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Keynote Rules June 27, 2006

Posted by Brian L. Belen in Reviews, Technology.

After putting together my first formal presentation here at Fordham (it was a group presentation, but I was the one who came up with the slides), I’ve rediscovered my love for Keynote.

Short of using Flash to design a presentation, I think Keynote is the best presentation software out there. Compared to Powerpoint, Keynote is both much easier to use from the standpoint of slide layout and design and much better at how it renders the slides, which look crisp and clean when onscreen or projected. I think it has something to do with the presentation itself being more like a Quicktime movie, or at least possessing its elements. It also helps that Powerpoint: Mac is just insufferably un-user friendly. Plus, you can even see the difference if you compare a Keynote presentation with one on a Windows-based Powerpoint: for lack of a better term, the latter just looks ugly.

But that’s not to say Keynote is without its faults. I think Powerpoint XP is pretty strong for what you get, and it does some things better than Keynote, such as the ability to add motion animation to objects (by which I mean allowing objects to move from one place to another onscreen). This can be useful from a teaching perspective (and my students will attest to the fact that I’ve used it on more than one occasion) and adds a new dimension to what you can do with your slides. Also, what I appreciate the most about Powerpoint is the ability to press “back” and go back one animation as oppposed to how it works in Keynote, where when you attempt to do the same you go back to the beginning of all animations on a slide. In both these areas, I’ve found Keynote wanting (or at least Keynote 2, which is what I’ve got; I’m still waiting to hear if these have been resolved in its latest incarnation before I invest in it). [Edit: Apparently, cycling forward and back through builds is accomplished using the left and right brackets on the keyboard. Funny what you learn reading through the Help files.]

In all, I suppose Keynote’s strength is that it simply makes a presentation look much better than perhaps it really is, which always help when you do make that one ridiculously awesome presentation.



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