Reader Question: How to Play a Keynote Slide Deck on an Apple TV

A reader asks: "I run a small business. I have a TV (with an Apple TV) mounted on the wall in our lobby and I want to play a slideshow on the TV to display cool facts about our company as people wait. I can't see how to do this. Can you help?"

This is not only a great question, but it shows that you are really thinking outside the box and being creative! As a matter of fact, there is a really easy way to do this, and it's pretty slick. Here's how.

First, you need to have a Keynote slide deck ready to go. This slide deck can really contain anything you want from company history facts to sales figures to market information. Anything and everything. It can even include embedded videos.

Once your slide deck is ready to go, we will want to export the file as a video. To do this, go to File | Export To | QuickTime...


This will open a new dialog with options for exporting as a video:

There are a few options here that you want to pay attention to. Specifically, you want to look at the timing options. "Go to next slide after" gives you the option to change how much elapsed time there is between slides and "Go to next build after" gives you the option to change how elapsed time there is between transitions on a slide (for example: if you have text that appears on a slide one after another). Typically, the default settings work well, but you will want to play with them to find what works best for you.

When you're ready, click "Next..." to give your video file a name and location, and then save. When it's done converting the file, you will be left with a video file.

Now that we have the video file, we can treat it like any other video file and move it into our iTunes library. When you drag and drop the file into your iTunes library, it will automatically tag it as a "Home Video". We can find it under that section of iTunes.

As long as you have Home Sharing enabled on your computer and Apple TV (more about that here), you can now play your video on your Apple TV!

There is one "gotcha" that you will need to consider when doing this. In most cases, I would assume that you would want to repeat this video so that it plays over and over and over again. One feature missing from the Apple TV (for now) is the ability to loop a video. One way to tackle this issue would be to use a video editing app like iMovie or Final Cut Pro. You can use these apps to loop the video by adding it in the timeline multiple times sequentially.

If you wanted to make it super hands-off, do this so that the total length is 9 hours long (to account for an entire business day), then export that new video and import into iTunes. When you open your office in the morning and play the video, it will play it all day long.

This part of the process can get somewhat confusing, so if you need help, you know where to find me.

Posted on July 31, 2014 and filed under Design, Apple TV, How To, Mac.