Kinetic Typography on the Cheap

I was inspired this week by all the great annual fund thank you videos that have come out recently in the ‘kinetic typography’ style (hat tip to Sandy and Bill for bringing these to my attention). Check out this one from the Calvert School.



Since imitation is the highest form of flattery I decided to see if I could re-create it. In about an hour I came up with this pretty good start:



There are many ways to create this kind of video using special software like Apple Motion or Adobe After Effects. But if you don’t have those programs and still want to do this kind of video then I recommend using Keynote for the Mac ($19.99 from the Mac App Store). If you’ve ever spent hours obsessing over transitions, builds and animations on a single slide then you are ready to create a movie from your Keynotes! Here’s how to get started:


Step 1 – Gather Your Content

A great video needs strong messaging, brand identity and photos. Make sure you have a script and brainstormed animations before you get started. Since this entire video hinges on text consider working with a graphic designer to make every color, font and movement count.


Step 2 – Set Up Your Keynote

Be sure to create a ‘wide’ Keynote (because video has this layout).

Screen Shot 2014-08-01 at 2.12.00 PM

Then start building your slides. Add transitions but don’t set any automatic builds. In other words make sure that when you play the slideshow you still need to click through the slides to see the animations. This will make more sense in the next step.

Screen Shot 2014-08-01 at 1.54.47 PM

I was able to make this video in just three slides by packing in all the text but you could do it in more slides if you wanted so it would be easier to edit later.


Step 3 – Record the Animations

You can’t export a Keynote as a movie with pre-set timing so we’re going to ‘record’ the transitions first and then export the Keynote as a movie. Head to the ‘Play’ menu and chose ‘Record Slideshow.’ Now click the red record button and walk through your slideshow. Don’t worry about any sounds you might also be recording.

Screen Shot 2014-08-01 at 2.03.58 PM

Step 4 – Export as a Movie

Now we can export the recorded slideshow as a movie. To do this select ‘Export to Quicktime’ from the ‘File menu.’ All the transitions you recorded will come along into the finished movie.


Step 5 – Tidy Up and add Music

Bring the video file into your movie editor of choice. I just used iMovie because it was quickest. I found some music on the YouTube Audio Library that matched pretty nicely.


There you go – a quick and easy way to do Kinetic Typography in Keynote! Have questions? Have a favorite kinetic typography video? Let us know in the comments.


Hans Mundahl

Director of Technology Integration at New Hampton School

I've been an educator since 1995 when I first stepped into the classroom as a Fulbright exchange teacher in the former East Germany. Since then I've been an Outward Bound instructor, a teacher, tutor, admission officer, house head, evening administrator on duty and I ran the experiential learning program at New Hampton School for almost ten years. Today I focus on technology integration centered on values-driven technology integration and 1:1 iPad initiatives. Recently I had the chance to help New Hampton School become an Apple Distinguished School and I co-authored the iBook Teaching with the iPad (available on the iBookstore). Now I'm the founder of a scrappy little company (one employee!) called Hans Mundahl and Associates, inc a digital strategy consultancy for schools and non-profits. My free time is usually spent with my family but I'm also passionate about the outdoors and protecting the environment. I'm on the Board of Trustees at the Newfound Lake Region Association and when I have the chance I'm an active hiker, climber, and paddler. My writing appears on and I speak frequently at technology and education conferences.