Drag-and-drop web views in Keynote

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If your’e a Keynote user, here’s a handy timesaver. Keynote supports something called web views, which are basically Web pages embedded in presentations. If you wish, these pages can even update automatically (as specified on the URL inspector).

To create one, you select Insert: Web View, then enter the URL of the page you wish to display. Typically, this also means you’ve also opened that site in your browser, so you can just copy and paste the URL into Keynote. But here’s a timesaver—you can actually drag and drop the URL from nearly any Mac browser directly into Keynote to create a new web view.

There are only a couple things to be aware of:

  • Make sure you’re dropping the URL on an empty portion of the presentation, and not into a text field. If you drop into a text field (from Camino or Safari), you’ll get the title of the page, not a web view. OmniWeb won’t let you drop into a text field.
  • Web views are, unfortunately, not resizable nor maskable. You can make the window larger or smaller, but the image within that window will be cropped to fit. If you really just want to display a Web page in your presentation, a better solution is to take a screen capture of the page, as you can then resize and mask the image to fit your needs. The advantage of the web view, of course, is the live updating.

This trick works with Safari, Camino, OmniWeb, Shiira, and Opera, at least (I didn’t test all 20-something OS X browsers!). Of the major browsers, the only one that it doesn’t work with is Firefox and its variants. There is a workaround, however—just drag and drop the URL from Firefox to the Desktop first, then drag it from there into Keynote. Of course, by the time you’ve done all that, it probably would have been faster to just copy and paste the URL!

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