Creative Keynote – Using Shapes

Keynote does more than just presentations. It’s a great storytelling platform too. My Behind the Alligator Farm project is being built in Keynote. Why? Because I can easily combine the little stories I’ve collected with lots of photos, family treasures and a bit of bling to build something my family will enjoy.

In this example, I’m building a title page for one of the stories in the project. I’m taking advantage of the graphic tools included in Keynote. These tools offer a tremendous amount of creative flexibility. Here I’m layering shapes, photos and fonts on a slide to build an eye-catching lead into the next story.


Keynote’s shape tool lets me create all kinds of custom elements. In the example above I’ve layered two circle shapes in different colors and added the ampersand character as a text box. All of the elements on this slide are layered on top of each other.


Behind the circle shapes is the photo. It has a square shape behind it that uses an image fill. To create an image fill, select that option in the style panel on the right then click the Choose button to pick an image file to fill the shape. Here I’m using a “paper” image from one of my scrapbook kits. Most scrapbook papers are sized for a 12″ x 12″ page which is way too large for my purpose so I selected the Scale to Fit option and used the Scale slider to reduce it down to something more appropriate for my purpose. The Style panel also has settings for borders and shadows.


The photo is layered on top of the shape. To do that I clicked on the Media button in the top toolbar and selected the photo I wanted from Photos then placed it on the slide. Now the style panel displays photo-related tools. I’ve selected a simple “frame” for the photo and arranged it on the shape so there’s room for a caption just below. The caption is another text box and is aligned to be centered under the photo.

All that’s left is to add the title text and I’m ready to move on to the next slide which contains the story. Look at the thumbnails on the left and you’ll see this little story has found its place in the middle of this story book. That’s another of the features making Keynote a delightful storytelling tool – there’s always room to add another story.

Since everyone in the family has some kind of tablet, my distribution method is to export the presentation file to PDF format, post it to my library at Scribd and announce the update. Scribd supports revisions so I have a complete history of the changes I’ve made.

Windows users . . . you can do much the same thing with PowerPoint. It’s just that the tools are organized a bit differently.

Here’s a look at the project as it looks today.

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