Mask Text in Keynote on the iPad

Keynote has image masking built in. Masking allows you to more or less shape a picture in a frame. A simple example would be showing a portion of a photo in a circle rather than as a square.

This is easy to do and can help make a presentation look a little more polished.

A more advanced version is masking an image with text. Here's a great example of this technique:

A promotion poster for Solo: A Star Wars Story

(Fun side note: Disney was hit with a copyright suit for this string of promo posters.)

You can't do this in Keynote on iOS, though. It's not part of the text formatting settings you would need.

Mask text in Keynote

You can't mask text natively in Keynote. But, you can use an image of text whipped up in Pages (or similar) to create the same effect. Here's the final result:

The word 'loud' with a boy yelling into the microphone showing through.

First, make some big, bold text. I did this in Pages because the font choices are easier to use. When you have your word, take a screen shot and crop it down.

The word 'loud' in block letters.

Add your base image and the text to the Keynote slide with the text on top. The, select the text screenshot and use Instant Alpha in the format menu to remove the inside of the letters.

A screenshot of Keynote on the iPad. Tap the Format menu and use instant alpha to remove the color from the text.

After removing your text, you should be able to see your image in the empty space. Crop the image down (double-tap) so it's the same size as the text layer.

Finally, it's a good idea to lock the text layer and the image together in a Group so they can be positioned as a single object. Tap your text and while you're holding, tap the image in the transparent area. This will select both objects and bring up a menu. Select Group to lock them together.

A screenshot of Keynote on iOS. Tap both images at the same time to group them together.

Hey presto, you now have a masked image.

Just don't land in hot water like Disney.


The original image is "Boy Singing on Microphone" by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash.