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Keynote tutorial: How to master Keynote’s presentation tools

Follow our guide and learn how to use Keynote's presentation tools to make sure the polished and well-designed project you created is presented how you intended.

Keynote - Presentation Tools - Featured

Keynote - Presentation Tools - Featured
Keynote - Presentation Tools - Sidebar
Keynote offers a wealth of tools built specifically for people who deliver presentations live.
It’s all executed through the app’s dual-screen mode, which shows your slideshow on an external display simultaneously with a number of tools on your Mac. These assists can be as simple as showing you what’s on the next slide, or a readout for how much time has passed since you started the presentation. It also includes an indicator for when the slide animations have finished, which is incredibly useful for avoiding messy slide transitions. The app’s Presenter tools really excel when you start customising them. This includes not just toggling certain assists on and off, but also resizing and rearranging them on screen. Let’s get started.

Keynote - Presentation Tools - Step-by-Step

Keynote - Presentation Tools - Step 1


Step 1: Show notes

When you’re delivering the presentation you’ll want some cue cards to prompt you. Start by clicking on the menu bar and selecting Show Presenter Notes.

Keynote - Presentation Tools - Step 2

Step 2: Jot down

Using the text box at the bottom of the screen, write down any notes that you think you’ll need. Repeat this for all the slides in your deck.

Keynote - Presentation Tools - Step 3

Step 3: Find your tools

Once done, it’s time to look at what you’ll be seeing during the presentation. Click on Play in the menu bar, followed by Customize Presenter Display.

Keynote - Presentation Tools - Step 4

Step 4: Toggle notes

You will be taken to a new screen that shows the current layout of your Presenter tools. To see your notes for each slide, tick the matching checkbox.

Keynote - Presentation Tools - Step 5

Step 5: Ready to advance

If you’re using animations to bring in slide content, tick Ready to Advance Indicator to see a prompt at the top of the screen when they’ve all finished.

Keynote - Presentation Tools - Step 6

Step 6: Clock watching

By default, a digital clock will sit underneath your current slide. It’s a simple, but crucial tool for keeping track of time if you’ve started early or late.

Keynote - Presentation Tools - Step 7

Step 7: Timekeeping

The other readout shows how much time has passed since you started. Tick the second checkbox to show a countdown if you’re prone to waffling on.

Keynote - Presentation Tools - Step 8

Step 8: Move around

Rearrange the Presenter tools as you see fit, either by dragging them across the screen or using the arrow symbol in the bottom-right corner to resize them.

Keynote - Presentation Tools - Step 9

Step 9: Rehearse

When you’re finished, hit Done to save preferences. You can now practice with the tools by clicking Play in the menu bar, followed by Rehearse Slideshow.

(Click on the image below to zoom in and view the annotations)

Keynote - Presentation Tools - Annotated