Macworld (USA) - - Mac User - BY GLENN FLEISHMAN

Key­note 8 ( go.mac­ for

Mac hasn’t reached the apex of its per­fec­tion, but Ap­ple clearly didn’t have a wish­list of fea­tures to push it for­ward. The lat­est re­lease for Mac brings it up to date with si­mul­ta­ne­ous re­leases of Key­note for IOS ( go.mac­ and Pages (Mac [ go.mac­] and IOS [ go.mac­]) and Num­bers (Mac [ go.mac­] and IOS [ go.mac­]).


We haven’t re­viewed Key­note since ver­sion 6.5.3 in 2015, so it’s worth a look of what’s changed since then. Ap­ple

con­tin­ued to push for­ward devel­op­ment through in­cre­men­tal re­leases from 7.0 to 7.3, which re­stored a num­ber of fea­tures that we found lack­ing ( go.mac­ ky65) in 6.5.3.

Ver­sion 7.0 added a beta of col­lab­o­ra­tive real-time edit­ing. Ver­sion 7.1 of­fered up one of the most sig­nif­i­cant changes: an Ob­ject List that made cre­at­ing com­pli­cated builds vastly eas­ier, as se­lect­ing and or­der­ing items in the build was a frus­trat­ing process that lead to lit­eral head-to-desk slam­ming. It’s still weaker than other pre­sen­ta­tion apps, and I’ve spent hours mov­ing items around to cre­ate the right flow—but at least now, it’s fea­si­ble. In ver­sion 7.2, nav­i­ga­tion and mark­ing up a doc­u­ment in text (with replies and threaded com­ments) be­came far bet­ter.


In Key­note 8, Ap­ple added a small list of fea­tures that make it eas­ier to move pre­sen­ta­tions be­tween IOS and macos. Also, there’s more con­sis­tency with tools and ex­pec­ta­tions across Key­note, Pages, and Num­bers on both plat­forms. That should re­duce any fric­tion as you work among apps and across plat­forms, even if noth­ing else has changed.

Im­age gal­leries are the only new in­ter­ac­tive fea­ture, letting you in­sert and la­bel im­ages in a frame that can be paged

through man­u­ally or as an auto-ad­vance slideshow. You can pre­view this while set­ting it up, and then ad­vance through the im­ages while pre­sent­ing or set it to run. Cre­at­ing a pseudo-slideshow through builds in ver­sion 7.3 was mad­den­ing; now, it’s just a drag and drop process. For au­to­matic or man­ual play­back, you can set one of three kinds of builds through the im­ages: Ap­pear, Dis­solve, and Move In.

For au­to­matic play­back, you can set the du­ra­tion be­tween im­ages. This is a very wel­come ad­di­tion.

Me­dia se­lec­tion re­mains ex­tremely laggy, even on a 2017 imac. While I have an icloud Photo Li­brary of over 37,000 im­ages, they’re stored at full res­o­lu­tion on this imac, and it took min­utes to bring up the ini­tial se­lec­tion view. If you switch away from Key­note, at least the load progress is not lost (as it is in Pages 7 for Mac). The me­dia se­lec­tor is a sys­temwide func­tion, but it’s read­ily ap­par­ent how poorly op­ti­mized it is in a pro­gram de­signed to use im­ages.

Key­note now of­fers donut charts, a miss­ing op­tion de­spite the many other kinds of charts avail­able in this and other

Ap­ple pro­duc­tiv­ity apps. As with all the up­dates to apps, there are new shapes of all sorts you can in­sert and then edit to cus­tom­ize. Sup­port for real-time col­lab­o­ra­tive edit­ing for Key­note files shared via the Box doc­u­ment ser­vice is now in­cluded here as in all the pro­duc­tiv­ity apps on both plat­forms.

Ap­ple also added a way to re­duce the file size of pre­sen­ta­tions, some­thing use­ful when you’re drag­ging in full-res­o­lu­tion im­ages or movies that you’re us­ing just a por­tion of. With File → Re­duce File Size, you can opt to down­sam­ple, us­ing Ap­ple’s ver­sions of more ef­fi­cient HEIF im­age and HEVC video com­pres­sion, and clip video and au­dio to store just the por­tions used in the file. Be wary, though, that you don’t cre­ate a pre­sen­ta­tion that needs to run on an older Mac that can’t dis­play these file for­mats.


Key­note 8 for macos is not much more than a main­te­nance re­lease, de­spite in­sert­ing the suite-wide im­age gallery fea­ture as a slideshow op­tion. Even though it’s a ma­ture app that’s gen­er­ally good to use, Ap­ple should be con­sid­er­ing a roadmap for im­prove­ment of its weak­est el­e­ments, and push­ing for­ward with new modes and bet­ter pro­cesses for build­ing and re­vis­ing in­ter­ac­tions. ■

The im­age gallery fea­ture lets you cre­ate slideshows that you can ei­ther ad­vance man­u­ally or set a timed, au­to­matic ad­vance.

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