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Keynote 8, Pages 7 Icons

Updating to Keynote & Pages 10?

The latest generation of iWork is here: learn everything you'll need to know to make the most of
the transition forward to the new generation.


Keynote & Pages 10.x Upgrade Report

Updated October 7th, 2020
To Include Keynote / Pages 10.1 Updates

Update 11/9/2021:
Keynote & Pages 11 are now available. Our updated Upgrade Report is now available, and some of the information below may now be out-of-date at this time.


The latest generation of iWork is here: Keynote & Pages 10 arrived on March 31st, further refining the latest generation of Apple's presentation and publishing apps and continuing the Second-Era evolution that began with the launch of Keynote 6 & Pages 5. Keynote and Pages for iOS are updated as well, also to version 10.0, adopting most of the same core features of the desktop updates and continuing to add full feature-parity with the desktop apps.

The latest iWork apps continue to refine & expand on the features and capabilities of the cloud-centric architecture at the heart of their modern, second-era lineage. If you're already up-to-date with Keynote 9.x or Pages 8.x, the upgrade to Keynote or Pages 10 should feel largely familiar outside of a few UI enhancements, with no major changes to general workflow. All of our currently-shipping NXT-generation themes and templates should perform as expected in the new apps without version-specific updates required.

v10: The Great Unification

One of the biggest changes with the latest generation of the iWork Suite is the move to Unified Versioning across the board. Pages and Numbers on the Mac, and *all* of the iWork apps for iOS have jumped one or more version numbers ahead of their previous iterations to unify with Keynote on version 10.0. This greatly simplifies any references to compatibility, of course, particularly when speaking to the (now few) differences between the Mac and iOS forks in their current iterations.

We've updated the Compatibility tables at the top of each theme/template's page to reflect minimum-plus version references for the time being – once we're starting to include v10-specific feature updates, we'll clearly indicate v10 as the minimum on a per-system basis.

Ecosystem Updates

As with last year's updates, most of the notable new features this cycle have come to both apps in parallel, including a new Theme / Template Chooser experience, expanded Sharing options, as well as Drop Cap support, new (and updated) built-in Themes and Templates, and a few new Font choices as well.

A completely new Theme / Template Chooser experience has been introduced in the v10 apps, adopting a modernized UI that's more in keeping with other recent system app updates. If you're a Pages author, the organizational structure will feel immediately familiar, with Apple's Themes/Templates organized according to various categories, and all of your custom or 3rd-party Themes/Templates grouped in the My Themes or My Templates section:

iWork 10 includes a new Theme / Template Chooser experience - Keynote shown - that breaks the built-in templates down into categories.
iWork 10 includes a new Theme / Template Chooser experience - Keynote shown. (Click to Enlarge)

The categories are, of course, new on the Keynote side of the fence - with a range of broad general categories you can use to browse Apple's built-in themes. The New tab will let you browse Apple's most recent additions to the built-in Library, and its presence certainly raise the prospect of more frequent updates coming from Apple on an ongoing basis here, but that will remain to be seen in the next few updates. Custom and 3rd-party Themes & Templates do not appear on the New tab after installation, though they'll populate the Recents tab once you've started a presentation / document with the system or style in question.

The new built-in themes and templates include a few app-specific additions we'll go into further below, but all also largely feature a handful of New Font Selections including Canela, Druk, Founders Grotesk, Graphik, and Proxima Nova:

iWork 10 includes a selection of New Fonts, including Druk, Founders Grotesk, Graphik, and Proxima Nova.
iWork 10 includes a selection of New Fonts, including Druk & Proxima Nova. (Click to Enlarge)

To get these new fonts outside of Keynote or Pages v10, you'll need to be fully up-to-date with macOS Catalina 10.15.4, which adds them to the macOS system fonts. These will otherwise also trigger missing font warnings on older systems/versions, so bear that in mind if you're in a mixed-generation workflow – these are v10+ only additions unless you include them as part of the hand-off.

Along with the new typefaces, you can also now add a Drop Cap character to text elements in Keynote or Pages 10, via a new set of controls at the bottom of the Format > Text inspector. A selection of pre-set styles are available so you can quickly hone in on the arrangement best suited for you, including a variety of wrap/baseline/hang options (first instance highlighted here to expose the control):

iWork 10 introduces Drop Cap character effects in the Text Inspector (highlighted in orange)
iWork 10 introduces Drop Cap character effects in the Text Inspector. (Click to Enlarge)

The functionality largely appears to ride on the Inline Objects functionality introduced in Keynote 9.1 — if not directly, then certainly in spirit. A few advanced options are tucked away under the Options trigger, including the options to wrap the character(s) in a bounding shape to help add a bit of additional contrast. It's an interesting addition to the mix, and opens up a few new options for Inline Object modeling that might prove more intuitive for the casual author.

