Keynote 6 retains hyperlinks, but they’re buried treasure – further thoughts on Apple’s management of iWork (and a quote from Klaatu).

In my previous blog entry, my first about Keynote 6, I wrote that one of my liked features – hyperlinking slides, files, websites and emails – had gone MIA: Missing in Action.

But today I had cause to look at Keynote for iOS 7 and it has retained hyperlinks, here: Voila_Capture812

So, in Keynote on the iPad, you go the Spanner (Tools), select “Presentation Tools”, then select the first item in the drop down menu: Interactive Links.

The familiar hyperlink menu items will show themselves, in much the same layout as occurred in Keynote 5 for the Mac, along with their shortcut or alias blue arrows and associated functionality.

By now, the thought will have occurred to you: “If this feature exists within Keynote for iOS, and there is parity between iOS, Cloud, and Mac OS, where is it in Keynote 6?”

Well, here’s a screenshot of it in Keynote 6:


As you may have noticed, there is no Inspector or obvious button, menu bar or “thingy” of any sort to guide you to this Keynote element. For reasons best known to themselves, the Keynote engineers and UI designers decided not to replicate the iOS layout, only the functionality it seems.

So, how do you create Hyperlinks as per Keynote 5?

1. Highlight (select) an object on your slide.


As you can see, it’s the blue square, now with white “handles” on each side and corners to resize it.

2. Place your pointer over the object, still selected, and hold down the Control key, and click your mouse or trackpad to bring up a menu list. In this case, below, the “Add Link” option is highlighted.

Voila_Capture814If you click on this menu time, something familiar from Keynote 5 will make itself known to you:

Voila_Capture815An important question some of you may be asking, about now: How does Keynote 6 handle hyperlinked slides in Keynote 5 files? Do they get lost and messed up?

To answer that question, I imported a Keynote 5 “Family Feud” file I had created as a gift to the guys at Doceri, the iPad-based software I use to monitor and annotate my Keynote presentations. It’s very complex, containing 35 slides so all possibilities could be covered for a typical 5-item contest. (It’s based on a Keynote 3 deck I used from here, which you will need to convert to Keynote 5, before converting to Keynote 6!). Here’s what it looks like, complete with sound files – one for correct, one for – buzzzz – incorrect, and two others for the intro and outro music themes:


Notice how each of the five answer boxes has the familiar hyperlink blue arrow. This is a very complex test for hyperlinks, and here are all the answers revealed when the game ends:


I am pleased to say all the hyperlinks and related sounds remained intact, and useable. By the way, I use Doceri on my iPad when I play this game in my workshops on various subjects. Touching the bluish area outside the answer panel will produce the “wrong answer” buzz, while touching any of the black answer panels, initially with just the number on them in the first illustration, will cause the panel to “cube” down and reveal the answer, along with the pleasant “bing” sound to denote Correct!

Further thoughts on Keynote 6, and iWork’s future

These past few days of experimentation and curiosity-seeking with Keynote 6, complete with the discovery of hidden features, have helped confirm my previous thinking about Keynote’s path, going back in this blog more than a year or two.

I have previously written that all the wishing and hoping for a Keynote update might produce an Oscar Wilde epithet:

There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.

Predicting and hoping as I had that one of the biggest improvements to Keynote would be the addition of a precision timeline to better manage builds, transitions, movies and sounds, I also suggested this would require a complete interface rebuild. There had been hints dropped by Apple that this might happen: One way was at Macworld presenting a Presentation Magic workshop where a new Keynote team hire had attended who specialised in User Interface design. The other was Apple more recently had advertised for additional designers to join the iWork team.

Knowing what had occurred with both iMovie 08-09 and Final Cut Pro/X, I was preparing myself for the same to happen to Keynote. I would get what I wanted but at considerable expected cost. This in fact is what has happened.

But the rebuilding of Keynote was not merely an interface or veneer issue: It’s clearly a rebuild from the ground up to make parity and thus compatibility with Keynote in the cloud (for Windows users if they can dare tear themselves away from Powerpoint), and Keynote on iOS devices with their 64-bit chips.

(Judging from the Apple discussion groups for Pages 5, we Keynote 6 users got a frolic in the warm Tahitian beaches!)

This is the all important Activity Monitor graphic that begins to tell the story:


Keynote 6 (blue icon) is 64 bit, and Keynote 5 below it is 32 bit. And for good measure, the current Powerpoint for Mac (2011) is:


There’s a roadmap happening here. 64 bit ought to offer faster, more robust management of Keynote files across all Apple platforms which are 64 bit.

