Learn about Smarter Guides in PowerPoint 2016.
Author: Geetesh Bajaj
Product/Version: Microsoft PowerPoint 2016
OS: Windows 7 and higher
Do you notice that any object you move, resize, or align in PowerPoint 2016 actually helps
make your task easy! Move it a little closer, resize a wee bit, or even try spacing slide objects and the screen shows all sorts of helpful indicators in the form of dotted lines, as shown in Figure 1, below.
Figure 1: Smart guides appear while repositioning
The red, dotted lines that show up and then disappear are Smart Guides. These made their debut in PowerPoint 2010 and allowed you to position objects easily. More improvements were added in PowerPoint 2013 that enabled you to see how much further you need to drag, so that one object on the slide is as wide as another adjacent object. In fact, you can also evenly space out objects without accessing any Ribbon tabs or typing a number within a dialog box!
By default, these Smart Guides are turned on -- but just in case you don't find these working for you (you may have turned them off inadvertently), follow these steps to turn them on again. Incidentally, you follow the same steps to turn them off, just deselect the options that enabled them:
Once you turn on these options, your Smart Guides start helping you reposition, resize, and align/distribute. Let's start with the shapes you see in
Figure 5. We will manipulate these shapes to show you how various options influenced by Smart Guides work.
Figure 5: Two shapes on the slide
See the example shown in Figure 5 above -- what if you have to reposition so that the top of both the squares match?
To do that, drag the small square upwards until you see the Smart guides (red, dashed lines). In Figure 6 you can see that the Smart
Guides have appeared once the top positions match.
Figure 6: Repositioning the shapes
Smart Guides can help you resize your shapes as well -- let us continue with the example shown in Figure 6, above.
In our example shown in Figure 8 both shapes ended up with a similar width as well when we matched the height by resizing. That happened because our original shapes were squares with the same height:width ratios. If you work with adjacent shapes that are different, such as a rectangle and a square, or even a rectangle and an oval -- then you will end up with similar heights only at the end of such resizing.
In the preceding sections you learnt how to reposition and resize the shapes -- this actually even aligns the top and bottom (or even the left and right) edges of your shapes. Other than direct alignment, you can also use Smart Guides to influence consistent distribution (spacing) between shapes. However, for distribution to work, you need at least three or more shapes.
When you try to space 3 or more shapes to be equally apart, small arrows will appear to indicate when the spacing is identical, as shown in
Figure 9: Shapes distributed accurately
Using Smart Guides is a matter or practice -- the more you use them, the more intuitive you will feel working with them. Remember that you will feel the "snap " when shapes resize, position, or align identically to adjacent shapes.
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