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How to Make a Great Presentation in Keynote With Template Designs

This post is part of a series called How to Use Apple Keynote (Ultimate Tutorial Guide).
How to Create a Basic Keynote Presentation (On Your Mac)
How to Use Keynote Slides (Layout Dimensions, Sizes, & Design)

Learn to use a Keynote presentation template to build your own supporting slides. You'll choose a starting template, then customize it to match the Keynote design that you've got in mind.

BePro Keynote Presentation Template
To build your Keynote presentation, start with a template like BePro from Envato Elements to save hours of time.

Keynote presentation templates save time. They give you a quick start on creating a killer presentation by giving you layouts, elements, and ideas to use quickly.

We'll look at two options for choosing the best Keynote presentation templates. You'll see top slide designs from Envato Elements (an all-you-can-download Keynote presentation service) and GraphicRiver (pay as you go templates.) 

But no matter which service you choose, you'll see how easy it can be to customize a presentation. Let's dive in.

How to Make a Keynote Presentation With Templates

In this section of the tutorial, we're going to feature a Keynote template that you can download from Envato Elements, a service that many creatives are using for their work in 2019.

Elements is an all-you-can-download approach to creative work. One subscription unlocks stock photos, graphics, icons, and more. And best of all, it's got over 3,000 Keynote presentation templates that save you hours of design work.

Envato Elements Keynote Presentations
All of these Keynote presentation templates are available with a flat-rate Envato Elements subscription.

Even if this specific template isn't your style, this walkthrough highlights how easy it can be to work with a template when you design your Keynote presentation.

1. Choose a Template

Because Envato Elements features more than 3,000 Keynote templates currently, much of the work is in choosing the right template for your next project. 

In this round-up, I'm going to work with BePro, one of the templates that's included with Elements. I use BePro because it's a good "general purpose" template that can be used for many types of presentations.

BePro Keynote Template-
In this tutorial, we'll use BePro to build a Keynote presentation.

When you're searching the Elements library, don't be afraid to search for keywords that match your project. With such a deep library, you can search for specific terms that match your presentation.

For several of my favorite Keynote templates, check out the round-up below:

Once you find your template, download it and open it up in Keynote. You'll find hundreds of presentation Keynote designs that already have solved much of the design work for you.

2. Edit Slide Masters as Needed

The slide master controls multiple slides simultaneously. Editing the slide master will adjust multiple slides at the same time.

You'll want to edit a slide master to add "common elements" that'll be featured on multiple slides. For example, adding a logo to the slide master will add that logo in the same spot on each slide that uses the master. 

To edit a slide master, click on the View button and choose Edit Master Slides. Then, you'll jump to a screen where you can edit the slide master elements.

Edit Master Slides
Choose View > Edit Master Slides to adjust the master, then edit the content blocks just as you would any standard slide.

When you're finished, return to the View menu and choose a standard view like Navigator. You'll see any slides that use the master updated with your changes.

3. Choose Your Key Slides

Most Keynote presentation templates will include far more slides than you'll actually use in the final version of your presentation. That's okay, because it's better to have too many slide designs for inspiration than not enough.

It's also important to note that you should write your presentation before you start working in the app. That means having at least a basic structure in mind. Doing so will help you choose the presentation Keynote designs that fit your concept.

At this stage, I usually start working in light table view to get a "top-down" view of all the slides in the deck. Access that view by going to View > Light Table.

Light Table View
Light Table view will help you visualize all of the available slides in the deck and how you can use them to build your Keynote presentation. (Screenshot from BePro)

As you select the slide designs that you want to remove, just click on the thumbnails and press Delete on your keyboard to remove them. Also, you can drag-and-drop slides into the sequence that you've got in mind.

For me, I typically start moving the slides that I think I'll use to the beginning of the presentation. Until I wrap up with the design of my Keynote presentation, I don't delete any slides in case I want to use them. Building a presentation is a process, and it helps to keep the flexibility of all the available slides. 

4. Add Content

Now that you've whittled down your choices to the presentation Keynote designs that you'll use, it's time to add your content. If you're still working in Light Table view, double click on a slide thumbnail to start working with it.

Every slide will work differently, but the idea is the same: click in the content placeholders, add your content by typing or browsing to images and choosing them.

Update content box
Double click in the content boxes and type over the placeholders to simply update a slide. (Screenshot from BePro)

5. Add Animations & Effects

The finishing touch for your presentation is to add the eye-catching effects that'll grab your audience's attention. Using a few animations tastefully will make your presentation stand out.

To add an animation, click on an object and choose Animate from the toolbar. Then, just click on Add an Effect and choose an animation effect to add it to the selected object.

