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How set up complex animations with build orders in Keynote

Use the new Build Order feature to make your Keynotes dazzle with dynamic animations

Long gone are the days of mundane presentations, thanks to Keynote and its razzle-dazzle ethos. Apple pioneered the presentation software to enable its users to revitalise the way they disseminated information to an audience. The software made it easy to add music and videos as well as exciting transitions that fed one slide to the next in a more captivating manner to hold the audience’s attention.

MacBook Pro Retina

Now in Keynote you can animate individual elements on a page, be it text, images or more. Furthermore, by using Keynote’s new Build Order feature, you can stage the sequence these animations flow in, as well as scheduling multiple animations to occur at one time. The result is a presentation that will blow your audience away. We show you how it’s done in nine simple steps.

Step-by-step: Using animation Build Orders


1 Create your show

It’s a good idea to complete the whole show first so you can see how one part flows to the next. Choose a template then tap on Add Slide to build your presentation.

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2 Picture perfection

Make sure your images appear at their best before you animate them. Under Format, select the Image tab and use the Adjust Image palette or Enhance button to perfect the pictures.

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3 Animate

With an image or text section selected, click on one of the three Animate tabs and select Add an Effect. You can view by selecting Preview, which appears next to the action’s name.

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4 Style it

Once selected, you can change how long the animation lasts. What’s more, you may be able to change other settings such as direction or intensity. Every animation has its own options.

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5 Text

Don’t forget to animate how your text appears, acts and leaves. Here you have the option of deciding whether the animation affects the text – by object, word or character, paragraph etc.

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6 Build order option 1

There are two ways you can schedule the order in which the animation runs. The first way can be done while creating the animation. Simply select the position on the Order drop-down.

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7 Build Order option 2

The second way you can change the order is to plump for the Build Order button. When the pop-up panel appears drag and drop the animations into their desired positions.

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8 Together in unison

If you want two or more animations to happen together then open the Build Order palette and select the lower of the two effects you want to pair. From the Start drop-down choose With.

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9 Preview and share

Use the Preview button to watch how your presentation flows. Take time to tweak the animations until you are happy. You can then hit Share to send the show to others.

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In-depth: Animation control

Click on the image to view it full-size