The Moving Timeline Keynote Trick

While attending the World Domination Summit I got to finally see (and meet in person) Nancy Duarte. Nancy is a remarkable communicator and helped many high profile clients with presentations, including Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth presentation.

During the presentation she did some timelines where the timeline would move while she spoke. During the WGS geek lunch afterward, several people were asking how she did it. I was happy to explain this is a nut I have already cracked. In order to create a timeline that moves, you simply need to make a timeline bigger than a single slide and then stack them next to each other. Then you can use the Push transition to make it appear as if the timeline itself is moving when all you are really doing is transitioning from one slide to the next. For instance I will take the following three slides. Each one represents a small piece of a larger timeline.

When creating this timeline, start out with one slide and get your timeline set exactly where you want it. Then duplicate the slide as many times as you need. If you need to make adjustments to the actual line, be very careful that you don’t move it vertically or it completely ruins the effect. I also usually add a small dot the beginning or ending of the timeline drawn with a keynote graphics element.

Then I will place them next to each other as they will appear in Keynote’s presentation. When assembled this way you can see it looks like one single timeline even though it’s three individual slides.

Screen Shot 2013-07-30 at 8.49.36 PM.png

After that it’s simply a question of setting transitions using the Push animation and setting a reasonable length so the audience can follow with you as the timeline tracks across. If this isn’t making any sense to you, I’ve made a short presentation that you can download here demonstrating the effect.

So many of the tricks I use in Keynote are just hacky little visual tricks like this.