The KEY filetype is associated with various software applications, most notably Apple's Keynote used on Mac computers. Introduced with the Keynote software in 2003, the KEY file format has been pivotal for users needing to store presentation data, including slides, text, images, and embedded media.
How KEY Files Work
KEY files are essentially compressed ZIP archives that contain a directory with many files and folders. These hold the nuts and bolts of a presentation, such as XML files for slide data, assets for multimedia content, and Plist files for settings and properties. When opened by compatible software, these resources come together to recreate the user's presentation.
Software That Utilizes KEY Files
KEY files are primarily used by Apple's Keynote application, but their usage is not just confined to Macs. Compatibility extends to Keynote's counterparts on other Apple platforms, such as iOS and iPadOS. Furthermore, there are also ways to view KEY files on devices that do not run Apple's operating systems, such as through Keynote for iCloud or by converting them to more universally readable formats.
Alternatives to the KEY Filetype
For those who need to share presentations with users who might not have access to Keynote, alternative file types such as PowerPoint's PPT and PPTX are commonly used. Open Document Presentation (ODP) files are another alternative, open standard for presentations, supported by a range of software including LibreOffice and Google Slides.
The KEY filetype has been central to the delivery of high-fidelity presentations for those in the Apple ecosystem. Despite its ties to Keynote, its ability to be converted and its partial cross-platform compatibility make it a somewhat versatile format in the broader context of presentation software.