Keynote Storytelling

Where do I begin?

Anyone who has been to one of my presentations knows I’m not a big fan of bullet points. I prefer to show a lot of screenshots and examples. When I do include bullet points, they are seldom the main focus of the slide.

Bullet point example

Along the way I discovered Keynote – the presentations app in Apple’s suite of office software – was a great platform for storytelling. Notice I said storytelling, not writing. Keynote is all about presentation. If you want to grab your family’s attention, your stories and Keynote can make that happen.


Many of my stories began life as a blog post. Scrivener appeared on the scene about the time I realized that my collection of “little” family stories was growing. By copying them to Scrivener, I could organize and rearrange them for any number of purposes. But, while Scrivener is quite impressive for managing writing projects, it pretty much ignored the layout side of storytelling.

sample page layout

Photos and graphics will always catch my family’s attention. I admit that I enjoy building graphical pages. The story is still the focus and the graphic elements draw the reader into the story. Today’s digital scrapbookers have been a great inspiration. There were, however, a couple of serious concerns. First, most scrapbooking apps are designed to build 12″ x 12″ layouts, and second, most scrapbooking graphics have very restrictive terms of use. These severely limited my “distribution” options.

At about the same time I realized Keynote’s layout potential. In the example above, the photo is surrounded with one of Keynote’s standard frames. The orange blossoms are actually two graphics layered over each other and the photo then tilted a bit and a shadow added. The text element was snugged in to complete the arrangement. It only took a couple of minutes to build.

Keynote also supports exporting to PDF so the finished storybook can be read on any computer or device. Since just about everybody in the family has some kind of tablet, it works out quite well.

sample screen on iPad
Sample page from PDF storybook as viewed on an iPad

When I discovered the many graphical artists on Etsy, my design issues were solved. The orange blossom graphics came from Tany Noguiera’s shop at Etsy. They are beautiful, affordable and have very flexible terms of use. I now have a growing number of graphics shops in my Etsy favorites and they are the first place I go to find the perfect design element.

Want to learn more? Click the Keynote tag in the Tag Cloud section of the sidebar to display other articles discussing Keynote.


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