But the speed of the Keynote app is only a small part of the story. At the moment, Mac presenters – and now with Keynote in the Cloud and iPads, we have Windows users too – have numerous presentation software choices. But the big two remain the FREE Keynote on whatever platform (with hardware purchase or iWork 09 upgrade), or the purchase of MS Office or Powerpoint alone for a couple of hundred dollars, or a much cheaper educational bundle or a freebie thrown in by a reseller. Whatever.

There is also cloud based Google presentation software, as well as a number of open source projects of varying capabilities and compatibilities.

Apple knows how many recent copies of Keynote 09 and Keynote iOS are out there via monitoring of its online App stores. It can see where its buyers are: desktop vs iOS. We know 170 million iPads have been sold, all of which can use Keynote for initially $9.99, and now free. Hmm… how many copies of Keynote for Mac OS do you think are out there, being used on Macs? To paraphrase Steve Jobs (2007): “Are you getting it yet?”

Power users of Keynote, like Final Cut Pro users who abandoned ship, have every reason to feel Apple has thrown them under the bus, including all those – like me – who “sold” the Mac platform to Windows users on the basis of Keynote 5’s attributes alone. Any Keynote power user who has followed the usual fare of Powerpoint demoes at a conference or convention has become adroit at discussing each software’s pros and cons when audience members shocked at what a computer can do on a big screen – shocked, I say! – come up and are crestfallen to discover you didn’t use Powerpoint (they kinda knew that) and Keynote is Mac only, at least “back then”.

Now many may feel that, just as Apple cannibalises its own products when it introduces a new iPod or iPhone, they too are being fed as human sacrifices (OK, calm down, their work is) to lesser mortals: non-power users, Johnny-come-latelies who have not paid their dues during Apple’s beleaguered days, and who have come to the Apple community via iOS devices, not Macs.

It’s as if Apple owes power users and pro presenters something for their patience, loyalty, proselytising, evangelising, cleverness and demoing. As a long time President of a Macintosh user group (iMUG), I’m very aware of our place in the Apple firmament: more of a pesky nuisance than anything else. Apple resellers too have discovered their place in the same universe, soon after Apple opened their own bricks and mortar  as well as online stores. We know how that worked out, and is still evolving.

It’s another way of saying: This Keynote is not for you, but the millions who will put it to good use with their first Mac and their first iPad, and perhaps even their first presentations. There: I’ve said it. Get used to a new reality.

So, stay with Keynote 5 and the years of building great, Powerpoint-busting Keynote files, which will still operate in Mavericks on laptops which will have better power usage. Buy an AppleTV and a Kanex VGA-HDMI adaptor so even with older VGA projectors you can be wirelessly roaming the lecture theatre with your Macbook Air or iPad (mirroring and controlling the Air via Doceri or similar).

But every so often, break out Keynote 6 and see what it has to offer. There ARE some improvements, and I and others will blog about them soon.

There’s clearly plenty of room for Keynote to improve. We’re at the bottom of an upgrade cycle, not the top. If you return to Powerpoint, where will it go next? More bloatware masquerading as new features because Microsoft has manoeuvred itself into a corner – its hardware is not setting the world on fire, competing with its own OEMs who are not happy. It needs to keep selling software because that’s its business.

So every two years or so, its Office suite gets a visual overhaul accompanied by much muttering – think Ribbon – and features which just bog it down. There are those who can do wonders with Powerpoint, and each year they meet and show off what their presentation software can achieve, here. (One day, its convenor Rick Altman, will work up the courage to invite a Keynote specialist to attend to give demoes and comparisons – Garr Reynolds and Nancy Duarte don’t count since they themselves would likely not self-describe as Keynote specialists or evangelists, but more presentation skills builders).

My advice is this: Learn from the Final Cut Pro/X users who stayed the distance, as well as taking a more long term view of where Apple is heading. It knows that in a few years time, laptops will become even less conspicuous and PCs will be relegated to “Big Iron” kind of duties in number crunching and rendering farms. Apple doesn’t just know, it’s working to make it happen.

The A7 chip, iPad, iOS and 64 bit computing is the beginning of the next cycle of personal computing, and Keynote is at the beginning of its next development cycle. It marks the end of presenting with Keynote as we used to do it. Those using Powerpoint simply don’t know it yet, but their usual way of presenting will not stand up to the task of 21st Century learning, creativity and knowledge management.

So, you have a few choices as I see Apple offering it. To paraphrase Klaatu,

Your choice is simple: join us and think and present differently, or pursue your present course and face disengagement.

