you to indent or move slides to the right to help you better organize and structure the content of your slides. I equate it to a software drawing tree where you structure your software product into configuration items, then components, then units and modules. It's very productive when you need to re-structure segments of your presentations. Another way to re-structure your presentation is a new addition to Keynote 3 called the Light Table, which allows you to display all your slides simultaneously so you can easily re-organized them via drag and drop action. Unfortunately, there is no option to increase the size of the slides, as there is in PowerPoint. While similar to Powerpoints Slide sorter view, I preferred using the Slide Navigator to re-organize my slides.

Periodically, you may need to show 2 columns of text on a slide. Keynote has a built-in master slide for such a situation. Its called 'Title & Bullets - 2 Column'. However, at times, you may need to add additional bulleted text boxes. Earlier versions of Keynote limited our ability to add bullets anywhere except in the main text box in the body of a slide. Now you can add up to 10 different bullet types and multiple columns to any text field box. See graphic below showing the 10 different bullet types in the first two columns and using 4 columns of text with the same bullet.

Multiple Columns in Keynote

A new and highly desired addition to Keynote 3 is 3-D charts. In addition to the nine 2-D charts, eight 3-D charts were added. Building the charts was easy using the chart data editor within the Chart inspector. Once your data is entered, you select the chart type, adjust the viewing angle of the chart to alter the perspective of the viewer, adjust the depth of the chart and the lighting type. See the attached graphic which shows a 3-D chart that I built using the chart inspector and chart data editor.

Keynote 3-D Charts

Tables in Keynote now function like standard spreadsheets. In addition to displaying static numbers, you can now use multiple formulas, via the formula editor, to alter the content of that cell based on data in other cells. You simply select a table cell and type an equal sign (=). Up pops the Formula editor, as seen below, allowing you to select one of six formulas. See the graphic below depicting this scenario. You can also sort table columns in an ascending or descending order, using the Numbers tab in the Table inspector.

Keynote Tables

Photo and Image masking and editing has been substantially improved from Keynote 2. You can now use geometric shapes to reveal any part of an underlying image. This became quite useful for me when I wanted to cut a person out of a photo (using the new free form Bezier tool to eliminate the background) and then mask it with any shape you want or paste it on another background shot or photo. I did both without any users manual as it was very intuitive.

There is a new reflection effect, in the Graphic inspector, which places an inverted image below the selected image and allows you to vary the transparency. This made the image look like it was propped up on a shiny surface. On top of this, you can use the Image Adjustment window to change the brightness, tint, sharpness, etc... of the photo. There were so many options as to what you can do to alter, match and edit your presentation materials.

To practice giving your presentation, Keynote 3 adds a Rehearse Slideshow option in the View menu. This allows you, the presenter to practice giving your presentation without hooking up a projector or second monitor. During your presentation, you have a Presenters Display (seen below), which shows the current and upcoming slides on the presenter's screen. A menu-bar indicator has been added to show when Keynote is ready to display the next slide. Another new option lets you use Exposé and Dashboard during a slide show, so you can easily switch from your presentation to an application or even a widget. Another related, but new feature is Comment, located in the toolbar, which lets you add text notes or comments to slides. This is useful when your dry running your presentation with your peers, managers, etc... and feedback arises which you want to capture. When you formally present your pitch, these comments will stay hidden from them, but will show on your presenters display, as seen in the yellow sticky in the graphic below.

Keynote Presenters Display

When you want to deliver your presentation, you have multiple export options available. As seen in the graphic below, you can export your presentation to any of seven different formats:

  • QuickTime movie for viewing in QuickTime.
  • PowerPoint for viewing using Microsoft's PowerPoint application.
  • PDF document for viewing every stage of your presentation build, in Preview or Acrobat Reader.
  • Images for import to iPhoto as a new album or your iPod.
  • Flash formated file for viewing in your favorite browser.
  • iDVD project for delivery on a DVD. This is a new feature added to Keynote 3.
  • HTML formatted files for viewing in your favorite browser.

Export to iDVD

Note that when you have to share your presentation with people who don't have Keynote, you still have multiple options and can export your presentation to Quicktime, PowerPoint, PDF, Flash, DVD or as HTML. The only export format not available to non-Mac users is iPhoto.

In our business climate today, many of us are windows-based and as such use PowerPoint extensively. As I am Mac-based at home, I prefer to do my edits using Keynote and then export the updated pitch to PowerPoint. Here's how I make changes or updates to the slides, that I was unable to complete at work. I bring home my PowerPoint slides on my 1st generation iPod shuffle, open them in Keynote on my Mac, make the necessary changes and updates that I need to do, then export the resultant presentation back into PowerPoint format. Here's a summary of what I found regarding compatibility between the PowerPoint file and Keynote file.

  • Graphics from PowerPoint to Keynote are 100% compatible. A jpeg is a jpeg, while a gif is a gif. This is the result I expected.
  • Text was 100% compatible and formatted correctly if the fonts that were used in the PowerPoint file were also available on my Mac. If they weren't, my Mac put in some font which I was not able to determine. I went thru my font list and did not see any of them selected. In this case, the substituted font was a little larger and did not fit within the same space. The result required a little editing to select a better substitute font and fix the formatting problem. My suggestion here is to use fonts on the PC that are common to the Mac. Additionally, I would like Apple to allow you to choose a substitute font in real-time when it encounters an incompatibility.
  • Tables are 100% compatible where the font was available on the Mac. Where it wasn't, some minor editing was required.
  • When working with fonts between PowerPoint and Keynote, it was much easier in Keynote as I could leave the font window open from slide to slide. PowerPoint required me to select the text in question, modify it using the Font window and then close it before moving to any other text whether it be on the same slide or a different one. This inconvenience required considerable more effort when working in PowerPoint.
  • Exporting my Keynote presentation to PowerPoint yielded the same results when the fonts were identical.
  • In summary, compatibility is excellent if the fonts are the same. When they are not, expect to do some minor editing.

Keynote 3 has evolved and expanded on its past strengths with new and unique capabilities, such as polished templates, cinematic transitions, textured 3-D charts, Bezier curves and masking, tables with calculations, and export to iDVD and iPhoto. I found it exciting and fun to create and edit slides in Keynote versus doing it in PowerPoint. Keynote continues to eat into the well established world of Microsoft's PowerPoint. Compatibility between the two applications has increased substantially since the early days of Keynote 1. There are still some drawbacks, to Keynote, such as resizing images in Light Table view and the way Keynote handles missing fonts. As Mac OS X software continues to grow with innovative features, and new and cost competitive Mac laptops and desktop computers increasing Apple's market share, Keynote will be in the hands of more and more professionals and managers, yielding snappier, smoother and more professional presentations.


  • Default themes are elegant, refined and sophisticated
  • Inspector and Media Browser provide simple interface to facilitate ease of creation and modification of data
  • Bezier curves and 3-D charts for advanced graphic effects
  • Ability to export your finished presentation in a number of different formats


  • Incompatibility in text boxes from PowerPoint to Keynote when fonts are different
  • Inability to embed hyperlinks to applications or documents
  • Unable to increase the size of the images in the Light Table view

Overall Rating

4 out of 5 Mice