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Recoloring a Keynote '09 Theme

Keynote Basics: Recoloring Shape-Based Keynote Themes in Keynote '09.

Easily recolor the Master Slides in your presentation to match a completely different palette.



When creating a presentation using one of our native shape-based Keynote themes, you can easily recolor the Master Slides to match a different target palette altogether right inside of Keynote.

**If you're working with one of our newer NXT themes like OM NXT, Sonoma NXT or KeyStation NXT, please refer to our updated Recoloring Themes in Keynote 6/7 article for a look at how to approach this process in the newer architecture.

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Put your palette close at hand. 

Before you start recoloring your theme, you'll want to put your brand palette or other colors you've pre-selected for the transformation into the Color Well so they're easy to access. 

Though it’s perfectly acceptable to use the Magnifying glass to pick colors from a palette or image when you’re prototyping, it’s best to input the actual numbers, RGB or CMYK, when creating a presentation for your company: color sampling will not result in a true color, but rather the closest match for your machine's color profile setting, so you’ll want to stick to the specific color values outlined in your branding guidelines rather than sampling them with the magnifier.

After you've entered a color, drag the swatch from the Color Fill to your Color Well.  Once you’ve added all of the relevant colors, expand the navigator in your keynote file to show the Master Slides (or click on View > Show Master Slides in the Keynote menu).

Recoloring the Master Slides

There are two ways to recolor shapes in Keynote: from the Graphic nib in the Inspector, or via Drag and Drop from the Color Well. Drag and Drop works well for everything except stroke and shadow;  if you’re recoloring objects that have no stroke or shadow, Drag and Drop is a quick method. Simply drag a color from your palette and drop it onto the object or text you wish to recolor.

For more extensive changes, you’ll want to use the Inspector.  From the Inspector, you have access to edit everything from your document’s resolution to Quicktime control. To open the Inspector, go to View > Show Inspector (Alt+Cmd+I), or click on the Inspector icon in the Keynote toolbar. 

Select the Graphic nib in the Inspector - it’s between the Type Inspector icon and the Metrics Inspector ruler icon. Select the object to be changed, then select the Fill, Stroke, or Shadow as needed and click the new color in the Color Well. With this process, if you’re changing the color of multiple objects on a slide to the same color, you can group-select them and change them all with a single modification.

Repeat this process to recolor the remaining master slides. If you choose to just alter the slides you are using for your presentation, remember if you decide to use another layout, you’ll have to go back into the Masters and alter that slide before using it in your presentation. If you’re using charts, tables, shapes and additional text other than Title, Body, and Slide Number, be sure to recolor those items accordingly.  You can find more information about modifying the extended theme defaults in the Keynote User’s Guide, available on Apple’s Support site.   

Additonal Resources.

Updated on-site FAQ links as available

Application Support

Application Support

We do not offer support for the iWork applications themselves. If you have questions regarding general use or issues involving either application the best place to start is Apple´s own support pages:

Community Support


The wider Keynote Community is full of great resources on getting the most out of iWork - these are just a few: