Create Keynote slides from a series of images

Rob Griffiths over at Mac OSX Hints Give a great tip on getting your images into Keynote.
Here’s a quick Keynote tip that works in both Keynote ’08 and Keynote 3. If you’ve got a number of images that you’d like to convert into individual Keynote slides, it’s amazingly easy to do. In Keynote, make sure you’re in either Navigator or Light Table view (using the View menu); this trick won’t work in Outline or Slide Only view.
Switch to the Finder, and select all the images you’d like to use to create your slides. If Keynote is in Navigator view, drag the selection into the Slides column; if you’re using Light Table view, just drag the selection onto the light table area. Keynote will then import your images—you may see a progress dialog, depending on the quantity and size of the selected images—and place each one into its own slide.

By default, the images will be placed in front of any fields (title, subtitle, bullets) on the slides, so you’ll need to select each image and send it to the back to use the fields. Alternatively, you can force the images to be created on slides with blank masters. To do that, create a new slide, set its master to blank, and then drag in your source images.

Not a huge hint, but if you’ve ever labored with importing images, or dragging them into already-created slides one-by-one, this method is a great timesaver.


  1. Karl

    Dear Matt
    the tipp works nicely as you describe. However, the sequence of the images seems to be random. When I import a test set with 24 images they come sorted neither by name, nor by dates saved, nor by size or type. They are completely random. To make the presentation useful, I would have to sort them manually, and this takes all the time saved by the fast import – in summary, it makes the feature almost useless – do you have a suggestion on how to sort the images?

  2. Dee

    Has anyone noticed that photos in portrait orientation are cropped when you import them into Keynote in the above-described manner? Only landscape-oriented photos are properly sized when using auto-import.

  3. the Ramen Noodle

    @Dee – Not even landscape photos are properly sized! If your camera shoots 3:2 aspect ratio, and your presentation is 4:3, then the sides are cropped.

    It seems that, in trying to be smart, Keynote is stupidly sizing things only according to one dimension at a time.

  4. Captain Ros

    Sorry I have a problem ti relate the different size of keynote slides to 4/3 or 16/9 format.
    800 x 600;1024 x 768; 1280x 720 etc.etc.
    Somebody will be so nice to illustrate it for me..??
    Thank you

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