How to create shortcuts for Keynote to align and distribute objects

So I’m using Keynote a lot these days to produce wireframes and design specification. Works like a charm really, there was just one thing cramping my productivity: missing shortcuts to align and distribute objects.

Because Keynote doesn’t have default shortcuts for these, here’s how to create them yourself:

  1. Go to System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts tab.
  2. In the left column, select App Shortcuts
  3. Click the [+]
    Screen Shot 2014-03-27 at 18.01.21
  4. In Application, select Keynote app.
    In Menu Title, enter this exact text: Arrange->Align Objects->Left
    In Keyboard Shortcut, hit a shortcut of your preference, mine: SHIFT+OPTION+CMD+L
    Click Add
  5. Add all alignment options:
    Align center – Arrange->Align Objects->Center [SHIFT+OPTION+CMD+C]
    Align right – 
    Arrange->Align Objects->Right [SHIFT+OPTION+CMD+R]
    Align top – Arrange->Align Objects->Top [SHIFT+OPTION+CMD+T]
    Align middle – Arrange->Align Objects->Middle [SHIFT+OPTION+CMD+M]
    Align bottom – Arrange->Align Objects->Bottom [SHIFT+OPTION+CMD+B]
  6. While you’re at it, make sure to add the distribution options:
    Distribute horizontally: Arrange->Distribute Objects->Horizontally [SHIFT+CMD+H]
    Distribute vertically: Arrange->Distribute Objects->Vertically [SHIFT+OPTION+CMD+V]

5 Responses to “How to create shortcuts for Keynote to align and distribute objects”

  1. Patrick

    Hey Revi. Hope all’s well buddy. Nice tip! May I ask why you’re using Keynote since you seem pretty experienced with Axure? Or do you only use Axure when you need to prototype?

    • Revi Kornmann

      Hey Patrick good to hear from you, everythings fine! What are you up to these days? I started using keynote as it was the easiest way to get icons into Axure.. I created icons in illustrator and copy pasted into keynote and then copy pasted it into axure.. nowadays I use Keynote just as often as Axure. Axure to prototype and validate UX and keynote to create annotated specifications, which are often still required by clients/developers especially when you work on remote projects. I export the keynote slides as pngs and upload them to invision, also a very nice tool btw. Depending on the project I consider using just Axure and prototype as detailed as possible, or prototype more high level for overal site structure and navigation while documenting detailed interaction with Keynote. Just finished a 16 page keynote on conditional address formats with validation rules based on selected country. Some details would simply be missed by developers if not documented specifically. Meanwhile I used Axure to demonstrate the scenario’s where the address form is presented (1. during check out 2. from account settings)


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