Is there a way to leave a Keynote slideshow running on the second attached monitor while doing other things on the computer? I use my MacBook Pro to run the projector at my school assemblies and I'd like to be able to switch away from the slideshow without it disappearing.

  • 1
    I don't think it's possible with Keynote (it either mirrors the slideshow on both monitors, or shows the Presenter display on one of them). You could, however, export your slides to PDF or QuickTime movie (with click-to-proceed) and show that fullscreen on the projector while viewing other windows on your laptop's main display.
    – fanaugen
    Commented Apr 11, 2012 at 12:41
  • In lion, have you tried using keynote in full screen with presenter notes? I'd be curious to see what happens when you 4 finger swipe to another app, leaving keynote running in the background.
    – bmike
    Commented May 29, 2012 at 17:08
  • Interesting idea! I'll try that as soon as I have another monitor/projector available. Commented May 29, 2012 at 20:26
  • @bmike, in general, trackpad swipes are inactive during the keynote presentation unless you enable exposé, in which case the whole presentation on both monitors goes away. I did find that a three finger swipe, which I have configured to drag, would in some cases advance the slide. But only when the mouse was over the slide in the presenter window, or something like that. It seems like more of a bug than a future.
    – Old Pro
    Commented May 30, 2012 at 7:29
  • @OldPro - I was afraid there was a gotcha. I need to set up a second display and poke at this - irritating there is no workable solution at present.
    – bmike
    Commented May 30, 2012 at 14:31

4 Answers 4


The only solution I have found that's remotely workable is to augment your hardware list and use iOS to present the keynote so your computer is free to assist your teaching without interrupting the display of the keynote.

This has several disadvantages - one of which is not obvious and continually irks me (the undocumented translation bugs).

  • You now need two devices - a pair of iPod touches or a combination of iPad / iPhone / iPod so that you can have one driving the display and the other as a remote to control the presentation.
  • Added time to sync the presentation to iOS.
  • Potentially problems driving the projector - Macs can drive more legacy video formats than iOS can with adapters. Yes, there is a $200 adapter for just about anything - but this cost is not trivial for most in education.
  • iOS Keynote is not as capable as Mac Keynote and many transitions are dumbed down or not at all possible. (Worse - not all the limitations/bugs in translation are documented at the prior link)

However, if you have an iPhone, can present from another iOS device and don't mind the translation limitations - this is a fabulous and very robust presentation solution. One benefit is that you can use bluetooth or wireless and walk anywhere in the classroom while controlling the presentation.


This, unfortunately, does not appear to be possible. See the question comments for more details.


A possible solution is to abandon keynote.

Solution 1:

MS Office includes Power Point. Have no idea how this works on Mac.

Solution 2:

Keynote has the possibility to save to html. HTML has the possibility to load another page after a X second pause.

Note that you could also add links to next/previous pages for manual forward/back.

This would require that you edit the page to add the header line to automatically load the next page.

I don't know how keynote handles any build-ins and actions. You may be reduced to static pages.


It was possible in the original Keynote 6 release, but isn't now. You could simply press the "h" key and the window with the presenter controls would disappear, making it possible to work while you tested your presentation (fixing issues without restarting the presentation, for example). Apple has since "fixed" it, so it always takes up every inch of space on every monitor. I like to have Netflix running on a monitor while I work, but now Keynote hides it and disables the audio, so I guess the days of multitasking on the Mac are numbered.

Maybe Apple is trying to force their workspace layout on us, just like they did with iOS 7? If so, they should have released Keynote 6 with the new iOS 7 medical warning: "May cause dizziness, nausea and disorientation. Consult your doctor before use if you have a history of epilepsy or seizures." (from the iOS 7 update notes, only visible on iOS 6)

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