I'm a teacher who writes presentations using Apple Keynote, exports to PDF, and just presents them in 'full screen mode' on the school's Windows PCs.

Often, I set tasks for the students with time limits. I'd like there to be a visual display of that, e.g. a countdown timer, on the slide being projected.

How/ Can I do this?


(1) I know it can be done with both Powerpoint and Keynote, but I'd much prefer to use PDF. All school PCs are Windows and so I could use Powerpoint, but I can imagine that there'd be a lot of formatting issues when exporting Keynote (the only thing I can use at home) to Powerpoint.

(2) I downloaded a countdown timer and it's basically a .mov file. It works just fine in Keynote itself but that's all. When I exported to .pdf it didn't seem to work.

(3) I found this https://forums.adobe.com/thread/581377?tstart=0 and I downloaded the file, but (a) I don't understand what they're talking about and (b) the actual countdown timer in the .pdf download on there didn't work on my computer.

  • To point 3: This gets more complicated because of the different implementation of JavaScript in XFA/LiveCycle Designer (another forms technology Adobe acquired, in concurrence to their own one). Anyway, creating a countdown timer is not thaaat difficult, but requires some understanding of Core and Acrobat JavaScript. – Max Wyss Nov 26 '14 at 10:21

I have downloaded the pdf file and noticed that the file working perfectly as stop watch. It seems they have added a script to fetch normal machine time and display at the top. In pdf You use the marked part in below image.

enter image description here

  • I think it wasn't working because I'm on a Mac, which has some 'issues' with JavaScript apparently. That's OK, because I only need it to work on Windows PCs. However, it still doesn't help me to add stopwatches/ countdown timers to my presentations. – User 17670 Nov 26 '14 at 9:24
  • @User17670: Have you retrieved the document shown in this answer? In my understanding, it works equally well on Mac as Windows. It does require a little bit of understanding of Acrobat JavaScript, in order to simplify the controls for your presentations. But it does contain essentially all you need. – Max Wyss Nov 26 '14 at 10:18
  • @User17670: am I correct in understanding that you want a way of adding a countdown timer in Keynote that will translate properly into a working timer when the presentation's saved to PDF? Max's suggestion would involve making the PDF first, then modifying it in Acrobat. – Steve Rindsberg Nov 27 '14 at 18:15
  • @SteveRindsberg It's a 'yes please!' to your question. Do you you how I can do that? – User 17670 Nov 28 '14 at 19:35
  • I don't believe there is any way of doing it. Instead you might look for a separate program that will display a timer on-screen and launch it from a Run Program action setting applied to a button/other shape in your PPT presentation. That'd mean porting the presentation from Keynote to PPT (or possibly adding a link in the PDF). There might be issues with Acrobat preventing you from running an EXE from a link (Max, I ran into this when testing; it told me that my system administrator had prevented the file from running; I am he and I did no such thing!) – Steve Rindsberg Nov 28 '14 at 20:15

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