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Make an interactive storybook in Keynote

Entertain the family with a storybook where the reader determines what happens next

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The usual application for Keynote is to create presentations based around individual screens, or slides, but the fact that you can hotlink text to other slides means that it can also be used to create interactive stories. The key to creating a multi-path story is a large sheet of paper. Onto this you can plan exactly which scenes, or slides, take you where and how the whole story unfolds. Make sure you number each scene at the planning stage. Without this, it’s impossible to create anything other than a very short story.

When you have the draft of the story and plot lines written out and easy to understand, it’s time to fire up Keynote. You will also need lots of images to fill out the slides to convey the atmosphere of the story.

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1 Using a template

While there aren’t any actual templates for this kind of adventure, using one will save time with backgrounds and image positions. So, launch Keynote and select Parchment.

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2 Title page and start

The title page sets the scene for the entire adventure and is also the slide that players return to for another go when the adventure ends. Edit the text boxes for the title.

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3 Add some graphics

Either click on the Media icon to use images from the iPhoto or Aperture libraries, or drag and drop images directly from Finder. Arrange behind the text and use masks to blend in.

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4 Add a link

Click on the Text icon to add a text box at the bottom of the screen to click to continue. Right- click and select Link. Select Link to: slide and then Next slide.

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5 New slide

Here’s your first decision slide. Click on Add Slide. Add the text to introduce the situation then use two separate text boxes to ask what the reader will do. Do not add links yet.

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6 End location

For decisions you need to be able to go to specific slides, but you can’t enter that if you haven’t created the location yet. Add a new slide as an end point in the story.

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7 Add missing link

Add a link to the bottom to take the reader back to slide 1. Now go back to slide 2 and right-click on that first option. Select Link, Link to: Slide and now enter Slide 3 as the option.

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8 Things getting interesting

Now you can start to get fancy. All the images can have borders and shadows added. To make the text options stand out more, use numbers or bullet points. Build the story up.

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9 Export the story

When all the slides and links are complete click Play to test it. When finished, go to File>Export To>PDF and export out as a clickable PDF that can play on numerous devices.

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