Creating a Photo Collage In Keynote

You can create a photo collage using any number of apps and techniques on your Mac. But the quickest, but still very versatile, method is to use Keynote. You can easily drag and drop images from Photos onto a slide and arrange them with lines, borders, text and other elements. You can then export as an image.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: Creating a Photo Collage In Keynote.

So let's say you want to make a photo collage. There are various different ways to do it. There's some basic functionality in Photos. You can use a graphics app like PhotoShop to do it or something like that. You can use a custom collage app. But you actually have a great app for making collages. It's called Keynote! It's the presentation app that you use. But you don't have to make a presentation with it. You can use it to make a single slide that's a collage of photos. Since you have all these great graphics tools you can make really interesting collages with it and you can do it very quickly.

So here I have Photos open and I have some photos that I'm going to want to put into a collage. I also have Keynote here. So let's create a new document in Keynote. Now this is something I may want to print so I want to have a white background. I'm going to just choose Standard White background right now and go into it and get rid of these two pieces of text here. I just want a clean slate. Now I want to set the document to be the right number of pixels. Just like if you were creating something in PhotoShop, you wouldn't want to create something small and then shrink a bunch of images into it. You want to make sure it's something pretty big.

So I want to go to Document and then there's Slide Size and I can set it to Custom Slide Size. Here's where I want to maybe think about what I'm doing. If I'm printing to 8.5 by 11 say 300 DPI, so use Spotlight here. So 8.5 times 300 that's 2550 and 11, of course, is 3300. So we'll do 3300, 2550. So now we've got something that's about the size of 8.5 by 11 sheet of paper. You probably want to account for margins too but you can go into those details and depending upon the printer and whether you do edge to edge. That kind of thing.

Now we have a canvas and we've got photos over here. This is a great time to use split screen. I'm going to click and hold the green button there until I get split screen mode and I can decide if I want Keynote to be on the right or the left. So I will put it here on the left and then I will click to choose Photos here on the right. Now I'm going to, under Zoom, make sure I go to Fit Slide so I actually see the whole slide filling the screen here. Goes edge to edge. I don't need this on the left side here so I'm going to drag the line over there and now I have the maximum amount of space here and I can start brining in photos.

So I'm bring in this panorama here. Drag that in. It's going to size itself to be the exact width of this so I can easily drop it down to the bottom. Keynote's snapping feature works great here. Just snaps right there. Let's go and bring another photo in. I'll drag this one in. It's going to snap to the width as well which is going to make it huge. So I'm just going to grab a corner here and shrink it down. I actually want to put it here in the upper right hand corner. It'll snap to there and I can drag this corner down and it'll snap to that. Very nice. Easy to do with the snapping.

Let's go in here and I'll grab another image and I'll stick it over here. This one I'm going to have to resize as well. So I will drag this down and snap it to the top left corner there. We can snap it in place but I want it to actually fill the space here. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to go to Arrange and Send It Back. Now it's behind these two even though it's the last one I brought in. I can kind of position it here to get it like I want. So that's perfect. It's exactly what I want and I could be done here. Let's add some more though.

I could do Borders. I could select a photo for instance. I could select all of these. Shift,Select. Then I could do Format and I could say Align Border. Let's make it white and make it a little big, 6 points there. Maybe 20 points. Now you can see it but I don't like the white around the top and the bottom and sides. So I'm actually not going to do that. I'm going to do Command Z to Undo that. It's undoing the changes here all the way back to where there's no border. Instead I'm going to do Add A Line. You don't see the Shape tool here at the top because there's not enough space. But if I click here I can get to all the Tools.

So I'll select Line. There's a little line that appears there. Let's change it to a bigger line. So 30 points maybe. Make it white. Now snapping will work really great again. Close this. I can snap it to this point right here. Instead of doing it again I'm going to Copy, Command C and Command V to paste and I have a new line where I can drag the edges. Let's put it like that. That's much better. That's what I wanted. Something like that.

So now I have a beautiful collage there. I can add text to it. I can put the text here and I can make the text white so it's nice over the background. Maybe I can even move this image up here. So if I grab this, maybe I grab this line here as well. I'll Shift Click to select both of those. I can move it up a little bit to create some room for the text. Arrange and move both of those, the line and the photo, to the front right there. Now I have this room for text. I can use arrow keys to position this perfectly. Anything you want to position perfectly you can just use arrow keys to do it one pixel at a time. Now I can, you know, type text here.

Now when I have something I like, after I've worked with this, there's so many other things you can do. You can do Shapes, you can do Quote Bubbles and do funny quote bubbles if somebody is talking in one of the photos. That kind of thing. So many other things. All the tools are open to you in Keynote for creating cool things in your collages.

But in this case I just want to go and export it here. So I'm going to File and I'm going to Export To an Image. I get some options here. I only have one slide so All or From 1 to 1 doesn't really make a difference. I'm going to do it JPEG for High Quality. PMG if I want if I'm sending to a print service and I want it to be really good. But JPEG High Quality is going to be good for just about everything you do. Hit Next. Let's Save it to the Desktop. It'll export it. Now we can quit out of the full screen view here. So I will quit out of full screen view. Let me Hide the Keynote app there.

There's the folder. Why is it a Folder? Because Keynote when you export images it's used to exporting like a series of images for each slide. So even though there's just one it's just going to stick it in there. So you can pull it out of that folder and get rid of the folder. But I do have this nice high quality image since I made it so many pixels across. That's my collage. Put that back in. There you go. Now I can upload that to Facebook or print it or send it to a printing service. All that kind of stuff. Anything you do. You can see how much faster it was to create this than say using an image editing tool.

Comments: 6 Responses to “Creating a Photo Collage In Keynote”

    John Ullis
    3 months ago

    Would you still recommend Keynote for 16×48 collage I would have printed on canvas?


    3 months ago

    John: No. You need to use a pro tool for something that size, like Photoshop. 48 inches at at least 300 dpi? That’s a big image. Maybe Pixelmator can handle it, but I’ve never tried to use it for pro-quality work like that. I guess it wouldn’t hurt to try Keynote and see if it works for you. You don’t need to make it perfect to test getting an image that size and see if it seems to work.

    Michael Bacon
    3 months ago

    Great Tip Gary. I use Pages and Keynote for 90% of my graphic needs. They are both underestimated. Always good to see how you move around and use the Mac. I’d forgotten that we can split screen on Mac. That alone is a great tip.

    3 months ago

    When choosing the size for your slide/screen, you multiplied 8.5 X 300 for 2550 and 11 X 300 for 3300. How did you know to use 300 pixels per inch for the sizing? I’m not very well versed on picture sizes, pixels, etc. Do you have a video that explains it?

    3 months ago

    John: A lot of people like to use 300 dpi (or better) for printing. Less and you can start to see the pixels. For a long time 300 dpi was (maybe still is) the standard for print resolution.

    Juanita MacPhee
    3 months ago

    Thanks so much for this video. (I also forgot about the split screen feature.) I have photo-editing software, and I barely use the basic features. Never crossed my mind to use keynote for collages. Really like the way you present your videos, as they concise and easy to understand.

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