I'd like to build a series of Keynote presentations that contain some dynamic elements. By that I mean some elements are "compiled" in later. For example if I have a code sample on a slide, I want to be able to pull the latest code sample in from an external file when it is time to create the presentation. So 75% of the presentation is static, but then 25% needs to be included at the last minute. There should be some sort of place holder that is preformatted, and then the specific text is added in with the correct formatting.

Also these dynamic bits may be included from one of a few different sources. For example if the presentation is on Java it would include Java examples, but the next time it could include Objective-C examples.

In the past I end up effectively forking my Keynote presentation by creating a new copy, adding the dynamic bits manually, and then updating it. But then when the next presentation comes up I end up repeating the process, and since the forked copy is updated from the original, then I need to fork it from there, which means cutting out all the dynamic bits and replacing them. So I would like a better solution.

Seems like this is something that should be able to be accomplished through AppleScript or Automator, but I honestly know little about these two tools.

Thanks in advance!

  • 1
    Have you tried using placeholder text (ctrl-opt-cmd-T), file templates (File > Save as Template...), or stationery (Finder: Get Info... > Stationery)? I don't understand your question completely, but one of those might solve at least part of the problem.
    – Tuesday
    Commented Jan 24, 2012 at 4:38

1 Answer 1


You could create your keynote presentation as a series of separate files (either slides, or sections, eg. slides 1-20, slides 21-25, slides 26-40) and then merging them using Automator. This way you could simply replace slides 21-25 with alternative versions prior to merging?

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