Design presentations

Create, merge, and group objects on a slide

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PowerPoint has many standard shapes to add to your presentation. Or you can merge and group objects to make your own.

Create a shape

  1. Select Home > Shape.

  2. Select the shape you want to use.

  3. Click and drag across the slide, drawing the shape to the desired size.

  4. With the shape selected, you can change the Shape Fill, Shape Outline, or Shape Effects.

    Tip: Select the shape and press Ctrl+D to create a duplicate shape.

Rotate or flip an object

  1. Select an object.

  2. Select Drawing Tools Format > Rotate and then select:

    • Rotate Right 90°

    • Rotate Left 90°

    • Flip Vertical

    • Flip Horizontal

    • More Rotation Options

Merge shapes

  1. Select the shapes to merge. To select several objects, press Shift, and then select each object.

  2. On the Drawing Tools Format tab, select Merge Shapes, and then pick the option you want:

    • Union: Turns all the selected objects into one object.

    • Combine: Turns all the selected objects into one object, but removes the overlapping portion.

    • Fragment: Turns larger objects into many smaller ones based on how they overlap.

    • Intersect: Trims portions of the larger objects and leaves only the portion that overlaps each object.

    • Subtract: Removes a portion of the last selected object that does not overlap.

  3. Once you get the shape you want, you can resize and format the shape, just like a standard shape.

Group objects

  1. Press and hold Ctrl while you select each object.

  2. Under the Drawing Tools (or Picture Tools) Format tab, select Group > Group.

Ungroup objects

  1. Select a grouped object.

  2. Under the Drawing Tools (or Picture Tools) Format tab, select Group > Ungroup.

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Combine shapes to create a custom shape

Add shapes

Group or ungroup shapes, pictures, or other objects

PowerPoint can be used as a mini graphic arts program to create a logo if you don't already have one.

Or, you can use it if you can't find that perfect shape or clip art.

Let's combine some shapes and turn this into a full fledged medal with a ribbon on it.

The first thing we need to do is create one of the blue ribbons that comes down from the medal.

On the Home tab, I'll select Shape.

I'll choose this diagonal stripe, and I'll start by drawing the outline of my first ribbon.

That looks great, but it's the wrong color.

I'll change the shape fill to that of a nice blue ribbon.

Next we need to make the other side of the ribbon.

I could repeat the same process, but I run the risk of the shape being the wrong size and it won't match this one.

So instead, with the shape selected, I'll hit the Control key on my keyboard and hit D to duplicate it.

Now I have two blue ribbons that are the same size, but one of them is facing the wrong way.

Let's flip it.

I'm going to click on the Drawing Tools Format tab.

From here, with my shape selected, I'll click Rotate and then choose Flip Horizontal.

It's going to flip it horizontally.

And now I have two ribbons that look fantastic.

Let's combine these so that they're one shape.

I already have one shape selected.

I'm going to hold down the Shift key on my keyboard and click to select the second shape.

From here, on the Format tab I'll click Merge Shapes.

I have some choices and as I hover my mouse over each choice I can see a preview of what it's going to do on the right-hand side in my slide.

Union will make these two shapes one shape.

Combine takes the overlapping parts and cuts them out.

Fragment will outline the overlapping parts instead of cutting them out, while Intersect cuts out everything except the overlapping parts.

Finally, Subtract will subtract one shape from the other including any overlapping parts.

In this case, we want to choose Union to make these two shapes one.

Now that they're one shape, I can do anything to this new shape that I could with any other shape.

For example, I can resize it.

I can move it around.

I can even add effects to it.

I'll click Shape Effects.

And I'll choose a preset to make it look nice and match that of the medal.

It looks great, and they do have matching shadows.

However, the medal should be in front of the ribbon.

So what I'll do is right-click on my ribbon and use what we know about object layering.

I'll choose Send to Back and then Send to Back again.

Now the medal is on top like it should be.

There's one more thing I want to do.

I'd love to be able to move my medal and ribbon around on the slide, but they're still two separate entities the metal and the ribbon.

I don't have to merge shapes this time, there's one more thing I can do.

One shape is already selected.

I'll hold the Shift key down again and select the medal.

With them both selected, on the Format tab I'm going to choose Group.

From here I'll click Group again and it has now grouped these two shapes together.

Unlike merging shapes, grouping shapes isn't permanent.

And if I ever wanted to have them as two separate entities again, that is, if I wanted to make a adjustments to the ribbon while leaving the medal untouched, I can click Group again and then Ungroup.

But while they're grouped, I can do things like resize it, drag it anywhere I want on the screen, let go and it can be moved.

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