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Cheating Keynote’s dumb sizing limitation

Keynote presentation software has what seems to be a needless limitation on how large you can scale an object using their animation capabilities: you can take it up to 200% and no larger. A few years ago I poked around in the xml save files and manually increased the scaling on an object to 1000%, and it animated just fine. So I don’t know what was in the designer’s minds when they limited the user interface. Actually, I’m sure they had a good reason, so I already regret the use of the word “dumb” in my headline. A little.

“Dumb” is appropriate, however, for me, given how long it’s taken me to realize a way around the limitation in some circumstances.

Keynote has a really helpful slide transition called “Magic Move.” If you duplicate a slide and move around the objects in the duplicate slide, and resize them, then when you click from the first slide to the second, the objects will smoothly animate into their new positions and sizes. It is occasionally finicky, but when it works, it can save an enormous amount of manual animation. For example, if you have a slide with a square made up of 64 little squares, and you want to animate those little squares flying apart, rather than animating each of their movements, just duplicate the slide and drag the little cubes where you want.

So, duh, if you want to animate one of those cubes so it grows larger than 200%, just duplicate the slide and enlarge the cube to whatever size you want. Apply the “Magic Move” transition to the first slide, and Keynote will do the deed for you.

This doesn’t work for all situations, but in the ones that it works in, it’s very handy. And, yes, I should have realized it a couple of years ago.

2 Responses to “Cheating Keynote’s dumb sizing limitation”

  1. It’s subtle, but note that the scale action build is making one image really bug, and the pixels become obvious. Magic Move has two images to go between, and smoothly crossfades between them. I suspect the limitation is about avoiding those pixels becoming super obvious.

  2. That’s an interesting explanation, but I’m not sure I’m sold. Internally, when you tell Keynote to size an object, doesn’t it then have two objects it can precompute just as surely as it precomputes the Magic Move animations? Say it’s a photo. If I apply “Scale” to it, Keynote knows that when I click on that slide while in presentation mode, it’s going to have to smoothly animate the photo from 100% to 500% (well, if it let us go that high). So, why would it be different when it knows that it’s going to have to perform exactly the same transition when I click at the end of the slide?

    I’m not saying you’re wrong, et. I just am not getting it yet.

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