Creating Engaging Online Presentations with Keynote

Transform your online presentations into captivating experiences with the power of Keynote. Discover how to craft visually stunning and engaging presentations that keep your audience hooked from start to finish.

Why Keynote for Online Presentations? 

Online presentations are now commonplace. Whether it's a teacher delivering a lecture, a workshop facilitator conducting professional development, or a graduate student defending their thesis, Keynote offers numerous advantages for creating engaging presentations. Features like speaker text formatting and playing the slideshow in a window enhance the presentation experience. This post provides tips for using Keynote effectively for remote presentations, including professional development sessions, online classes, and research presentations.

Optimizing Keynote for Online Delivery

Play Slide Deck in Window

  • Select Play → Window → Play Slideshow to play the slide deck in a resizable window. This is useful when using a web conferencing app to share your screen, allowing you to tile your web conferencing windows in a control center format. 


Zoom and Keynote windows tiled as a control center. Slide deck, participants, and speaker notes are prominent.
Zoom and Keynote windows tiled in a control center format, displaying the slide deck, participants list, and speaker notes prominently.

  • Display speaker notes in a window by selecting Show Presenter Display in Window if they don’t appear automatically. Adjust the text size for better readability on your device. More information on this and other Keynote features can be found in the Apple Education Learning Center.

Modify Speaker Note Text Formatting

  • Emphasize key information by adjusting text formatting. For example, if you want to accentuate a word, you can bold or change the color of the text.


Keynote slide with presenter notes in three colors: white for speaker 1, blue for speaker 2, and red for stage directions.
Screenshot of Keynote slide with presenter notes in three colors: white for speaker 1, blue for speaker 2, and red for stage directions.

  • Use different text colors to distinguish parts if you have a co-presenter.
  • Use brackets and colors to give yourself stage directions or to indicate the speaker. This can be particularly helpful if the timing of your slides is important.  

Enhancing Slide Content with Visuals

Using Shapes and Images Effectively

  • Rely on shapes and images to convey metaphorical or informational meaning, reducing text on slides.
  • Keynote offers a wealth of shapes and clip art, which can be modified in size and color, and animated subtly to create movement.
  • Avoid using unnecessary images or shapes that serve only as eye candy. If in doubt, large-font words or phrases work best.

💡Accessibility Tip: Explicitly describe shapes, images, clip art, or animations in your presentation to draw attention to their conceptual meaning and aid visually impaired participants.

Customizing Rehearsal Display

  • Customize your rehearsal display to show the current slide, the next slide, and speaker notes. This feature is crucial for maintaining the flow of your presentation.
  • Use speaker notes to emphasize the core message you convey through your script.
  • Use large fonts, high-contrast colors, and minimal text to improve readability on small screens.
  • Ensure text fills the screen in large font sizes. Think in phrases or short sentences rather than bullet points. Place detailed information in the speaker notes and share it contextually, perhaps with examples or anecdotes.

Other Considerations for Maximizing Online Impact

Simplify and Engage

  • Cut the number of slides and simplify content.
  • Break content into smaller chunks and pause between sections to check for understanding or questions.
  • Start with an icebreaker or a quick poll to engage your audience from the beginning.

Leverage Interactive Features

  • Use chat or Q&A features actively. Encourage participants to ask questions or share thoughts during the presentation. Have a co-host monitor the chats to avoid getting sidetracked. When you ask for responses, pause to engage directly, acknowledge, read out loud, and comment on them.

Use Appropriate Text Formatting

  • Use large, readable fonts and avoid overly decorative fonts. Ensure text contrasts well with the background.

Ready to elevate your online presentations with Keynote? Start experimenting with these tips today and transform your next remote session into an engaging and impactful experience. Share your experiences and any additional tips you have in the comments below! Let's learn and grow together.

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