Add an animation in Keynote
Click on an object, then Animate > Add an Effect to start animating key slide objects. (Screenshot from BePro)

Reserve animations for your key points. Focus on a big reveal or using it to stage in bullet points to build to a central idea.

For the full guide to add animation to your Keynote presentation, make sure to check out the guide below:

Were you expecting more steps? That's it! Combining and repeating these steps will ultimately help you build your best Keynote presentation yet. 

How to Build Keynote Presentations with GraphicRiver

If you're a decisive creative, GraphicRiver might just be the best choice for your next Keynote presentation topic. With GraphicRiver, you're only going to pay for templates one at a time, so if you know what you want, it provides a low cost of ownership.

GraphicRiver templates have the same customization options as the Elements Keynote template we highlighted above. In this tutorial, we're going to work with the Start Business Keynote template, available via GraphicRiver.

Start Business template for Keynote
The Start Business Keynote template will be used in this tutorial to show you how easy it can be to build a Keynote presentation.

The Setting

Of course, we'll be creating a presentation with a particular goal in mind. I'll set the scene. For this tutorial, I'll be customizing a Keynote template to act as a sales deck for a fictional design agency. The process described below would be similar for other types of service-based companies that have a service to sell (think of marketing agencies for example). 

Step 2 has first final slide we'll be creating in this tutorial. Download a PDF of the finished presentation. There are six slides in the download. Use this download to compare your customization results as you work through this tutorial.

1. Presentation Objective and Opportunity

Presentation Opportunity
No matter what context you're presenting in, walking in with a clear understanding of the opportunity as well as the objective increases your chances of success. (Image source: Envato Elements)

Our first step is to identify both the objective as well the opportunity of the presentation.

  • The objective is what you ultimately want to achieve with your presentation. For our presentation keynote design example it's selling design services.
  • The opportunity is presenting the value to whom you're pitching. If there's no value in your pitch for the people who will be listening, then there's no point to pitch.

For the design agency, the opportunity I want to present is that investing in design pays off as people value good design. My objective is to persuade the people listening to become one of our clients.

2. Content

The second step is to specify the content in your presentation. The purpose of your content is to achieve your objective. Typically, this means that you've got to present the opportunity with clarity—make it crystal clear for your audience.

In my presentation, I want to promote how good design pays off. In order to do so, I've brainstormed some content ideas that might work:

  • design case studies (to promote our capabilities)
  • our design process (to educate how we achieve results)
  • previous clients (to promote trust)
  • the team (to add a human touch to my presentation)
  • pricing (to achieve my objective of selling design services)

The above content is inspiration for slides in your presentation.

It's important to decide on your content before you start designing. This avoids the design process from distracting you from what you're trying to achieve. Set an objective and corresponding opportunities, that way you can stick to a well-thought out structure in your presentation.

3. Pick the Right Theme

Now we can dive into design. But first, we'll have to select the right presentation theme. This is a highly personal process. The theme you choose depends on your brand, your objective, your content, as well personal taste. 

On GraphicRiver, you can find a number of presentation template design choices for Keynote, as well as PowerPoint and Google Slides themes.

As previously mentioned, I've selected the following Keynote template for this tutorial. The Start theme feels elegant and has enough visual flexibility to present design services. 

Start Keynote Presentation Template
I'll be using Start, the business Keynote template to design the sales presentation.

Once you've chosen the theme for your presentation, it's time to start customizing. 

4. Customize Your Presentation Template

When you open a design template, you'll be greeted by dozens of different slides that you can use. First, go to File in the menu bar and choose Duplicate to separate the template from your working document. Rename the presentation accordingly as this will be your working file in order to keep the template intact.

Before you can customize your template, you need to: 

  1. Look back at the content you've got in mind. What type of slides do you need? How would these slides ideally be structured? 
  2. Based on the content, select the slides you need in your presentation. Some Keynote templates use master slides (click on Add Slide to see the list of slides you can use), or the template designer has added all the slide designs directly into the presentation. For the Start template we're using, the designer opted for the latter option.
  3. Choose the slides that you'll be using based on the content and remove the other slides. Now you've got a good idea of how your presentation will look.

Personally, I always select multiple suitable slides I could use and copy them to my working document. I end up removing slides while I'm working on the presentation.

Note: If you're following along with the exact same template for this tutorial, know that I've chosen the light version and I've added the slide number per slide design so you can follow along.

follow example
As you can see in the slide list on the left, I've sorted through the slides I want to use for my presentation and dragged them into the right sequence. I removed the unnecessary slides from the working document as well. 

Step 1. Introduction Slide

Let's start with an introduction slide. I've picked slide 57 from the template design.

Choose a slide to modify
A slide design I've selected from the template to act as the introduction slide.

Let's start simple. We begin with changing the text. You can click on any text field in the slide and change the copy to your content. Besides editing the copy, it might also be a good idea to change the fonts to something that suits your brand. 