22 responses to “Keynote 6 retains hyperlinks, but they’re buried treasure – further thoughts on Apple’s management of iWork (and a quote from Klaatu).

  1. Keynote is worse now. And if i would have the chance to use PowerPoint on the iPad I would switch back to PowerPoint. What your are writing is a religous statement. You are flaming PowerPoint just because you “believe” in Keynote. Still. There are people who create stunning powerpoint presentations.

    The facts are very clear: Apple is producing Apps only for the masses. Every Keynote presentation will look the same soon, because of the “simplicity” making it. Apple reduces choices so the 77year old housewife easily can throw together a presentation without making more than two decisions. Apple is not interested in Pro Users who make a living with their products because there are less of them. It’s much easier to make money with simple products for the masses then with advanced products for a few pros. Thats why the iworks apps are free now. Available for everyone. They cost nothing… are they worth more?

    • You’re right, and you’re wrong too.

      You’re right about Apple, and where they are heading and for whom, and you’re right about users making stunning Powerpoints. Trouble is, I never see them. I look for them, I go to conferences and conventions, where I’m amongst the brightest and best in the land who conduct experiments, who are keen observers, who bring intellect to what they do (some are 77 year old husbands and wives, btw) that I see exactly what you are saying about Keynote – dumbed down, all look the same, disengaging presentations.

      Do what I call a Powerpoint-wacking search in Google: Make up any esoteric field you like (“holes in doughnuts”) and then add “ppt”, and see what slide files you end up downloading. Drive the point home by also adding key domains like “.gov” and “.mil” to see it in even more stark outline.

      Ta for commenting, Les

      • Sami Negm-Awad

        Ok. All the whining leads us to nothing. The question is: What do we do until Keynote (if ever) gets a grown up presentation tool (again)?

      • I think if you are a confirmed Keynote user, who sees a move to the bosom of PowerPoint or Prezi as not the way to unleash your creative juices, stay with Keynote 5 in Mavericks, and find ways to keep your message fresh and contemporary. I’m doing this where possible by annotating my slides, like drawing lines on graphs and using real time callouts on my iPad wirelessly tethered to my MacBook Air. I also watch current affairs tv for inspiration re data visualization and message delivery.

  2. Hi Les,

    I would describe myself as a Keynote Power user, and was at first a little flummoxed with the changes. But having now spent quite a few hours with the new Keynote and Pages, it has helped me to push my focus back to where is should always be – how best to communicate my message to my audiences. If Apple had added more features and more animations, I know I would have ‘played’ with them. The streamlining and the removal of some features, I think, will prove to be a blessing in disguise for many people as it will force them to focus on their message and not the clever little animations that pretty much all power users like to play with and not always to their audiences benefit.

    • I think since Keynote 1.0 in 2003, for those of us who adapted quickly to it, many coming from Powerpoint, we knew it was something special even though it had many fewer whistles and bells. A third party cottage industry of developers for themes and art developed as a result, and many of us stretched our creativity tendons in order to stay with it. We were eventually rewarded via updates with more features and abilities, albeit with glaring omissions such as my precious timeline, and the homogeneity of “Group”, as well as the inability to show layers.

      But at Keynote 5, I think many of us were starting to experience too many beach balls and hangs in both preparation as well as the presentation giving, and Keynote has become encrusted with cruft and needed a clean out. That’s now happened, and the Keynote team have approached it with a new broom. More will be added, but I do feel that parity with iOS was the main game here, and shipping to a deadline come what may. Perhaps now the team has more freedom to include some of those omitted elements in demand, plus a few new twists – especially callouts on the fly.

      Ta for your comment – I’ve corrected your last sentence.

  3. And don’t forget: “Gort! Klaatu barada nikto!” ;-))

  4. I use Numbers a lot more than Keynote and another site had this hue and cry from Numbers users that you could no longer select a range of cells and sort on them. (Which left the rows that were outside of the selection alone.) You now have to sort based on entire columns.

    Some of the complainers talked about column headers, not knowing that you can lock column headers so that they don’t scroll or sort. Most of the complainers were used to spreadsheets that lump all kinds of disparate data into a grid, as you’ve always done in Excel. So if you have a bunch of notes about your data, you throw them into rows after all of the data. You don’t want to sort these notes, so you need to be able to sort only selections.

    Of course, Numbers allows you to have multiple spreadsheets, text boxes, graphs, and graphics on a single page, so it’s seriously anti-Numbers to lump everything into one spreadsheet in the first place. You should put your data into a spreadsheet and your notes into a text box, where you can edit it like, well, text. And it won’t be sorted when you sort the spreadsheet.

