Learning from the best: digging into Steve Jobs Keynote presentations

Keynote: Lecture slides like Apple CEO Steve Jobs

The presentations of Steve Jobs have always followed a fixed pattern. For each event, the Apple CEO was designing slides that are exactly matched to the content and discreetly dealt with effects. This article shows how users can use Keynote like Steve Jobs.

The product presentations of Steve Jobs were a cult: Whenever the Apple CEO in jeans and black roll-neck sweater was on the stage, the whole IT industry was only about him. This article provides useful tips for all users who want to create as beautiful presentations as Steve Jobs did. If you are fed up with PowerPoint and would like to build beautiful slides like Steve Jobs, you only need Keynote from iWork and some creativity.

Keynote for the slides

If Apple’s iWork is not ordered directly when ordering a new Macintosh, the user can also buy it at any time in an Apple store on site – the presentation program is also available as a single download for a fee of $19.99 in the Mac App Store ready. But if you purchased your Mac after October 1, 2013, Keynote will be FREE for you.

After the successful configuration, users should be careful when creating the first file: Keynote offers various default templates, of which Steve Jobs practically used the Gradient theme. Check out this Keynote themes collection to get creative Keynote themes and templates for free that will look great in 2017.

The slide size should be adjusted to a higher value than 1024 x 768 points, as most projectors can project significantly more pixels natively onto the screen. 1920 x 1080 pixels is quite an acceptable value.

Typography and effects

Until the Apple CEO entered the stage, the audience usually listens to some music for relaxation. If you want to implement the same effect in Apple Keynote, you can insert a home page, usually with a black background, which contains no text objects and only contains a hidden audio file.

Speaking of text: Steve Jobs in most presentations used the default setting Gill Sans font. Aware users, on the other hand, should be careful: Steve Jobs practically never puts a title on the contents of a slide but is limited to the essential information. Also, data such as page number and page number, the name of the originator of a file and other master data waive jobs.

Another rule, the manager apparently did also very seriously: You should always choose at least one font size, which is half the average age of all participants. In doubt, the greater the text, the better it can be read in the back rows.

The effects of Apple Keynote are used intensively for the slides: practically every slide is empty at the beginning or shows only a few contents, which are supplemented after the oral presentation. A new text object, which contains mainly great innovations, flies once in a circular arc and lands with dust effect in its place (mostly horizontal and vertically centered).

The transitions between individual slides themselves, on the other hand, are only subtly animated: the Apple manager sets a soft overlap so that contents are not jerky and the voltage is maintained for a long time.

Pictures, videos, and lists


For Steve Jobs, images were more important than text: this is the way to endorse the content, show new products or illustrate certain things. Graphics, without exception, have a transparent background: This results in the object being perfectly integrated into the film and the observer seeing through the color sequence, which has a very professional and plastic effect. Photos usually appeared full-screen, just like videos – here, the Apple boss usually left the stage completely, to have really no spectators in the field of view. Statistics may like Steve Jobs, but only in the presentation itself and not on the slides.

Long list lists were also not available: So-called tag-clouds often replace these. In these clouds, for example, users can accommodate many elements that they do not want to go into in detail. At the same time, it is also easy to make nice gradations by just adding a smaller or larger font to surrounding objects than surrounding objects.

The creation of a tag cloud in Keynote is relatively complex, but even beginners with some practice achieve impressive results. On the web, there are also some helpful services for such tag clouds – an example would be Wordle  – which can make a nice looking graphic from any number of terms.


Steve Jobs followed the same motto in the layout of his presentations as with the design of the Macintosh and iPhone: Less is more. Long texts, endless statistics, and ugly clip arts were obviously frowned upon. Apple style slides can be implemented very easily in Apple’s keynote program, but can also be created theoretically with other presentation applications.

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