Create stunning keynote presentations

As mentioned in my earlier article on Stunning Keynote Presentations, I will now take you through various stages of creating the presentation: the workflow, sourcing and integrating quality content, export options, etc.

This is going to be a lengthy article, and hence I’ll be dividing the content into various subsections. The following article is primarily for Apple Keynote users.

Keynote Pipeline

In the illustration above, I’ve created a simple workflow that you could follow to create an attractive presentation.


I would strongly recommend Keynote over Powerpoint anyday. Keynote is easy to use, faster to setup and gives fantastic output with minimum effort. Powerpoint is quite the opposite: it takes double the time and effort while giving half the quality. With powerpoint, you also spend a lot of time fiddling around with the software, just to get it working the way u intend to use it. If you still must use Powerpoint, all is not lost. You can create simple and good looking presentations by following the basic principles explained here.



Who’s your target audience, and what is the presentation for? This is the first question that needs to be answered. You’ll need to create variants of your presentation, depending on how and where you intend to use it. Refer to the last topic “Export Options” for more info on creating variants.

Scenario 1: You are presenting to a huge audience. Prepare a keynote. You’ll need a laptop/monitor (facing you, so that you can refer to the next slide)

Scenario 2: You are presenting to a small audience in the boardroom. Prepare a keynote and print handout notes(for distributing to the audience). You’ll need a laptop (facing you, so that you can refer to the next slide)

Scenario 3: You need to send the presentation across to a number of clients. Prepare a keynote video with dubbed audio, powerpoint and a PDF document of the presentation.


The content used in any presentation plays a crucial role in how a presentation shapes up. And hence, sourcing quality content could do wonders to the overall outcome of the presentation.

Quality Content: Use high quality icons, graphics, pictures and video. Sourcing quality content is the toughest part. This means that content has to be prepared well in advance, as quality takes time. Also, if required do not hesitate to buy stock photography/video, as these can be used to enhance the presentation visually, and can also be used for the rest of the project, i.e., project documentation, website, handout notes, etc.

Keep it simple: Use minimal text (with absolutely no bullet points), and lots of high quality images and video to get the point across.

This way, the focus of the audience is on the speaker, rather than on the display. This is important because most of the time, people make this mistake of using loads of text and bullet points in each slide, and the audience tries to read every bit of text on the display, while ignoring the speaker altogether. This is also why handout notes are sometimes required.


While preparing a presentation, you might need to tell a lot of information. Instead of cramming this as text into the individual slides, you could put this as notes for the slide. These notes can then be printed and distributed to the audience. This way, the audience focuses on you, the speaker, and refer to the notes when and if required. These printouts can also be scribbled on with questions or as references to each slide, and can come in handy even after the presentation. Hence, your audience will have a chance to refer back to your presentation even after the event.



Get a basic structure of the presentation ready early. This way, any changes can be incorporated early. It’s often the case that new or better content comes in very late, and you’ll have to replace all over again. So plan ahead, and try to avoid last minute changes. This does more bad than good, as so many things can go wrong.


Keynote offers amazing animations and effect transitions. Use these selectively, and this can wow your regular audience that is so used to boring powerpoints. Also try and create a starting animation using after After Effects, if you are proficient. This could give a very good start to the overall presentation.


Keynote allows so many export options.

Powerpoint – This is the most commonly used presentation format. You might need a ppt version ready, when you are emailing presentations to windows users.

Keynote Movie – If you have the time and bandwidth however, you could alternatively upload a keynote movie complete with animations and dubbed voice over, for the end user to download and watch. A better and easy way to impress!

PDF – If there are not many animations, and if the content speaks for itself, this is the best and easiest way to export and email your presentation.

Handout Notes – The print options in Keynote allow you to create handouts with your presentation notes on it. Useful when you want your audience to take back the presentation with them for later reference.


Well, the topic is more complex than it seems. It all boils down to good design sense.  I’ve tried to outline the basic qualities required for great presentations: use of minimal text, high quality graphics, and the importance of handouts. If you have thoughts to share, use the comments below.