Select a shape or other object

Select objects, shapes, pictures or text boxes, to change or move them. Sizing handles indicate that a shape or object has been selected.

Click the object to select it. If that does not select it, on the Home tab, in the Editing group, click Select and do one of the following:

Select in the Editing group

  • To select all of the text in the document, click Select All.

  • To select objects that are hidden, stacked, or behind text, click Select Objects. To select an object, click when your pointer becomes a selection arrow White pointer with 4-headed arrow as it moves over an object. To select multiple objects, press and hold Ctrl while you click the objects that you want.

  • To select text with similar formatting, click Select All Text with Similar Formatting.

  • To open the task pane where you can select, multi-select, show, hide, or change the order of objects, click Selection Pane, and then click the options that you want. (This option is not available in Word 2007.)

Note: In Word 2007, the Select tools don’t work on inserted images. To select images, we suggest that you insert the images into a drawing canvas. When you insert shapes and images in a drawing canvas, you can select them by dragging a box over the objects. For more information, see Add a drawing to a document.

Click the object to select it. If that does not select it, on the Home tab, in the Editing group, click Find & Select and do one of the following:

Find & Select in the Editing group on the Home tab

  • To select objects that are hidden, stacked, or behind text, click Select Objects, and then draw a box over the objects.

  • To open the task pane where you can select, multi-select, show, hide, or change the order of objects, click Selection Pane, and then click the options that you want.

Click the object to select it. If that does not select it, on the Home tab, in the Editing group, click Select and do one of the following:

Select in the Editing group

  • To select all of the objects and placeholders on the slide, click Select All.

  • To select objects that are hidden, stacked, or behind text, click Select Objects, and then draw a box over the objects.

  • To open the selection pane, where you can select, multi-select, show, hide, or change the order of objects, click Selection Pane, and then click the options that you want.

Tips for selecting shapes and objects

To do this

Do the following

Select multiple objects.

Press and hold Shift or Ctrl while you click the objects.

Select an object that is under other objects and cycle forward through the stack of objects.

Select the top object, and then press Tab.

Select an object that is under other objects and cycle backward through the stack of objects.

Select the top object, and then press Shift+Tab.

Select objects that are part of a group.

Select the group, and then do one of the following:

  • To select one object, click the object.

  • To select multiple shapes in a group, press and hold Shift or Ctrl while you click the shapes.

Cancel the selection of one object at a time.

Press and hold Shift or Ctrl while you click each object.

See Also

Group or ungroup shapes, pictures, or other objects

Select objects, shapes, pictures or text boxes, to change or move them. Sizing handles indicate that a shape or object has been selected.

Using the Selection Pane

If clicking to select isn't sufficient, or if you have many objects to keep track of, try the Selection pane, as described below.

(This feature is available in newer versions of Office for Mac. It isn't available in Office for Mac 2011. In Office for Mac 2011, you may also try dynamic reordering. See Manage objects and layers for more information.)

  1. Select one of the objects you want to manage.

  2. Select the ... Format tab that appears on the ribbon when you select the object, and then choose Selection Pane (or Arrange > Selection Pane).

    Shows the Shape Format tab in PowerPoint 2016 for Mac

  3. The Selection Pane opens with all your objects listed, and you can do any of the following:

    • Drag an item up or down in the list to change the order.    In the example below from PowerPoint, moving the curved connector to the top of the list also brought it forward in front of the two oval shapes (and everything else on the slide).

      Shows the connector behind two circles Shows the connector at the bottom of the list in the selection pane

      The connector is at the bottom of the list, and is behind the two oval shapes.

      Shows two circles with a curved connector Shows the Selection Pane in PowerPoint 2016 for Mac

      After the connector is moved to the top of the list, it appears in front of the two oval shapes.

    • Choose to show or hide objects from the Selection Pane.    To hide an object, click the eye icon in the Selection Pane indicating that the object is Showing The Show icon in the Selection Pane . The icon will change to a simple icon indicating that the object is Hidden Shows the icon indicating that an object is hidden from view. To show the object once again, simply click the Hidden icon Shows the icon indicating that an object is hidden , and the object will reappear.

      Shows the hide functionality in Office 2016 for Mac's Selection Pane

      The connector in the example above is hidden, and does not appear on the slide.

    • Group or ungroup objects listed in the Selection Pane.    If you select multiple objects by using Command + Click, you can then group them or ungroup them by selecting Group Objects on the ribbon in the Format tab.

      Shows the Group icon on the ribbon in PowerPoint 2016 for Mac

See Also

Manage objects and layers with Dynamic Reordering in PowerPoint for Mac

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