2 Tips to Make Text Stand Out On Your iWork Keynote Presentations

Alvaro Bernedo

Keynote tipsContrary to documents or spreadsheets, when creating a presentation, text and images are equally important. However, sometime we tend to “underestimate” the text of our slideshows when all we need is to perform a couple of small changes to make it really stand out.

Let’s take a look at a couple of tips that show you how you can make your text truly stand out on your presentations when using iWork Keynote.

Make An Entire Text Section Stand Out From Any Background

Our first tip can work wonders to make text stand out when you need/want it to be of a color that is similar to the background’s. Oftentimes we just avoid this as text will surely be lost and will become unnoticeable if the background color is too similar, but with a smart use of objects and gradients, we can turn this situation around and make it look even better than originally intended.

As you see, we start with some text on a slide. Notice that the text color is too similar to the background’s. Usually, you could change the text’s color or perhaps highlight it, but the idea here is to retain your text as you intended it to be in the first place while presenting it more elegantly.

Text Blended

What you have to do next is to insert an object into your slide. For this you can use the Shapes button.

Insert Object

Once the object is inserted (a square in this case), stretch it to fit your slide and cover the text. Then make it black in color and click the Back button to switch it to the background.

Object Stretched

Back button

Object in Background

Note: All the colors, shadows, objects and fonts used in this article can be changed. Feel free to experiment as much as you want until you get the best result for you.

Now, with the object selected, open the Inspector panel and click on the Gradient Inspector tab. There, under Fill, select the Gradient Fill option.

Gradient Inspector

This will allow you to choose the colors that you want for the top and bottom of the object, as well as the opacity for each end. In this example, I left the bottom part of the object as it is.

Gradient Fill

With the the top part though, I left the color black, but I turned the Opacity level to zero to make the object completely transparent at the top.

Opacity Zero

As you can see, the end result is quite nice and much better looking than at the beginning. The color gradient behind the text fades from black to completely transparent, making the text really stand out even though it is also black in color.

Final Text Slideshow

Make a Text Segment Stand Out From the Rest

Let’s say that, instead of having just a sentence on your slide, you have an entire paragraph that is very important but that is also too long. The best thing to do in this scenario is to make some parts of the text stand out with style instead of resorting to simple methods like highlighting or just underlining the text in question, both of which are boring and unoriginal.

To do this, first decide which part of your existing text you would like to put the spotlight on. Then duplicate the slide and select the second slide to work on, leaving the first one as-is.



Now, with the important text selected on your second slide, open the Inspector panel and click on the Text Inspector tab. There, give your text what I call a “transitional” formatting, which is like a mid-ground between its initial state and its final presentation.

In this case, I simply chose to make the text all black so it will look like it partially fades in the background when it transitions from the first slide to the second.

Transitional Format

Next, create another copy of the first slide, which we will use as the final slide for this example. Here, select the same text as before and using the Inspector panel, give it a different, more visually-striking format than the rest of the text.

Final Format

Now, click on the first slide on the left bar of Keynote and on the Inspector panel, select the Slide Inspector tab.

Slide Inspector 1

On the Transition section, select the Dissolve effect (feel free to choose any other effect you like) and choose whether you would like the slides to transition manually or automatically. Then click on the second slide and repeat the process.

Slide Inspector 2

The end result is that you selected text will clearly stand out from the rest on your presentation, which can greatly help drive home any particular point you want.

Final Slideshow 1

Final Slideshow 2

Final Slideshow 3

And that’s it for today. Stick around the site for more helpful tutorials on Keynote and other useful applications.

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Alvaro Bernedo

Written By

Alvaro Bernedo

Contributor at Guiding Tech