Control Keynote With a Wireless Remote

If you use Keynote to give slideshow presentations, you might want to consider carrying a wireless remote with you to free yourself from your Macintosh’s keyboard. Instead of using the keyboard or mouse to advance the slides, use a remote. Previously, I wrote about controlling Microsoft PowerPoint using an Apple Remote. This Tech Tip is about controlling Apple’s Keynote using either an Apple or a Logitech remote.

Apple’s infrared remote can be used to start a Keynote presentation and move forward and backward through the slides. As needed, you could buy an Apple Remote ($19), or maybe you have one that came bundled with one of your Macs. Apple has shipped two models of remotes. The original model was made of white plastic. It was sold between 2005-2009. In 2009 it was replaced by a taller, aluminum remote. In my testing, both work just fine with Keynote 2009 and they should work with other versions of Keynote as well. I don’t know the remote’s maximum range, but distance has never been an issue for me. Unfortunately, the remote does not work with all Macintosh models, including MacBook Airs made after 2010, since Apple has stopped including infrared (IR) receivers in some Macs. This Wikipedia articles lists incompatible Mac models. In this case you could either use a bluetooth remote or add an external IR receiver to your Mac. More on these options below.

If you have a Mac with an IR receiver, you might also consider a third-party remote instead of Apple’s remote, since these remotes often offer more features. Logitech sells a couple of infrared remotes. I’ve used the Wireless Presenter R400 ($49) to control Keynote 2009. It just works. There is no software to install though one does need to plug-in a USB dongle which comes with the remote. This device also includes a red laser pointer that has a range of 15 meters. I find this feature very helpful when pointing out objects on the screen.

If your Mac does not have an IR receiver, you could consider a bluetooth remote. Targus’ web site lists a Mac compatible bluetooth presenter. Attempts to add this product to the web site’s shopping cart repeatedly failed. This might indicate that the product has been discontinued. However, Amazon lists it for $15 with free shipping.

If you want to add an external IR receiver to your Mac, you could consider Twisted Melon’s Mira ($16). To get Mira set-up apparently one must connect the Mira device to a Mac’s USB port and install the bundled software. Then one is able to use Apple’s Remote with that Mac. As of early 2014, I see that Twisted Melon indicates that they are working on updating their Mac software so it is compatible with OS X Mavericks. I take this as a good sign that it is still being actively updated.

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