I am currently doing a bespoke presentation design project for a client in Apple Keynote rather than my usual PowerPoint. Overall, Keynote is a great piece of software, but as a power user I seem to be hitting its limitations. Not in terms of features, but in terms of workflow.

In PowerPoint, I have developed a pretty rapid process to turn scribbled chart concepts in decent looking slides. (Confirmed by the occasional client who can look over my shoulder while I do some last minute edits close to a deadline). It is the simple things that you need quick access to: changing colors, resizing objects, aligning things.

In Keynote I am "tearing my hear out" to do a few things. I know this blog is read by many presentation design gurus, so maybe one of you can point me out what I am doing wrong.

  • Getting a shape color fill. I keep on clicking the rainbow circle, but it is not always clear whether it is active or not, and if it is, whether you are working on a font color, shape color, or outline color. The same with making things semitransparent: shape, text, line, or everything combined.
  • I can't distort the aspect ratio of grouped items when scaling up or down. This is great for images, but not handy when you want to scale up an object composition to fit an entire slide exactly
  • When you select multiple items, you can't scale up or down all of them together
  • You select items by "touching" them, not by including them in the entire selection box. As a result, you always hit objects such as the slide title by accident in your selection
  • I have not found a way to space out part of the columns or rows in a table evenly
  • For some reason, I cannot change the color of the left marker in a gradient. My solution is to put another marker on top of it. Again, this leads to frustrated clicking on the "fill" box.
  • In the full button, there is a nice arrow that activates a drop down menu with suggested colors, there is no way I can set these to some alternative color pattern.

Hopefully some of you can highlight a mistake I made, and/or Apple can fix things in a next update. Obviously, my presentation design app SlideMagic does not suffer from these issues...