I can edit the contents of a text box by double-clicking it. Are there any key commands to do this?

Here's why - I have a text box A behind a shape B. I can select the text box easily using the objects list or using tab to toggle from object B to A. But once I have the text box selected, how can I edit its contents?

Here's a gif to make my situation more clear. I have a text box beneath a rectangle. In the video I 1) click the rectangle, 2) click tab to select the text box, and 3) double click the text box to edit the contents (but this doesn't work). How do I edit the text box without bringing it in front of the rectangle? enter image description here

  • Does pressing Enter work?
    – amdyes
    Commented Jan 15, 2020 at 8:01
  • @amdyes Pressing Enter deletes the text box's contents, but yes, it does then give me the ability to write new text. Not ideal, but good guess.
    – Ben
    Commented Jan 15, 2020 at 14:43
  • Try enter and then cmd-Z
    – amdyes
    Commented Jan 16, 2020 at 4:06
  • Your animation is excellent. Great question that shows a subtle way to do what you need despite the rigid design of the tool...
    – bmike
    Commented Jun 12, 2020 at 21:34

3 Answers 3


The selection tool honors layering so there’s no way to select that text short of sending the front most layers to the back, making the edit and then reverting the layering.

While you are building the slide, is there a reason to not keep the text on top while it’s being edited?

It’s the same with groupings, it’s best to do all the editing and placements first, then set the layers, finally group.

Now that I’ve told you it’s not possible, here’s how to do it anyhow.

Keynote text bounding box

  • Make the bounding box for the text wider than the object that masks it.
  • Select the text box (Here on the left or on the right)
  • Edit the text without layer changes.



If you open Keynote and click on the Help menu item there is a line that reads Keyboard Shortcuts. Click on this and the following panel will appear.

enter image description here

in this panel click on the link in the middle of the panel and get this new pane shown below.

enter image description here

Now if you click on Select Text you get the following selection of shortcuts.

enter image description here

Maybe the shortcuts you want are under something besides "Select Text" in which case you can try another selection.

  • Thanks, but this doesn't explain how to edit the contents of a text box.
    – Ben
    Commented Jan 14, 2020 at 18:32
  • It says somewhere in there that you just double click in the text box.
    – Natsfan
    Commented Jan 14, 2020 at 19:25
  • I think you're confused about my problem. double-clicking the text box does not allow me to edit its contents, since there's another object in front of it. I added a gif in my post to make this more clear.
    – Ben
    Commented Jan 14, 2020 at 19:42
  • Yes, I was confused by your question. That why I included the instructions so maybe you could find it. Did you look under Edit Chart data in panel 2? Maybe there is a shortcut there,
    – Natsfan
    Commented Jan 14, 2020 at 22:36
  • Yes, I haven't found anything useful.
    – Ben
    Commented Jan 15, 2020 at 2:57

It is possible. Select the text object in the object list. Now hit Shift+Enter; the text insertion point will be visible at the start of the text object. Now you can use standard text navigation keyboard shortcuts to move around inside the box and edit it.

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