Use the Logitech Wireless Presenter with Keynote

Jan 30, '07 07:30:02AM

Contributed by: kbradnam

The excellent Logitech Cordless Presenter is a great wireless remote for presentations. In addition to advancing slides and controlling volume, the remote also has two buttons that are meant to start/stop the presentation and blank the screen. However, whilst these work with PowerPoint, they will not work with Keynote by default.

I was curious to know exactly what signals (keyboard commands) these buttons send, and after some testing, I determined the following:

Because the Logitech remote uses Page Up and Page Down for navigation (rather than up/down or left/right), this means that your remote will also work to scroll up and down in many other applciations. Also, if you press any number during your presentation, you will access the slide navigator tool (one of the things that I love about Keynote) and now the left/right buttons on the remote will also allow you to navigate through your slides (though you still need to hit enter on the keyboard to select the actual slide).

The F5/esc button on the remote (which starts and stops PowerPoint presentations) does not work in Keynote by default. To fix this, you need to open System Preferences, select the Keyboard & Mouse panel, and then select the Keyboard Shortcuts tab. Click the Plus button to assign a new shortcut and a new panel appears. Add Keynote as the application (you'll have to scroll to the bottom of the list, select Other... and then find where Keynote is installed). In the Menu Title section, type Play slideshow and then assign this to the keyboard shortcut of F5. When you then restart Keynote, you can click on the View menu and you will see that "Play slideshow" is now linked to the F5 shortcut (instead of the default Command-Option-P).

Note that the single F5/Esc button on the remote actually sends two different keyboard signals. This also explains why sometimes it takes two presses of this button to launch the presentation in Keynote (it depends on whether the last press was the F5 or Escape action).

The mapping of the blank screen button to the period key makes sense in PowerPoint, as this is the key that blanks the screen. However, in Keynote, the period key is one of the keys that you can press to quit a presentation. As far as I can tell, the keyboard preferences in Mac OS X do not allow you to reassign a shortcut to just a vanilla key without a modifier key also being pressed (Command, Option, Control etc.). This makes the blank button of the remote pretty much useless (in Keynote). Especially when the second press of the F5/esc button will also quit the presentation.

The bottom line is that the F5 button on the remote could probably be used to trigger any menu command in Keynote (or any other application). There are probably more creative uses for this remote if there was a way to utilze the blank screen button (as well as the volume up/down buttons) to trigger different events.

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