In Keynote, audio files on a slide are objects that can be assigned builds - audio file builds include: Start Audio. In addition, all object builds on a slide can be assigned to start on click or automatically with or after a prior event (sequenced). You do not need to click on the audio file to start it, the start is sequenced in the Build Order Drawer of the Build Inspector > More Options.
If you would like to have an image of an audio file icon cluttering up your slide, take a screenshot of one in the edit mode and place the image on your slide but I'm really not sure why anyone would do this given the clean appearance of Keynote.
Bottom line, the audio plays when you sequence it to play - that could be on the first click, on the last click or automatically when something else happens on the slide. Your choice.
It is completely beyond me why Keynote does not have this VERY BASIC feature of being able
to select among several icons on a slide that trigger different sounds or video clips. Many users have
been asking for this feature from the beginning.
There seems to be NO way of implementing this function, as things stand.
This is the most basic mode in Powerpoint, flexible and extremely useful.
I use Keynote in teaching courses (about music) where I have many sounds and clips
that compare different sounds and musical segments.
Because Keynote does not support this "play icon" feature, I have to always use
Edit rather than Presentation mode. With Lion and the annoying things that they did
with iWork programs (autosave, no "Save As" option), presenting in Edit mode often
triggered the autosave "feature" (in our opinion, this is a program-killing design flaw).
So despite the nicer Apple interface and graphics, I am strongly considering leaving Keynote and
going back to Powerpoint (yechh).
Add my voice to those who would like this feature in Keynote. I sometimes give presentations in which I need to make spur-of-the-moment decisions about which audio clips to play, possibly some of them more than once. For example, I may be running short on time, or a question may arise in the question-and-answer session for which it would be convenient to replay a sound file already heard.
A click-to-play icon on a slide would be the natural way to do this. It's frustrating when I see other presenters doing it effortlessly with PowerPoint, while Keynote apparently doesn't support this option. The best workaround I've found is to leave the audio out of Keynote entirely, and play the audio files from my iPhone or iPad instead.
Thanks. I hadn't thought of that, and I can see how it could be useful. Still, it's not exactly what I'm after here. I usually have other material on the slide (such as a musical score of the excerpt being played) that I'd like to be visible before, during, and after the playing of the sound file, so having to go to a different slide in order to play it is awkward. I guess I could make two otherwise identical slides, one of which has the link and the other of which has the actual sound file, but I'd also have to work out a way of getting back, and that's hardly efficient.
Gary Scotland's solution works well. On the original slide where you wish to make a sound, click on an object (it can be invisible as long as you know where it is located) that contains a hyperlink to a slide with that sound on it. The go-to slide can be visually identical to the original (copy slide/paste new slide) but on that go-to slide, along with an object containing the sound to be played there is also a separate object (again, can be invisible, etc.) that has a hyperlink back to your original slide. Repeat with other slides - the key to this is to not move any item of your "background" slide so that the audience doesn't even see the transition.
An excellent way to enhance this is to have the specific go-to slide for the sound file you wish to play contain additional images of the instrument you are highlighting or portion of the score you are focused on can be colored or otherwise highlighted that seem to appear in the foreground. That way your audience will not only see the continuous background but also additional amplifying info related to the sound file.
Each of your "go-to" slides will need a link back to the original slide and the easiest way to create this is to embed the return hyper-link on the original so that it is copied to each go-to slide background (you could also copy and paste the object with the hyperlink attached - either way should work).
All of the go-to slides can be collected together and located after the last slide of your presentation (add a few blanks just before to ensure you don't click beyond your end).
Remember, as long as the background is identical to your original, the audience will not see any difference. Only what you add as new highlighting material will show up new.
I was facing the equivalent challenge and used following:
I now it is bit complicated but it is fun to do and it works.
So to show a "HINT" of the Audio playing in Keynote presentation mode I converted it to Video!
I made a video of a spinning wheel graphics, as a just a hint (bearly visuable)
…...then I added the audio file to it.
Since I am actually not watching the video I can size the video icon to what I want so not to be to disturbing in the presentation mode.
Oh for god's sake...you might just as well use Finder in that case!
Once again, Apple removes basic functionality that you would get in a Windows program because (a) it will "clutter" up the screen and look less than gorgeous and (b) because users don't really know what they want and need to be told.
bwfromspringhill's response above sums up that attitude:
"You do not need to click on the audio file to start it"
because, of course, that would be too difficult for people to do all by themselves.
"If you would like to have an image of an audio file icon cluttering up your slide, take a screenshot of one in the edit mode and place the image on your slide but I'm really not sure why anyone would do this given the clean appearance of Keynote."
Yes, we can't possibly increase functionality at the expense of prettiness, can we?
I'm trying to create a Keynote presentation with multiple audio files on a slide that a user can tap and listen to in whatever order they want, and so they can listen again. I want to embed the Keynote into iBooks Author. I need to do this because iBooks Author is corrupting the audio files when I insert them, so I need to use a Keynote widget in iBooks Author to make audio files work properly! Except Keynote doesn't let me do what I want either.
Bye bye Apple!