Targeting Keynote's Build Order Properties

I am a new Script Debugger user, and I am loving it so far!! But I need some help.

I use Keynote pretty much all day every day to build presentations for my teaching. My whole desire for learning AppleScript right now is to automate Keynote. I have found Sal’s iWork Automation site which has been tremendously helpful, as well.

In Keynote, there is a Build Order window that let’s you set the relationship of how objects transition in. This is the primary area I want to learn how to automate. I see the transition properties of the slide but I am not sure how to target, say 4 text items on a slide to come in (using Keynote’s terminology) using a Dissolve animation, With previous, or After Previous or After Transition.

The example script in the dictionary under “Slide” gives the following example code:

set the transition settings of the current slide to {transition effect:wipe, transition duration:2.0, transition delay:0, automatic transition:false}

This works for a slide, but how would I modify it for a text item, specifically targeting its “Build Order” properties?

Any help would be SO appreciated!


Welcome to the party, Bodie!

If you could provide a Keynote file, and the script you’re modifying, that would be a big help. I haven’t scripted Keynote in a couple years and I’ve noticed that sometimes Keynote questions are left hanging because there’s not a lot of AppleScripters working with it.


I don’t think those properties are supported in Keynote’s object model implementation. That’s bad news. The only good news is that Script Debugger’s great dictionary views allows us to see that pretty quickly, especially using the Explorer view.

Many applications only have partial implementations of AppleScript support. Usually, when we encounter an unsupported area, we would resort to GUI scripting—clicking on objects, menu items, buttons etc. via AS directly or using AS to drive a macro utility. Honestly, I think this will be tough to do in Keynote, especially since its AppleScript implementation lacks a method of selecting objects, I believe.

Not much good news, I’m afraid.


Let me work on it, thanks Ed. I don’t have a specific file set up yet, but I definitely could. First trying to see if it is possible.

Thanks for the reply, Ray. I have encountered GUI scripting from a guy on YouTube using Script Debugger to click on a button in the App Store. This may be the route that I need to go. I just don’t know script debugger that well, yet to do that! Oh man, learning AppleScript and Script Debugger at the same time is no easy feat!

Alas I press on!


You know how to use step-by-step debugging in SD, and that alone will greatly aid the process of learning AppleScript.

For exploring GUI scripting, be sure to download the trial version of UI Browser:

It has saved me a huge amount of time over the years.

Press on!



Thanks so much for the recommendation! I can’t wait to check this out. So appreciate your help getting me going.