Keynote for Mac: Add and edit shapes in Keynote

Add and edit shapes in Keynote

The shapes library contains hundreds of shapes in a variety of categories. After you add a shape to a slide, you can customize the shape in a number of ways. For example, you can change the standard five-point star into a twenty-point starburst, adjust how rounded the corners of a square are, add text inside a shape, and more.

Add a shape

You can add a shape anywhere on a slide or in the workspace around it, then customize it however you like.

  1. Click the Shape button in the toolbar.

    The shapes library, with categories listed on the left and shapes displayed on the right. You can use the search field at the top to find shapes and scroll to see more.
  2. Select a category on the left, then click a shape or drag one to the slide (or the surrounding workspace) to add it.

    To browse all shapes, move the pointer over the shapes pane, then scroll down.

    To search for a shape, type its name in the search field at the top of the shapes library. Move the pointer over a shape to see its name.

  3. Drag the shape to reposition it on the slide.

Adjust curves along the edge of a shape

  1. Select a shape.

  2. Choose Format > Shapes and Lines > Make Editable (from the Format menu at the top of your screen).

  3. Double-click a white handle to change a line from curved to straight.

    Handles represent different types of lines:

    • Square with red outline: Indicates a sharp line. Lines that connect to this point are straight.

    • Circle with red outline: Indicates a curved line. Lines that connect to this point are curved.

      A shape with editable points.
  4. Click outside the shape when you’re done editing it.

To change the default curves to Bézier, choose Keynote > Preferences (from the Keynote menu at the top of your screen), then in the General tab, select “Curves default to Bézier.” When you edit a shape that uses Bézier curves, you adjust the curve using handles on the point.

Adjust the features of a shape

You can change features of any basic shape (from the Basic category in the shapes library) that has a green dot when it’s selected. For example, you can add more arms to a five-point star.

A shape with selection handles.
  1. Select a shape.

  2. Do any of the following:

    • Reshape the corners of a rounded square: Drag the green dot toward a corner to sharpen it, or away from a corner to make it more round.

    • Change the number of points on a star: Drag the outer green dot clockwise or counterclockwise to add or remove points. A star can have between three and twenty points.

    • Change the shape of the points on a star: Drag the inner green dot toward the center of the star to make the points longer and narrower, or drag away from the center to make the points shorter and wider.

    • Change the shape of a callout or speech bubble: Drag the green dot on the body of the bubble to reshape it. Drag the green dot at the tip of the point to change its length and position. Drag the green dot at the base of the point to change its width.

    • Change the number of sides in a polygon: Drag the green dot clockwise or counterclockwise to adjust the number of sides.

    • Adjust the proportions of arrows: Drag the green dot toward the tip of the arrow to make the arrowhead shallower, or drag the dot toward the side point of the arrow to make the arrow’s trunk thicker.

    • See more editing handles to make a shape freeform or abstract: Choose Format > Shapes and Lines > Make Editable (from the Format menu at the top of your screen). Move your pointer between any two existing points until you see a handle, then drag. Drag as many handles as you want, then click away from the shape when you’re done.

Draw a shape

You can create your own freehand shapes.

  1. Click the Shape button in the toolbar, then click the Pen button.

  2. Click anywhere on the slide (or its surrounding workspace) to create the first point of the custom shape.

  3. Move the pointer, then click to create another point; continue adding as many points as you want.

    To create a curved segment, click then drag, then click again to finish the segment.

    To delete a segment you just created, select a point, then press the Delete key.

  4. To complete the drawing, do one of the following:

    • Close the shape (add a solid line between the last and first points): Click the first point.

    • Leave the shape open (add no line between the last and first points): Press Return or Esc (Escape).

To modify the points or line contours of the shape, select the shape, then choose Format > Shapes and Lines > Make Editable (from the Format menu at the top of your screen).

Break apart a compound shape

You can divide a compound shape—any shape that has multiple parts—into its components to create new shapes. Examples of compound shapes are a sneaker (its upper and sole), a lotus (its petals), and a truck (its wheels, its cab, and so on). In the shapes library, there’s no indication that a shape is compound, but most compound shapes have complex forms.

When you break a shape into its parts, you can edit each part as you would any other shape. You can use them as new shapes on their own, rearrange them into new shapes, and delete the ones you don’t want.

A compound shape broken apart into its constituent shapes.
  1. Select a compound shape.

  2. Choose Format > Shapes and Lines > Break Apart (from the Format menu at the top of your screen).

    White selection handles appear on the parts of the shape that can be edited.

    If Break Apart is dimmed in the menu, the shape you selected isn’t a compound shape.

Combine shapes to create a new shape

You can create a new shape by combining one shape with another shape. For example, if you want to create a shape that looks like a heart, you can use three shapes–a diamond and two circles–and unite them into a single shape. You can also subtract shapes from other shapes, or remove the overlapping area between two shapes.

Examples of combined shapes.
  1. Shift-click to select at least two shapes that are touching or overlapping.

  2. In the Format  sidebar, click the Arrange tab.

  3. Click an arrangement button at the bottom of the sidebar:

    • Unite: Combines the selected shapes into a single shape.

    • Intersect: Creates a shape from the overlapping area.

    • Subtract: Removes the shape that’s layered on top of another shape. If necessary, move the shape you want to be removed to the top of the stack. To learn more about how to layer objects, see Layer, group, and lock objects.

    • Exclude: Creates a shape that excludes the overlapping area between the shapes.

Save a custom shape to the shapes library

If you created or customized a closed-path shape, like a logo, you can save it to the shapes library, which makes it available for use in any Keynote, Pages, or Numbers document on your Mac. When you save a custom shape, the shape’s path, flip, and rotation properties are saved; size, color, opacity, and other properties aren’t.

  1. Select a custom shape, then choose Format > Shapes and Lines > Save to My Shapes (from the Format menu at the top of your screen).

    The shape is saved in the My Shapes category of the shapes library, which exists only when you have custom shapes. Shapes appear in the library in the order you create them; you can’t change this order.

  2. Type a name for the shape in the field that appears below it, or click the name to change it.

To delete a custom shape, Control-click it in the shapes library, then choose Delete Shape.

Add and align text inside a shape

  1. Add a new shape and begin typing, or select an existing shape, then type.

    If a clipping indicator appears, which signifies there’s too much text to display in the shape, click the shape and drag any white square until all the text is showing.

  2. To align the text in the shape, select the shape; in the Format  sidebar, click the Text tab; click the Style button near the top of the sidebar; then click any of the buttons in the Alignment section.

    The Alignment section of the Format button with callouts to text alignment buttons.
Published Date: Oct 19, 2018
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