Swap texture fills among the iWork ’09 applications

The programs in iWork ’09 share many features, including the ability to create bar charts. Somewhat strangely, though, they don’t share the same fills for those bar charts. As an example, Pages offers up 3-D texture fills (by clicking on the Chart Colors button in the Chart tab of the Inspector) in categories that include Blue, Brown, and Classic Silk, amongst others. But if you visit the same Chart Colors area in Keynote, you won’t find any of those categories, but you will find Concrete, Granite, and Retro, none of which appear in Pages.

But what if you’d like to use a 3-D texture from Keynote in Pages, or vice versa? It may not seem possible, but it turns out it is, and all it requires is a bit of trickery in window arrangements. Assuming you want to fill a bar chart in Pages with a texture available in Keynote, here’s what you need to do.

First, in Pages, get your bar chart all ready to go, complete with your text and values. Save your document, just in case something goes wrong with the process (although there’s not really any risk to this hint). Next, open Keynote, choose any template, and then click the Charts button in the toolbar to add a new bar chart to the presentation. Select the newly-added bar chart, open the Inspector, and click on the Chart Inspector (third from the right).

On the Chart Inspector, click the Chart Colors button, and then pick the texture category you’d like to use—something from the Concrete category of the 3-D texture fills, for example. Next, position your windows such that you can see your bar chart in Pages, and the Chart Colors palette in Keynote. Make sure you leave Keynote as the foreground application, otherwise its Chart Colors palette will vanish.

Now just drag the Keynote 3-D texture fill that you’d like to use onto one of the bars in your Pages bar chart, then release the mouse button. As soon as you release the mouse button, Pages will replace the selected bar’s fill texture with the one you dragged in from Keynote. Pages won’t even come to the foreground, so you can easily change all the textures in a bar chart in relatively short order.

Obviously, this trick works with any combination of the program’s in iWork ’09—just remember to leave the “source” program (the one providing the texture) in the foreground, and position windows such that you can see the “destination” program’s chart at the same time. (If you have a small screen, you can minimize the source program’s main window to free up some screen real estate.)

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