Creating Interactive Presentations on Keynote for iPad

interactive keynote ipad

I was contacted recently by someone who wanted to create an interactive presentation on the iPad. Well, there are lots of ways to do that, but I wasn’t sure exactly what they meant or what they wanted to achieve over and above a standard presentation. Polls? Quizzes? Videos? Live broadcasts? As it turned out, it was none of the above. What they really wanted was the ability for students to interact with the presentation in a non-linear way.

So, how do they do that? It’s easier than you might think and really just comes down to adding links to images that will jump you from one slide to another based on where you want to go in your presentation. This technique has been around for a while and was probably first seen in desktop versions of PowerPoint. However, not everyone knows you can do this on an iPad, so here’s what to do if you want to try it yourself.

1. Start by creating all the slides that you need. It doesn’t really matter what order you put them in, so long as you know which one you are linking to when you start adding links. Make sure you think about the hotspots you want to use as the buttons to link you to a different slide. The hotspots can be images, shapes, text, or a combination of the three.

2. Tap to select the hotspot you want to use as your first link, then tap the wrench on the toolbar at the top of the screen and choose Presentation Tools.

presentation tools on keynote


3. Next, tap Interactive Links. A pop-up menu will then appear next to your selected hotspot with the default option of linking to another slide. There are a number of options here like first, last, next or previous slide, but if none of these are relevant, tap Link to Slide… to choose the actual slide number that you want to link to.

If you have multiple hotspots on the one slide, as in the video above, you can tap on additional hotspots at this point to add links to those parts of your slide. Once you have linked all the hotspots on a given slide, tap Done in the top right-hand corner of the screen.

link to slide

4. To test your link, you need to be in presentation mode, so tap the triangular play button in the top right-hand corner of your screen to launch your presentation. Tap on the hotspot you just linked up, and make sure that it takes you to the slide you want to link to.

5. Repeat this process as many times as is necessary and before you know it, you will be able to jump around effortlessly in a website-style presentation like in the video above.

There are a number of ways that you could use this in school. For instance, it could be a teacher created review activity where students work their way through a series of questions. If they get the answer right, they get linked to the next question. If they get the answer wrong, they get linked to a try again page, and/or another example to practice the same skill.

However, perhaps the most obvious classroom use that comes to mind is digital storytelling through the medium of a choose your own adventure tale! I have written about how to do a choose your own adventure story with Google Apps as well as how to do the same thing with OneNote 2013. Students love this kind of activity so if you haven’t tried it before, Keynote is yet another opportunity to do just that.

Looking for more innovative ways to use Keynote in your classroom? How about stop motion? I have seen several great stop motion projects where students have used the copy and paste slide function to duplicate a slide and vary the position of shapes to give the illusion of motion. But maybe that is a tutorial for another day! 🙂

6 thoughts on “Creating Interactive Presentations on Keynote for iPad”

      1. Interesting, what do you mean ‘re-invented itself’? We launched as iPad optimized and focused, but we believe in cross platform, so next was the Mac. Where do you think we’ll go from here? 🙂

        1. Forgive me, just being a little mischievous. From what I remember, the app started as Flowboard and was a publishing platform for ebooks, then it changed to a presentation app, then the name changed to Flowvella and some other features were introduced. Looking forward to the next iteration, maybe on the web? 🙂

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