I am looking for a tool to automatically convert a set of Beamer slides (in PDF format) into current versions of Keynote. I have hundreds of slides, so need something automated. To be clear, each slide is a single page in the PDF.

I do realize this is a rehash of this question, but after exploring the answers, they either a) do not work for current versions of Keynote, b) are no longer available, or c) are not automated. The app mentioned in the first answer seems like it might be workable, but requires access to an older version of Keynote in order to update the file produced by the app, such that it is then eligible for the current versions of Keynote. I do not have access to older versions of Keynote.

4 Answers 4


Launch Keynote

As mac Keynote cannot open PDF directly, you will need to launch Keynote by opening an existing Keynote file. Just click on the file, and Keynote will automatically open the file.

Drag and drop the PDF you want to convert to Keynote to left side where all the Keynote pages are listed in thumbnails. You can move up and down while dragging the PDF to the Keynote. On the right panel, you can choose style, image and arrange icons to tweak the setting of imported PDF.

Go to File > Save to save the Keynote file. Your PDF is now converted to Keynote on mac.

  • I have tried this before, and it only imports the first slide, not all of them. Am I missing something? Jan 19, 2018 at 22:48
  • 1
    @cryptic_star You say pdf in the question title, but then « beamer slides » in the body - are these many single files or one large file - you don’t make this clear, as the answer is relvant to a pdf file as you asked.
    – Solar Mike
    Jan 20, 2018 at 11:19
  • @SolarMike Noted, and I have updated the question to be more clear. However, the original question did note hundreds of slides and asked for an automated solution - those two points are not addressed in this answer anyway. Jan 21, 2018 at 23:01
  • @cryptic_star you can have hundreds of slides in one file or one slide per file which will need different approaches : you can find a pdf splitter that you can set up as a service that will take each individual page of a pdf and split it out, with the convenience of sequential names...
    – Solar Mike
    Jan 21, 2018 at 23:16

This answer is obviously several years later, but the pdf2keynote script here is fantastic at doing just what the OP is asking:


  • For me, it simply added images of PDF slides into keynote. Wasn't useful Mar 22 at 4:39
  • @NagabhushanSN What else did you want it to do? I'm not aware of any tool that can unpack embedded images and text and convert them natively, if that is what you want.
    – Doug
    Mar 22 at 14:34
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    This answer suggests using Liber office (ubuntu) to convert pdf to ppt. Then I could import the ppt into keynote. It actually split the elements properly. Mar 22 at 17:51
  • Great! If that worked for you, write it as another answer, and I'll upvote it.
    – Doug
    Mar 22 at 21:27
  • 1
    Done, thanks! apple.stackexchange.com/a/471446/268997 Mar 30 at 0:23

While many solutions simply insert an image of the beamer slides into the keynote, the following option allows you to convert beamer slides into editable elements in a keynote. However, you will need a Linux machine or WSL (windows subsystem for Linux) for this.

  1. Convert the pdf to ppt using libre-office in Linux or WSL as explained here.

    soffice --infilter=impress_pdf_import --convert-to ppt filetoconvert.pdf
  2. Import the ppt into keynote by opening the ppt file as explained here.

    File > Open > Select the ppt file

Non ideal solution: install poppler

brew install poppler

to split the PDF into individual pages with popplers pdfseparate

pdfseparate chapter2.pdf %03d.pdf

Select all the individual pdfs and drag them into the Keynote side bar.

However this is not an ideal solution:

  • for some reason, every single page that poppler produces is as big as the original, so if you have a 1MB PDF consisting of 10 pages, your keynote will be 10 MB big
  • you cannot seem to customize the importing process: in my case, the PDFs were centered on the new slides, but wouldn't fill the page.

I hope some commenters can fix those issues!

Edit 1: tuns out the size issue was due to the PDF I used. With a "good" PDF, the size issue should be solved.

Edit 2: A workaround for the second issue is to pull one page into your keynote and then select the PDF on that new page and check its size under "format". In my example its 842x595pt. Create a new Keynote and adjust the page dimension in the document settings to this size. Then pull in all the pages. They should now fill each slide. You can select all slides and chose an appropriate background, like plain white, for example. Having selected all those slides, you can change the format back to what you want (like 4:3) and it should scale them up accordingly.

Still, I hope someone comes up with a smoother solution.

  • Agreed about desiring a smoother solution. I put together a lightning talk every year, and a few people do everything in Beamer. I just had to do this earlier this week, and it is such a hassle! I will probably request the Beamer folk to split their own slides since that should be easy for them to do anyway. Oct 11, 2018 at 14:50

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