How do I control the text box size in Keynote? My main problem is that I can't even select the box, though I can select text within the box. When I click on the paintbrush on the upper right of the keynote page, and then select Arrange, the dimensions of the textbox are shown, but greyed out.

Keynote Help is no help. Usually Google can find the answer in such situations, but not in this one. There is just an assumption that you know how to select the textbox itself, rather than the text inside the box.

I am using OSX 10.9.5 on a Macbook Pro. My Keynote is version 6.2.2. I do get messages that I should update Keynote, though I would first have to update my operating system. I hesitate to face the inevitable disruption just before giving a big presentation before a large audience, perhaps an unwise decision to try Keynote for the first time on this occasion.

4 Answers 4


Short answer, use a rectangular shape as you were to draw a block, and then just type words inside it. Then you can change its size freely. However, this is NOT called textbox in Keynote.

The confusion/frustration comes from how Keynote and Powerpoint handle textbox. In Keynote, I think a textbox can't be changed height wise, since it's supposed to big enough to expose all the texts in it. So you can't arbitrarily change its size. In contrary, Powerpoint let you change the size of a textbox freely even if you block some of the texts in it.

Mac OSX Yosemite 10.10.3

Keynote version 6.5.3(2151) (don't think these matters in this case)


Selecting the box turns out to be easy (but is undocumented). You just click outside the box first, and then click inside the box. If one then selects text inside the box, one is able to select a tab labelled Text, when you can control Font and Font Size. Other tabs control other aspects of the text.


If you select the text inside the box and click Command+C to copy the text and then click anywhere on the slide and click Command +V. The text will then paste into a new box that does not auto-resize. Instead the text will stay the same size and the box will get bigger as your type.


After you insert the text box go to the format/arrange tab and set the width of the inserted and selected text box. This width will stay constant and will not change once you write/insert new text!

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