K09 Tip: Pasting Outlines from Pages into Keynote

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

If you’re as annoyed as we are that Keynote can’t open Word or Pages Outline documents and parse them into Slides, this tip is for you. One little known feature of Keynote 09 is that you can paste in a copied outline and Keynote will parse it into slides and bullets.

Step one of this tip is to create an outline in Pages. Just choose one of the sample outlines from the Template Chooser and enter your own information into it. Once you’ve got your outline created and saved (we assume you’ll use it for something else or you’d simply start creating the outline in Keynote instead), launch Keynote 09 and choose a theme.

Once you’ve got a new Keynote file open, switch back to your Pages document and select the whole outline (Command-A). Then switch back to Keynote but DO NOT paste. This next step is important. In Keynote, choose Outline from the View menu. Then click on the first slide in the outline list on the left side of the Keynote window. The easy way to do this is simply click on the little blue icon of a slide. The icon should end up with a light blue highlight around it if it’s selected.

Once you’ve selected the first slide, go ahead and paste your outline. You should see each top level bullet appear as a slide, and any sub level bullets will show up as bullets on those top level slides. If you need to restructure things, you can actually drag bullets around right in the Outline side bar in Keynote. You can even drag the slide icons up onto another slide and merge slides by dragging just under and to the right of another slide icon in the list (look for the little blue triangles that show where your data will go when you let go of the cursor).

Once you’ve gotten your outline into Keynote and you’ve restructured to your liking, you’ll want to fix one more style issue. For some reason, Keynote doesn’t style the pasted text. If you right (control) click each slide thumbnail and choose Reapply Master to Slide, this will fix the style and your data will be styled to match the master slides from the Theme that you chose.

On a side note, we tried this same tip in Keynote 08 and it put every outline line on a new slide. It still works, but it takes much more clean up than 09 does.