|Description||Files with a .key extension are created by Apple's "Keynote" application which forms part of Apple's iWork office suite, a set of applications which run on the Mac OS X and iOS operating systems, and also includes Numbers (for spreadsheets) and Pages (for word processing).
Keynote began life in 2002 as an internal Apple tool developed for Steve Jobs to help him present at MacWorld. The first version was made available to the public in 2003 as Keynote 1.0 and was designed to compete with Microsoft's Powerpoint presentation software which formed part of Microsoft Office.
Designed to let users easily create, play and share presentations, Keynote contains most of the features found in modern presentation software, such as a slide navigator, the ability to add tables, shapes and charts to slides and a powerful media browser which allows users to drag and drop music from from iTunes, and photos from iPhoto and Aperture into their slides.
Keynote contains a large number of pre-designed themes to let users select common presentation formats, and powerful graphics tools to manipulate embedded images and provide advanced 3D transitions between slides (powered by OpenGL). The major Keynote releases are summarised below:
|1.0||January 2003||First version - basic features - Import Powerpoint presentations, slide navigator, graphics support for rotations, resizing and opacity, charts and slide transitions.|
|2.0||January 2005||Released in iWork '05. Contained improved animations for slides and text, iLife media browser, new themes, more presenter controls, embedded hyperlinks and the ability to export presentations to Macromedia Flash.|
|3.0||January 2006||Released in iWork '06 with new themes, HD-capability, improved graphing and table features, cinematic transitions and 3D graphs.|
|4.0||August 2007||Released in iWork '08 with easier to use animation features, new templates, smart builds (for predefined animations), instant alpha (for removing backgrounds from photographs), and a new narration to add a voiceover to slideshows.|
|5.0||January 2009||Released in iWork '09. Contains support for MathType equations, a new share menu, trackpad support, "magic move" (for easier transitions), improved presenter tools, but removed support for exporting to Flash.|
|5.1||July 2011||Added support for Mac OS X Lion, and included support for full screen functionality, auto-save, resume and versioning. Also with improved compatibility with Microsoft Office.|
|5.2||July 2012||Support added for iCloud documents and Retina displays.|
|5.3||December 2012||Adds Keynote support for iOS 6.0|
|6.0||October 2013||Part of new iWork suite for Mac, with 64-bit support and iCloud syncing.|
|6.1||January 2014||Improved compatibility with Microsoft Powerpoint.|
|6.5||October 2014||Updated design of OS X Yosemite, iOS 8 and a new file format to improve support for 3rd party online services.|
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|Technical Details||Official file format specifications for iWork Keynote files are not published by Apple, but it is still possible to look at a developer document Apple released for iWork '05 file formats.
A .key file is actually a compressed ZIP file comprised of a number of other different files combined that together make up a .key file. The most recent version of Keynote saves files with an "Index" directory containing Apple's proprietary IWA file format, a "Metadata" directory with .plist files, a "Data" directory with image assets (e.g. backgrounds and photos used in slides) and one or more jpg files for allowing quick previews.
Files created by Keynote in iWork cannot be opened by programs other than iWork.
||Keynote details on Wikipedia
Keynote supported file formats
Ars Technica review of iWork '14
Tim Bray on the early history of the Keynote file format
Apple iWork product page
Keynote file format compatibility
Convert KEY file