I've updated both the copy in the slide and selected a different font. In our example, I'll be using Roboto Slab as the title font and Fira Sans as the body font. 

Changing the fonts
The font selection and the copy were changed.

As you notice, there's an image placeholder. I drag in an example of my design work to replace the image placeholder and finish the slide.

Finished Customized Slide
Finished, customized slide.

Notice how easy it is to customize a slide. Typically, playing with text, fonts, images and colors goes a long way to customize slide templates. 

I recommend you first decide on your content, then figure out the presentation structure. As a final step, start customizing. This is the easiest workflow.

Step 2. Case Study Slide

After our introduction slide, the next slide in our presentation is the case study slide. In the template, I've picked slide 17 as a suitable slide for the case study. 

Case Study Keynote Design template
Slide 17 in the Start template is the slide I've selected to use as structure for the case study.

This Keynote slide design was designed to present a company's mission. What's excellent about templates is that you can repurpose slides. I'll be using this slide structure to present a case study instead.

As before, I'll be changing the imagery and typography to redesign the slide while retaining the slide structure from the template.

As you see, a couple of smaller tweaks and adding in content has transformed this slide into a case study.

modified keynote slide template
A few simple modifications makes a whole different slide.

Step 3. Design Process Slide

Once a case study is presented, we'll move on to presenting our design process. For this, I've selected Slide 19 from the Start Keynote template.

Presentation Keynote design template
The original slide we'll tweak to present our design process.

As with the previous slide, we'll repurpose this slide to present the design process. The slide uses Iconography. To help visualize the design process a little bit better, I change the icons to new ones. 

In the above slide, I changed the typography, content and icons to repurpose the slide. After a few simple changes, here are the results:

Design Process Keynote Design Template
The completed design process slide.

Step 4. Team Slide

While some slides are slides you want to customize extensively, others are very straight-forward to edit. Take a team slide for example, just update the names and bio and add in a photo and you're all set. I've picked Slide 51 to use for this presentation, although slides 52 through 55 are ideal as well. 

Before customization:

Team Slide Design for Keynote Template
The original team slide.

After customization:

Team slide design for Keynote
The finished team slide. (Sample profile photos from Unsplash.com.)

Step 5. Pricing Slide

You're also able to be a little bit more adventurous with your slides and change the slide structure. Take the final slide for example, which is the pricing slide. I've decided to use Slide 49 from the template.

Start Keynote Presentation Design
An example of a pricing slide in the Start Keynote template.

Let's say we offer three products. This means that one pricing option can be removed. We also don't really need a call-to-action on the pricing slide, so we can remove this one as well.

With other words, feel free to tweak the structure of a slide according to your needs. 

A template can act as inspiration for a personally designed slide.

keynote design slide for pricing
I've simplified the pricing slide according to our needs.

Completed Keynote Presentation

There we go! We've just finished customizing our presentation using a template. Download a PDF of the finished results.

presentation keynote design

Some final thoughts:

  • Start by defining the objectives and the opportunities.
  • Choose your content and transform it into presentable slides.
  • Pick a theme according to your needs.
  • Use typography to your advantage to create a unique look and feel.
  • Photography and iconography can completely change how a presentation feels.
  • You can edit template slides and change their structure.

The most important take-away: a presentation template is a shortcut. Hence there's no right or wrong way to use a Keynote template. Experiment and see what you can create.

Grab a Premium Keynote Presentation Template!

Wasn't it easy to customize a Keynote template? If you're looking for some excellent templates to start from, we've listed a few of our favorites here: 

Or you can head over to GraphicRiver to browse through our selection of hundreds of professional Keynote Templates. Find the presentation style with just the right presentation Keynote design that fits your upcoming presentation needs.

Learn More About Keynote Presentation Templates 

For more information on how to make a great presentation in Keynote, study the following resources:

Make Great Presentations (Free eBook Download)

We've got the perfect complement to this tutorial, which will walk you through the complete presentation process. Learn how to write your presentation, design it like a pro, and prepare it to present powerfully. 

Making Great Presentations Free Guide Download

Download our new eBook: The Complete Guide to Making Great Presentations. It's available for free with a subscription to the Tuts+ Business Newsletter. 

Also, if you need a primer on presentation design, this article is a must: 

Design a Keynote Presentation Today

You've just learned how to make a great presentation in Keynote using a "best of both worlds" approach—start with a Keynote template, then build a presentation that fits your content. Whether you use Envato Elements or GraphicRiver for your next Keynote presentation, download a template and jump into designing your next presentation now!

Editorial Note: This post was originally published in February of 2016. It's been comprehensively revised to make it current, accurate, and up to date by our staff--with special assistance from Andrew Childress.

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