All of the new iWork v10 apps also include new Sharing and Collaboration features that leverage the most recent updates to macOS, iOS, and iCloud. iCloud Drive Folder Sharing allows you to share out multiple working documents or presentations with a team fairly automatically, setting the proper share permissions, etc. for you whenever you save files to your shared folder. This is a fantastic time saver if your team is all on iWork (or using via a PC), removing the tedium of configuring each document individually. You'll need to be on the latest versions of macOS and iOS to leverage this functionality natively. Likewise, Offline Edits have been added to the mix, so additions or edits to your shared documents or presentations can be worked on offline & later synced with other changes back in the central document in your Shared Folder. This is a great addition for travelers in particular – though it may yet be a while before enough of us are back to regular travel for it to really jump out in day-to-day workflow.

Keynote 10.x

Beyond the broader Ecosystem-level changes, Keynote 10 has also seen a number of app-specific enhancements that refine the underlying theme topology & introduce a few new slide archetypes.

We've briefly touched on the New Themes included with v10 above – if you're running Keynote 10 already, you'll be able to check these out via the "New" button on the chooser. This is the first major revision to the built-in themes in a while, and beyond the new looks and typefaces there are a few interesting changes happening both under-the-hood and in the various UI touchpoints that expose a theme's structure.

The biggest visual / UI change in v10.0 is the Slide Selector itself, which has expanded to a 3-column view on both the Add Slide / Change Master selectors — shown here in Keynote 9.2.1 and Keynote 10 (right):

Keynote v10 adopts a 3-Column Slide Selector, which will change theme organization a bit moving forward.
Keynote v10 adopts a 3-Column Slide Selector. (Click to Enlarge)

This obviously provides additional real-estate for slide previews, and makes scrolling through large master libraries easier — with the wrinkle that any Keynote 6.x-9.x era themes that are tightly coupled to the 2-step organization (i.e. our themes) will need to eventually adapt to the 3-column approach in a re-org. In the meantime, if you've grown accustomed to our usual organization & grouping of slide archetypes, the new wrap points take a bit of getting used to, but continues to follow, of course, the same general pattern as before. We'll eventually address this on a theme-by-theme basis once we begin pushing v10-specific updates.

Digging into the new built-in themes also reveals a bit of re-mapping of a couple of standard masters, along with a few new slide types altogether. The "Title - Top" master, for instance, of Keynote 9.2.1 is now dubbed "Title Only" in the new v10 themes, which itself is marginally different than the Title Only setup we've used in a number of our themes (more recently classed as Callout Title & Caption setups). The new "Section" master likewise looks to be taking over the role of the older "Title - Center" setups, with a bit more emphasis in practice of behaving more like a true Divider class than the older setup.

A few new slide types join the mix, expanding the pool a bit with more contemporary archetypes. Statement and Big Fact masters both work with conversational, single-point structures:

Keynote 10 adds new Master Slide options, including Statement and Big Fact masters.
Keynote v10 adds new Masters, including Statement and Big Fact. (Click to Enlarge)

These nicely complement some of the archetypes we've been including these last few years, like the aforementioned Callout Title setups, or the Percentage Comparison / By the Numbers grids in a few of our systems. We'll definitely fold these into our standard topology moving forward, along with the simplified Agenda model they've included in the new themes. These new masters don't appear in the classic built-in themes at the moment, btw, so it's unclear if these will play into a longer-term realignment as of yet.

These new single-point setups also play quite nicely with a new text build added in v10: Keyboard. The Keyboard build mimics the cursor/typing process – you see a similar effect used quite frequently in broadcast advertising these last few years, illustrated here with our Isotope-i2 theme & what feels like a *very* timely quote from the great Muhammad Ali:

Sample Animated GIF of the Keyboard Build

It's another nice, contemporary style to add to the toolkit — particularly if you're employing a more conversational approach to your decks & like the occasional pop of movement for emphasis. It is, though, fairly one-size-fits-all in its approach: you can control the overall duration of the effect, and the direction, but that's about it. Apple, if you're listening – this becomes 100x better if it becomes punctuation-aware. The quote above is a good example — the "downbeat" would work much better at the semi-colon as opposed to the middle of the remaining sentence (and not just because of the wrap). At the moment, you'll get slightly different results depending on the actual length of the phrasing, so in practice you may need to edit your copy a bit to find the right cadence.

One of the coolest & most promising new features added to Keynote this cycle is also something of a serendipitous blast-from-the-past (for our team, at least). Keynote v10.1 adds the ability to Play a Single Video or Audio File Across Multiple Slides, meaning you can use a single video object – say as a background element, for instance – seamlessly across multiple slides while the slide layout, copy & other elements remain independent. We pitched this very concept – which we'd dubbed the "Stateless Slide" – to another presentation app maker as part of a "Future of the Slide" exploration back in 2011/12 (though it was ultimately deemed a bit "Blue Sky" for the times). Apple's implementation in Keynote v10.1 is a bit different in practice than what we'd originally envisioned back then, but it's great to see the concept alive & well in any context – it has the potential to be a real game-changer.

