Oct 10

I often do weddings and funerals, and as part of the wedding or funeral people like a Keynote slideshow with 10-20 photos set to some background music.  The problem is there may be other slides that need to come before or after it without background music. The easiest way to achieve this is to make a ‘movie’ of the slides (with a soundtrack) and then re-import this movie into a Keynote as a single slide. Here’s how to export a Keynote slideshow with a soundtrack.

The Problem.

If you are trying to make a keynote presentation that is timed to music, it’s hard because in Keynote you can only add music to a single slide, or to a whole presentation. If you add music to a single slide, it stops when you advance to the next slide. If you add music to an entire slideshow, it starts when the keynote starts, which may not be what you want.  In my case I want the music to begin well into the Keynote presentation, and then to play for 20 or so slides, but not for the whole presentation.

The Solution.

Make a quicktime movie of the slides (with a soundtrack) and then re-import this movie into a Keynote as a single slide. Here’s how to do it step by step:


1. Make a keynote file with just the pictures in it that you want the music to play for.


2. Add an audio file from iTunes to this Keynote file as a ‘soundtrack’.

Adding a soundtrack to a Keynote: From the inspector window choose the ‘audio’ tab. From this screen you can add a soundtrack to the keynote.


3. From the ‘play’ menu choose ‘Record Slideshow’, and play the slideshow, manually advancing the slides where you want them to change. Keynote will record the time when you change each slide. (You may wish to Playback the presentation and check the timings are correct.)

Once the soundtrack is added, choose ‘Record Slideshow’ and as the slideshow plays with music, manually advance the slides (right arrow or spacebar) at the points you want them to advance. Keynote will record the timing.


4. Export the entire keynote as a Quicktime movie, and choose Playback Uses: ‘Recorded Timing’. Also choose ‘Include the slideshow soundtrack’ and  ‘Full Quality, Large’.

When you are finished choose ‘Export Slideshow’ and select ‘Recorded Timings’,  ‘Full Quality’ as in the picture. Also be sure to tick ‘Include the slideshow soundtrack’ (It’s not ticked in the above picture but it should be!)


5. You now have a stand alone movie of the images with a soundtrack. You can drag this movie into a new Keynote and play it at any point you want in the slideshow!


18 Responses to “How to time a Keynote Presentation to a music soundtrack”

  1. Kevin says:

    Thanks Wayne!

  2. jo says:

    thanks – brilliant!

  3. candice says:

    very clear and concise.
    the best and easiest answer to a question I’ve ever found on the internet
    thank you

  4. ping says:

    I tried this but then the keynote file cannot be exported to quicktime successfully after a quicktime file is inserted… How can I export a keynote with quicktime inserted to a quicktime file? Thank you :)

  5. Angelica says:

    Very illustrative. It complies with the promise to take the viewer step by step except when exporting to quicktime that I had to find a tutorial on how to do it but without this I still would be lost.’Thank you!

  6. Atul Rai says:

    Why my sound track stops in between? After recording when I export to QT using Recorded time, and play the exported mov, slide keep on run as it should run but sound stops only after 7-8 seconds for each slide?

    Please help me on this. I will be very thankful to you.

  7. Pastor Mike Gates says:

    How do I undo a timed keynote presentation so that I can make it change manually?

  8. David Fisher says:

    After you have imported the QuickTime movie, say with a timed narration, can you then add a second audio track with music? Could you, say, play that music to be sensitive to what is happening in the movie?

  9. Sydney says:

    What do I do if my Sound and Movie export seperatly?

  10. John says:

    Thanks Wayne, great stuff. Wondering if there is a way to do a larger Quicktime movie, larger than 1024×768. Right now I’m on a Macbook Pro retina display and when I export the movie my images all look compressed compared to the rest of my slideshow, which is all at full retina display size. In other words, they don’t look as sharp and crisp as they did in the Keynote presentation before I recorded the slideshow and exported it.

  11. John says:

    Thanks Wayne, that’s a pretty major limitation, then. Especially for those of us on retina displays now…1024×768 just doesn’t look very good at full screen resolution.

  12. Hannah says:

    You have totally saved me! Thanks!

  13. Sam Renga says:

    I completed my keynote presentation and added music for the whole presentation. However the moment the presentation ends, the slide stops abruptly and subsequently disappears and shows and shows a blank screen. I want to presentation to stop at the end slide and not disappear. Appreciate if you can guide me achieving my need to complete the presentation without any hiccups to abrupt stoppage. Thank you.

  14. Henning says:

    It’s obviously a basic flaw in Keynote – as it is in PowerPoint – that there’s no easy and simple way to time slides to prerecorded sound, which is the most obvious and intuitive way to combine audio and visuals. Sound usuallly has to be continuous, slides are by their very nature not. The most reasonable way would be to start the sound and click slides in and out along the way. And then, of course, it should be possible to adjust time codes afterwards.

    • Wayne says:

      Yes all it would need to have is an option so that if you put a sound on a slide, you could choose a tick box for that sound to ‘keep playing’ after you exit the slide. Then you could have a sound that played over multiple slides. It is such a simple feature that is missing.

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