I’ve looked far and wide for software I could use to make a free intro for YouTube. I’m pleased to report that I finally found the perfect solution, and in this tutorial I’ll be sharing the steps to design and export an intro using Keynote, a presentation software that’s part of Apple’s iWork productivity suite. The application is free and comes with every Mac computer. Upload your favorite graphics, logos, and music to design an intro you’ll be proud to use on all your videos. Let’s get started.
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Benefits Of Having A YouTube Intro
Millions of people visit YouTube every day. You can tap into this massive market by creating your own YouTube channel. Intros – the mini clips that precede the main video – have several advantages, including:
- Drive more traffic to your website and social media accounts
- Make your videos look more professional
- Brand and market your business
- Engage your audience by asking them to like, subscribe, or comment
How To Make A Free Intro For YouTube Step By Step
1. Open Keynote on your desktop and click “New Document” to continue. You’ll see the screen below. Choose the “White” theme that says “My Presentation” in a “Standard” width. At bottom, press “Choose” to continue.
2. Now that you’re in the Keynote dashboard, it’s time to upload your logo and other graphics and to insert text. Start by deleting the top box that says “Double-click to edit” by either right clicking on your mouse and pressing “cut” or simply dragging it off the screen. The drag-and-drop feature is one reason I love using Keynote.
Drag your logo onto the screen. Ideally, you’ll want it to be in a png format with a transparent background. I design all by graphics, including by logos in Canva, which allows you to download pngs with transparent backgrounds. You can try the Pro version of the software for 14 days for free in order to use this function.
Here’s what the editor looks like at this point:
3. Like any new skill you learn, familiarizing yourself with the Keynote editor, and navigating all the various options, will take a little while. Fortunately, the learning curve is quite small. Double click on the box below the logo and type in any text you’d like visible on your intro. I’d like to ask my readers to “please like and subscribe” so that’s what I’ll l be entering.
Choose the size, color, and font in the right-hand side of the editor under “Format” and “Text.” The font I chose is “Chopin Script, one of by favorites. Highlight the text before changing the font, color, and size. You can use the “Zoom” feature in the top, left-hand corner for easier viewing.
There are two other options under “Format,” including “Style” and “Arrange.” I didn’t feel the need to use any of the settings in the “Arrange” tab, but they do enable you to change the alignment, position, and size of your box. The “Style” tab lets you add a fill color, borders and shadows, and a reflection. You can also adjust the opacity. Shadows are particularly fun to add. The “Style” editor looks like this:
Here’s what a drop shadow looks like. In the drop shadow settings you can change the opacity, angle, reflection, and blur by moving the sliders. I don’t particularly like the shadows so I’m removing it:
Note the various icons at the top of the editor in the middle where you can insert tables, charts, text, shapes, or media. Under the media tab is where you’ll upload photos, movies, and music or record your own audio.
4. I also want to add a Pinterest logo to my intro, along with username. If you don’t already have social media icons saved, a quick Google search will yield tons of options. Download the one you like best, and drag it onto the editor if you want to include it in your intro. I’ll then add my name next to the logo.
I like the text in gray, and with a different font than the one I used in my previous text. Here’s what my intro looks like now:5. Now comes the really cool part because we’re going to add movement to the elements. Click on “Animate,” the middle icon in the top right-hand corner. At the bottom, press “Build Order.” You’ll see a separate box appear. Now highlight your logo and click “Add Effect.” Make sure the “Build In” box is highlighted. We’re adding an effect for when the logo, text, and icon first appear. Then we’ll be adding effects for when they disappear at the end.
Notice all the options under “Add an Effect.” I’ve added a unique one for each element, but if you prefer, you can keep it simple and add the same effect to each element. Note the name of the effect to the right of each element. You can change the order by dragging and dropping the boxes.
Highlight each box to set the duration and the order either by adjusting the slider or clicking the up and down button. I set each element to no longer than 50 seconds because I don’t want my intro too long, but the duration will depend on how many elements you have and how long you want your intro to be.
Notice how I’ve joined boxes 3 and 4. I did this by clicking on box 4 and selecting “With Build 3” at the bottom. This will make both boxes, and their effects, appear together. You can preview each effect by highlighting the box you want to preview. Then click the “Preview” button below.
6. We are now going to repeat the process in reverse order by building out our elements. You can choose a totally different effect for your elements or keep the same one. By the way, not every element has to be the same duration. Here’s what my build out looks like.
Notice that I’ve kept my logo and Pinterest name together again. Incidentally, you don’t have to build out your elements. I’ve made intros where I’ve built in and out, and some where I’ve only used the build in feature. Don’t forget to preview your intro before exporting.
7. Export your intro by going to “Keynote” at the top of your screen, then choosing “Export To.” I always export as an Mp4 because it’s easy to drag and drop into iMovie, but you can export as a PDF, PowerPoint, HTML, or as an image. I’m not really clear on why you would want to save an intro to those options, but they are available.
You’ll now see the screen below. Keep the “Playback” setting to “Self-Playing,” and set the “Go to next slide after” and “Go to next build after” to 1 second each, which is the lowest duration.
There are four resolutions to choose from: 1024×768, which is applicable for playing 1024×768 movies across all devices, 720p, which works well for playing movies on iPad, iPad mini, iPhone, and iPod touch, or 1080p, which works best for playing movies with iPad with retina display and Apple TV. You can also choose the “Custom” setting.
I typically choose 720p or 1080p because so many people watch YouTube on their phones. Press “Next,” then name your intro and choose where you want to save it. Click “Export.”
We’re almost there:
8. Import your intro into iMovie or whichever video editing software you use. This is the step where we are going to add music to our intro. I like using iMovie because it’s user-friendly, and automatically saves your projects without you having to do anything. This feature has saved me immense frustration time and time again.
You’ll want to pick a catchy audio clip to add to your intro once you’ve imported it into your video editing software. I’m adding a few-second clip of a manual typewriter typing. I chose this because I added a typewriter effect to one of by elements, and I though it fit well.
I find long intros to be quite annoying so I keep mine under 10 seconds. Longer intros really aren’t necessary anyway. Here’s what both my intro and audio look like in iMovie.
9. This is how you design an amazing intro in Keynote. Be sure and save your intro in a convenient spot so you’ll remember to add it to the beginning of each of your videos. Intros are a great branding tool for your business.
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Learning how to make a free intro for YouTube is a lot of fun, and will give your channel a more professional feel. You can crank out intros in no time once you get the hang of the Keynote editor, which is the best software I’ve found for designing intros. Give it a try today!
Do you have any questions about making intros? Let me know in the comments:)