How to Use the R800 Presenter with Keynote (Update)

2 05 2017

After several MacOS updates, the purchase of a new MacBook Pro Touch Bar and some tinkering around, the R800 Professional Presenter keyboard previously created to work with Keynote no longer worked for my presentations. I was frustrated and missed using the remote. Finally, after (too long) I figured out how to create and save the keyboard layout to use with the presenter and Keynote. These are the steps and reasoning.

The problem with the R800 and similar presenters is that when you press the blank screen button on the remote, a “.” symbol is sent to Keynote. You really want a “b” to be sent to blank the screen to black. (If you want the screen to blank to white, you will need to use the “w” key instead of the “b” key described below.)

Using an app called Ukelele and the process described here, you will create a keyboard layout that will replace the “.” with a “b” so your remote will work. The process will create an extra keyboard layout to use during presentations so that you can accomplish the blank screen effect with the presenter.

First, if you have a more recent portable Mac with a USB-C port, you will need a USB adapter dongle to plug the USB connector from the R800 into.

You can use the USB-C to USB adapter or one of the Multiport Adapters depending on which kind of projector you will be using (VGA, HDMI, etc). The multipart adapters allow you to plug in multiple connections like a VGA or HDMI cable and a USB fob. This Adapter is for an HDMI connection. This Adapter is for a VGA connection. Both have an extra place to insert the USB R800 fob to talk with your presenter. As with any presenter that relies on a USB receiver, you will need to make sure the dongle adapter is plugged into the computer and then the presenter USB fob is plugged into the adapter.

This is the update for the process of how to make the R800 presenter work with Keynote.

First, you will need to download a program called Ukelele which is going to allow you to map your keyboard to change the “.” to a “b” so that the blank screen will work during Keynote. The Ukelele app is available here.

Once you have downloaded the app, move it to your Applications folder. Then, open the app and if requested, allow it to open.

When it opens, regardless of the keyboard you have, you will see something like this. (You will not see green keys and but the keyboard will probably be blank.)

In Ukelele, go to File > New from Current Input Source and double click on the Keyboard Layout name. Here, it is U.S.

The onscreen Ukelele keyboard will then populate with the keys from your keyboard. If you do not have an extended keyboard, do not worry about the extra keys.

Next, using your trackpad or mouse, double tap on the “.” on the onscreen keyboard to select and change the input.

Change the “.” to a “b” by typing “b” in the window. If you want the screen to be white when you press the blank screen button on the remote, then type “w”.

Next, in the Ukelele menu, choose Keyboard > Set Keyboard Name and Script. A sheet will appear. Now, name the new Keyboard layout something like R800 and click OK.

Save this keyboard layout in Ukelele by choosing File > Save. Name the file something like R800. When given a choice for a location where to save it, you can save it in your documents folder, desktop or somewhere else.

At the bottom of the sheet, choose File Format: Keyboard Layout Bundle.

You will now see something like below for your keyboard layouts. You can close that window. The keyboard layout window should still be visible.

In Ukelele, choose File > Install and decide whether you want your newly created keyboard layout to be available for all users of the computer or just you by selecting “Install For Current User” or “Install for All Users.”

Once you have made that choice, the file will be save in the Library for System Preferences to access it. You can now quit Ukelele.

The keyboard will not be available for use until a couple of other steps are complete.

First, you will need to restart your computer to allow the new keyboard to be seen in System Preferences. (There may be another way, but I have not figured that out.)

After restarting, open System Preferences > Keyboard > Input Sources. System Preferences is located under the  symbol on the top left of your menu bar.

Choose System Preferences and then choose the Keyboard icon to pull up the window below. Click on Input Sources.

Now, click on the “+” in the lower left.

You should see the R800 file as an available Keyboard source. Select it and then click on Add. Now, there should be two keyboard choices.

You can choose the R800 to use your presenter with Keynote. You can go through the process of selecting the keyboard via System Preferences each time you go to present or create a menu bar short cut.

To easily switch between your regular keyboard layout and your “Presenter” keyboard layout, you can add a menubar input choice.

Click on “Show input menu in menu bar” and you will see an icon in the menu bar to allow for easy switching between keyboard layouts.

At the top right of your menu bar, you should see something like this when you click. Choose the R800 to use your new keyboard layout with the presenter.

Remember, after you choose R800, every time you press the “.” on the keyboard, a letter “b” will appear. So, you should only use this keyboard selection when you are getting ready to play your Keynote presentation.

Open your Keynote presentation. Now, with the R800 keyboard selected, Keynote running in presentation mode, your presenter receiver and dongle plugged into the computer, when you press the blank screen button on your remote, the screen should go black. To go back to the slide show, press the blank screen button on the remote again.

After you are finished with your your presentation, click on the menubar and choose your regular keyboard.

This process make take 5-10 minutes to set up. Experiment with it before your presentation.

Hopefully, this will work for you.