Some Thoughts for Apple and Keynote

I am an avid Keynote user and have been since it first hit the market. I love how clean and elegant not only the design tools are, but also the resulting presentation files. Let me also say that I use it a ton. A big part of my job is sharing progress, giving updates, giving presentations, and all sorts of other show and tell style events. This means I have lots of Keynote files — I tend to have four or five that I use constantly for a year or so at a time. I tweak them with each talk slightly for the audience, but for the most part 90% of the slides stay the same. When I do this I do a “Save As” and create a new instance of the slides. This results in lots of very similar, yet slightly different versions of my slides … This drives me crazy!

What I am really after is something that is just like Keynote, but with the cross-over functionality of iPhoto. iPhoto’s new “Events” feature is killer. Why not allow us to store stacks of like slides (not presentations) as Events (or something) in a completely different view of the application — a content management view. Let me organize each slide as an asset unto itself. I could then use an “photo album” metaphor to drag individual slides onto the presentation stack (or timeline, or whatever) to create new slideshows. Giving me the ability to manage all my slides as assets, just like Apple does for iPhoto, iTunes, and now iMovie, would give me unprecedented control over my content.

So to review, what I want is Keynote as it stands today, but with a new content management view that lets me store all my keynote slides and slideshows in one place. I don’t care how the individual slides are stored, but the whole way you can scrub through the events in iPhoto to see the contents of that grouping would be ideal for slides that have very similar information, but might have been changed slightly with context sensitive information. I would then be able to click into that slide event grouping, select the right one for the presentation I was preparing and drop it into a Presentation Stack that I could enter to edit my preso just like I do now. And give me some real ability to store some meta data about each slide so I can search this massive database of content I am constantly creating and tweaking.

Does that make sense? It does to me and I need it!

One thought on “Some Thoughts for Apple and Keynote

  1. I TOTALLY agree with what you propose as valuable enhancements to Keynote!! Please add my voice to yours if an when you communicate with Apple. That makes so much sense. The Keynote files are beautiful, but therefore big, and the traditional model of saving copies and making moficiations doesn[t make sesne.

    Treating each slide as an asset (or at least key slides we feelothers would be interested in sharing) could also be beneficial. I picture a flickr-like “digital commons” (with creative commons licensing built in) where presenters might post tagged slidees that people could assemble to suit their needs.

    If you do decide to talk with Apple about such a feature to Keynote, please try to get them to add something I’ve suggested, in vain. I think that there should be a field a presenter can use fo accept input from an audience — the way we generally use flip chart pages. The current view of “presntation software” is one ot many, but most presentations are really made in smaller meetings, and even in large meetings I like to ask questions for the audience, and then refer to their responses during the presentation. (For that reason, I think that we should be able to give a varaiable name to the field into which we are able to type so that we can call the contents into a later slide for future reference. (BTW, I used to do this, back in the day, using HyperCard, and nwo I sometimes am forced to kludge it using Excel. This could really add interaction to presentation software and perhaps tone down the “death by “PowerPoint” criticism.

    Good insights, Cole. Let me know if I can help you make the case for your proposed changes with Apple.

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