It's much easier to see the inherent possibilities when you see it in action – so to that end, let's take a look at a quick example using our new Helix system & the video clip its icon shot derives from. We're using 3 different masters across 5 slides – the Layered Title Card, along with the Big Fact & Statement slides (with a few slide-level overrides on the latter two for use in a layered background context) – in this case all set to automatically transition to the next after the slide's object-level builds are complete. We use the same (looped) video clip as a background object on every slide – set on each slide to Play Across Slides – and otherwise set to endlessly loop without requiring a click to start. Here's a preview of the setup, with the Play Across Slides checkbox visible on the Format > Movie tab:

Keynote v10.1 adds the ability to play a single video or audio clip across mutliple slides.
Keynote v10.1 the ability to play a single video or audio clip across mutliple slides. (Click to Enlarge)

The setup's not as complex as it might seem at first (and don't worry, we've got a few tutorials in the works that'll help with the Hows & Whys when you're using this feature). Yet the output is on par with any broadcast-ready clip you've ever seen:

It's a very welcome addition to the toolkit, and we'll have a few tutorials – along with new themes & feature-specific extras – coming your way soon that will make it a bit easier to take advantage of the power that's hiding here. It's a paradigm-shift on every level if you're used to the "classic" slide as we've known it thusfar, and opens the doors to some really exciting new possibilites for new-school narrative formats.

If you've spent any signifigant time this year – as most of us have – adapting to Zoom as your impromptu conference room of necessity during the COVID pandemic, you'll definitely appreciate the addition of Play in Window to Keynote v10.1 (expanded to include recorded shows in v10.2). Using the Play in Window feature, you can share just the presentation output as your video feed, with other apps fully intact on the remainder of your desktop – so you can continue to see the rest of your group or team while you follow your output in a reduced window. To access the feature, select Play from the Menu and then Play Slideshow in Window - you can even add/swap a Play in Window button to the toolbar via the View > Customize Toolbar option if this is going to become your go-to playback style for the forseeable future.

Pages 10.x

Pages has also received a few notable app-specific improvements this cycle, largely focused around the new Chooser noted above and a few new Template options.

Curiously, the What's New in Pages for Mac page lists the ability to "Apply a color, gradient, or image to the background of any document" among it's new features. It's unclear at the moment if this functionality has significantly changed from its prior implementation — Geneva for Pages, for example, already uses a background color assignment in the v7.1+ optimized templates, and we've yet to observe any appreciable difference between how that's implemented in v10 versus the same in a side-by-side with v8.2. A "Blank Black" Template has been added to the mix in v10 – perhaps the feature is simply being propped back up to provide contextual emphasis?

The other New Templates included in the v10 release are largely focused on expanding the selection of Book templates, along with a broader selection of Letter & Resume templates. The Book templates are once again the center-of-attention, with new archetypes Cook Book, Guide Book, and Training Book joining the lineup alongside new Novel/Professional ePub-oriented templates. The Cook Book is an especially fun example, albeit a very rudimentary template construct:

Pages 10 include new Template archetypes, like the Cook Book template.
Pages 10 include new Template archetypes, like the Cook Book template. (Click to Enlarge)

Pages v10 — despite the version-number leap — otherwise appears to be a largely incremental update, mostly focused on implementation of the Ecosystem-level updates noted above. That said, from a production standpoint, we haven't spent as much time in Pages this past week as Keynote, so we may be updating or expanding on more subtle differences once we pull our next Pages system forward onto the production line: watch this space.

Moving Forward

For the time being, we're going to continue holding on Keynote v9 and Pages v8 as our effective build floor, so you don't have to rush to upgrade in the name of a particular theme or template system — we'll spend a bit of time re-orienting around the v10 nuances via point updates (and replacing a couple of our beloved production Macs now version-locked to v9 in the meanwhile - sigh). We'll have more v10-specific news in the coming months as the larger adaptations take shape.

Presentations and Documents created in Keynote or Pages 8-10 are largely cross-compatible, excepting elements associated with new features, so this shouldn't impact any of our customers that are current as of at least Keynote / Pages v8. As always, consult the Compatibility Table at the top of each theme page if you're ever in doubt as to which version a theme or template is designed for.

We've recently started to ramp up production on updates to some of our original NXT-Generation themes (like OM and Tokyo NXT, for example), and will be looking to close a few loops this cycle on the back-catalog (particularly when it comes to the Add-Ons and Extras in the newer systems). We'll have more updates to announce on that front soon — stay tuned for more.

As always, we'll update this page as new information arises.


This page will be updated as more information is available. Last Updated October 7, 2020.

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