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]

7 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)

  2. Ross Connard

    Even more epic than the possibilities with Keynote are the possibilities this opens up for the rest of the system. Amazing. Thanks.

  3. Karthik Ramachandran

    I am new to Keynote and was a blackbelt in MS PPT. I had all the bells and whistles through add-ins/plug-ins (pptproductivity tool) for MS PPT. Is there a similar tool for KeyNote? Please let me know. Million thanks


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