I have a complex drawing in Keynote, which I need to resize. I can do this by making the drawing into a group, but unfortunately it contains many text labels, which do not resize when I change the size of the group. I can change the font size, but it's quite hard to get the new font size to look the same as the old one. What usually happens is that the new text is slightly larger than the text boxes, so I end up having to manually resize each one in order to make it readable again.

Usually I get around this by taking a screenshot and inserting it into the presentation as an image. However, in this case I need the image to have a transparent background. I tried using Keynote's Instant Alpha feature, but it left white in the interiors of letters like "O" and "a", and manually removing that is just as much work as manually resizing all the text boxes.

So is there some kind of method or workaround for resizing the text of a keynote drawing along with the other elements, while keeping the background transparent?

3 Answers 3


In Keynote.app: Select all parts of the graphic you need to scale, then copy them to the clipboard (Command-C).

In Preview.app, just create a new document (Command-N). Contents from the clipboard will be automatically inserted. Save this document as PDF somewhere, and drag it to Keynote. This should do the trick.

  • Great, that works perfectly, thanks! And your answer includes a quick-and-easy way to make a pdf out of a Keynote drawing, which is something else I've often wished for, as I sometimes use Keynote to make diagrams for scientific papers. I am really very grateful for your help.
    – N. Virgo
    Commented Aug 29, 2013 at 12:39
  • I am glad to be of help. Have fun!
    – myhd
    Commented Aug 29, 2013 at 13:34
  • @ptim's Response below retains editing Commented May 17, 2017 at 20:55
  • 1
    Cool! You can also just copy the document within preview, so you don't need to save it. Commented Sep 27, 2018 at 13:47

My solution:

  • duplicate the slideshow,
  • resize the entire document (Document tab of the 'properties sidebar' > Slide Size dropdown)
  • copy the correctly sized elements back to the original doc.

Any variation of this will probably work - the key principle is that if you resize from the Arrange properties tab, objects will resize whilst text won't; if you resize the document: everything stays in proportion.

Using the accepted answer's method, I wasn't able to edit the content I'd pasted from preview (the pdf contains a rasterized png, I believe).

  • This worked for me! The accepted answer produced very low quality (pixelated) image even though I tried different formats and settings. Commented Jul 11, 2020 at 22:15
  • 2
    Great answer! You can also do this without the new document. Just resize the existing document, copy the resized elements that you want, then undo, then paste.
    – Graham Lea
    Commented Nov 12, 2021 at 11:05

Being on a similar mission, I found out that Shape objects have a property Shrink text to fit, which in some situations can be useful, for example when using Magic Move as a slide transition:

enter image description here

Perplexingly, the Text object doesn't have such a property:

enter image description here

At the moment, I think I will never use Text again and simply stick to Shape with added text in the future, even when I don't need any visual properties of a shape at all.

  • Great/powerful workaround! Which version of keynote is this? It doesn't seem to exist in my version (13.2). Oh wait, it's there. But called "autosize text" and it's further up in the options! Commented Mar 4 at 17:29

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