    I imagine that similar things have happened in Keynote, as well.

    I also agree with you that there is some parallel to Final Cut Pro. I was a video editor until just recently, and saw the brilliance of FCP X’s changes. Unfortunately, they did leave out some features that professionals need, and didn’t fully implement some new features. (Like being super-flexible with outputs and tags.) They should have kept FCP X as a “future preview beta” for a year or two in parallel with FCP 7, but even with that fundamental mistake, I’ve not found another editor as powerful and fast at editing as FCP X.

    I’d also amplify Carl’s point, above, that some of the missing features may have been used as Bling that attempted to make a poor presentation better.

  5. For people who are neither 77-year-old grandmas nor perhaps ultra-power-users — for the serious but not “artistic” users of Keynote, what are the most important missing features from your point of view? I have lots of slide decks and use transitions and build effects, notably the “magic move” feature to move from one slide to the same element in the next slide, but don’t go out of my way to produce ultra-decorated or tricky slides. The few decks I have had time to open in Keynote 6 look OK so far.

    What should we be on the lookout for, in terms of lost features or unexpected “gotchas” in the new version?

    • Alan, start with what you like, use and know best. Magic Move has been vastly improved and ought to inspire some experimentation with your existing files. For me, the loss of alpha channel transparency in my purchased Quicktime movies is a significant loss, which I hope is returned quickly.


  6. Les:

    I am far from a Keynote power-user but I have spent a fair amount of time creating client presentations. I had problem in Keynote 5 and I found a work-around solution to help me. I wanted to play a piece of music for a finite number of slides, then I wanted to play another piece of music for a next set of slides, and so on. The workaround I stumbled upon was to actually create SEPARATE Keynote presentations and then hyperlink them together. Each presentation was new slides and new music.

    Regrettably–and even though you have unlocked the hyperlink function buried away in Keynote 6–there is no option (as there was in 5) to link to a new show. Any ideas?

    Many thanks,

    • Linking to other Keynote files is no longer available in Keynote 6, it seems. There may be a workaround to locate your file via a Finder based address, much like iCal locates attachments for sharing but whether that would either open or merely play the file seamlessly as occurred with v5 is moot. We can only wait for another point update to see if Apple includes this in a series of returning features. Higher on the list is alpha masking movies which many power users have hundreds in their collection. Seems no way around that less recording in Keynote 5 as a movie then embedding in a Keynote 6 slide.

      Ta for commenting,


      • Thanks for your speedy response.I sill cling to 5 until 6 is [hopefully] more hearty.

      • I am guessing this (linking two presentations) has not yet been resolved, since i cannot find it in KN 6.6. I am faced with firing up PPT, I am afraid. Gack.

      • Yes, I was hoping to see its appearance too, but can only imagine the engineering team have yet to find a way to do it on iOS devices. They seem bent on parity.

  7. Oops, fixed typo:
    Thanks for your speedy response. I shall cling to 5 until 6 is [hopefully] more hearty.

  8. Hi,
    How can I copy/drag a slide from a keynote 6.2 presentation to another presentation in keynote 5.3 ? (I do not want to copy it as an image)
    btw, I really regret upgrading some my presentation to 6.2.
    Rima A.

    • You don’t drag a slide from 6.2 to 5.3 (or Keynote 09). Instead, create a new KN6.2 file, and drag your selected slide to it. Then under “File”, select “Export to…”, and select Keynote 09, and that should do it.


      • That was a very fast reply! Thank you.

        I am not a computer person. I feel stress not to have one simple practical system to work with. I have so many presentations in keynote 5.2 and with time I need to add to them. Does this mean I have to change all to KN 09? and what is the difference between 09 & 6.2?

  9. Carlo Hagemann

    Updates are always awkward because one has to get used to the new place for buttons etc. That said, I miss one function that was very dear to me. I can’t link to another keynote presentation anymore. And that was, over the last three years the function I used most frequently.
    I’m not so fond of linearity in presentations, so I’ve made a ‘central’ keynote, that had references/links to other presentations. When done with one of those, I returned to the central keynote, and could go to the second (or the third, if I wished to do so.

    Will this possibility ever be restored???


  10. Carlo Hagemann

    Sorry, I see some remarks on this are made earlier…

  11. Hoping you can help? I managed to attach the weblink to my Keynote slide page but it only shows the link – how can I get the image (the webpage) to show on my presentation? Thanks,

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