Keynote Power User Tip: Keyboard Shortcuts During a Slideshow

Apple Keynote (part of the iWork suite of applications) is an amazing app for getting your point across to others in the form of a slide deck. It's simple to use, comes preloaded with lots of professional-looking templates and offers cinematic-quality animations and transitions. For the average user, pressing "Play" and going through each slide in sequence is perfectly acceptable. For those who command full control over their slide deck (including those who find themselves needing to jump around in the slide deck), there are keyboard shortcuts.

Most people think of keyboard shortcuts as a way to quickly navigate an app (in this case to build your slide deck). In this case, I'm referring to a special set of shortcuts that are only available during a slideshow. Because these shortcuts aren't necessarily easy to find or come across, I wanted to provide a nice cheat sheet of each available keyboard shortcut, as well as a short list of the ones that I use the most.

Below is the keyboard shortcut cheat sheet for Apple Keynote:

I highly recommend printing this out and keeping it with you (maybe even laminating it)... at least until you feel like you have memorized the ones that you use most frequently.

Speaking of which, here is a list of the ones that I use most frequently, and why:

H - hide presentation and switch to last app used

This is a great one to keep handy when you do application demos of any kind. Generally, I plan ahead, have the software up and running, then go into my slide deck. At the appropriate time int he presentation, I simply press "H" to immediately hide the slide deck and switch back to the app that I wanted to show. When you're ready to resume the slide deck, simply click on the Keynote icon on the Dock.

W/B - Pause presentation and show white or black screen

The "W" and "B" keys are great for forcing all eyes on the presenter. If you feel like too much attention is being paid to the slides behind you, simply press either "W" or "B" to force the attention to return to the presenter. To return to the slide deck, press the "W" or "B" key again. When do I use "W" versus "B"? That depends on the size and mood of the audience.

] - Advance and skip build

We all do this... we build a slide deck with a lot of animations into it because at the time, they seem "fun" and "cool". In most cases, we regret doing this when it's show time because the slides seem to take forever. The "]" is a lifesaver for situations just like this.

Slide Number - Open the slide navigator

By simply pressing a number during a slideshow, the slide navigator will not only appear (allowing you to choose a slide to jump to), but it will give you the option of jumping directly to a slide by slide number. For example, if you are on slide 23 of 100, and you know you are already behind schedule and can skip slides 24-40, simply type "41" and press the "Return" key. This will take you directly to slide 41 without the audience knowing that you just skipped a chunk of your slide deck.

C - Show or hide the pointer (arrow cursor)

If you forgot your laser pointer (which I don't like to use anyway) but need to point something out to the audience, this can be done by pressing the "C" button. Once you're done using it, press "C" again and it will disappear.

Posted on June 1, 2015 and filed under Design, How To, Mac, Opinion.