The short version: I'd like to tell Apple Keynote to switch to a specific app (never leaving full-screen mode) before a certain slide appears, then display that slide as soon as I switch back.

Some more details:

I'm going to show off five major improvements in an upcoming release of our app. I want one slide highlighting the feature, then one or two showing some details, perhaps with screenshots. After that, so people get a better impression of what I'm talking about, I'll show it off live — to do this, I have to switch to a VM or remote session (since this is a Windows app). Then, I'd like to switch back and go to the next feature. I.e., it would be similar to Apple's "Demo" slides in a cursive font, except not with a different screen, or different computer.

It's this switching back and forth that I want to make smooth, just to wow the audience a little. Can I perhaps do a "special" slide in Keynote that tells it to run an AppleScript? Better yet, to switch to an app, and wait until I switch back, and then automatically advance to the next slide?


You can use the H keyboard shortcut while the presentation is running. This (according to the help displayed using the ? shortcut) is used to "Hide the presentation and switch to last application used".

If you make sure the application you are wanting to demo is the last application used, you can do the following

  1. Go through your presentation until you get to the Demo slide
  2. Press H to switch to your application
  3. Demo the application
  4. Use + Tab to switch back to Keynote
  5. Your presentation resumes from the Demo slide.
  • you saved my life! – bitoiu Nov 7 '15 at 16:22

Using H to hide Keynote works fine to reveal an app that is not full screen.

To switch from Keynote to a full screen app you must go to Keynote preferences and in the "Slideshow" section of the preference window check "Allow Mission Control, Dashboard and others to use the screen".

Now you can switch from a running presentation to another full screen app using a three finger swipe (at least by default). This works with one or two dual screens.

However to switch back to the running presentation you need to use + Tab. You cannot use a three finger swipe!

This is the only way I've gotten it to work anyway! (Yosemite 10.10.5 or El Capitan 10.11.1 with Keynote 6.6.1)


It's not likely. The Mac OS is based on one application being the active application. When you switch to another app, regardless of what you've told Keynote to do the new app is now active and will do whatever if normally does. The reason that Apple's Demo slides work is exactly because they use a different input source. The keynote never stops running.

Perhaps there is some way of making this happen that I'm not aware of but it will almost surely not be worth the time and effort. In the end most people should be focusing on your demo and not the transition.

  • this answer is outdated. it works, check the accepted reply. – bitoiu Nov 7 '15 at 16:22

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