Align and Distribute Pictures in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac
Learn to align and distribute pictures in PowerPoint 2011.
Author: Geetesh Bajaj
Product/Version: Microsoft PowerPoint 2011
OS: Mac OS X
Date Created: May 22nd 2012
Last Updated: May 22nd 2012
In PowerPoint, when there are multiple pictures inserted on a slide, their position and alignment matters a lot. Look at Figure 1 where you can see three pictures just randomly placed on the slide. In some cases, such a haphazard arrangement may work -- but most of the time you will have to align objects in a proper way on your slide. Even before you align the pictures, you should explore whether all the pictures are the same size or not -- we have already explained how you can resize pictures in our Resize, Rotate, and Flip Pictures tutorial.
Figure 1: Unaligned and undistributed pictures on the slide
We first resized all pictures so that they have the same height, as shown in Figure 2 below.
Figure 2: Unaligned and undistributed pictures resized to attain same height
Thereafter, all pictures were aligned to the middle, and distributed horizontally, as shown in Figure 3, below. Finally we inserted a shape (a rectangle), and sent it back so that it was placed behind the pictures.
Figure 3: Pictures aligned to the middle of the slide, and thereafter horizontally distributed
As you can see, the slide in Figure 3 looks more organized and interesting than the slide you saw in Figure 1. PowerPoint includes align and distribute options for all slide objects. In this tutorial, let's learn how to align and distribute the pictures:
- Open your presentation, navigate to the slide which contains the pictures to be aligned -- select all the pictures you want to align.
- This brings up the Format Picture tab on the Ribbon (highlighted in red in Figure 4) -- make sure that this contextual tab is activated. Locate the Arrange group within the Format Picture tab, and click the Align button which is highlighted in blue in Figure 4.
Figure 4: Align button within Format Picture tab
- This opens the Align or Distribute drop-down gallery, as shown in Figure
Figure 5: Align drop-down gallery
Among the Align options that you see in Figure 5 above, the Align Left, Align Center, and Align Right options work well with the pictures that are to be aligned vertically on the slide. Similarly, the Align Top, Align Middle, and Align Bottom options are suitable for pictures which are to be aligned horizontally on the slide.
To explore more about how the Align options work, refer to our Align Shapes tutorial. Although the linked tutorial explains how to align shapes, the same techniques work with pictures or any other slide objects.
Align Pictures to the Center of the Slide
Sometimes, you may want to align just one picture to the exact center of the slide. Fortunately, that is as easy to achieve as well:
- Select the picture to be aligned on the slide.
- Then, open the Align or Distribute drop-down gallery following the same procedure as explained in Step 2 of the preceding Aligning Pictures section.
- In the Align or Distribute drop-down gallery, make sure that the Align to Slide option is selected -- this selection is indicated by a check mark as shown highlighted in red in Figure 6. Then, click both the Align Center and the Align Middle options (highlighted in blue in Figure 6) one after the other.
Figure 6: Align to Slide option selected in the Align or Distribute drop-down gallery
- This will position the picture to the exact center of the slide.
Tip: If you have several pictures which you want to align to the center of the slide -- and also retain their spacing -- then first group them. Then select the group and then follow the same procedure explained in the Align Pictures to the Center of the Slide section. Note that grouping of pictures makes them one slide object rather than multiple slide objects. To learn more, explore our Group, Ungroup, and Regroup Shapes tutorial -- the linked tutorial uses shapes as examples for grouping, but the same techniques work for all slide objects including pictures.
There are two Distribute options available for pictures as well as all other slide objects in PowerPoint which are used to distribute the selected picture so that there is equal spacing between them. These options are Distribute Horizontally and Distribute Vertically, as shown highlighted in red in Figure 7.
Figure 7: Distribute options within the Align or Distribute drop-down gallery
- Distribute Horizontally: This option is used on the pictures placed side by side. This option distributes the selected pictures equally on a horizontal plane so that the space between all of them is equal.
- Distribute Vertically: This option is used on the pictures that are placed vertically -- above and below each other. This option distributes the selected pictures equally on a vertical plane so that the space between all of them is equal.
To explore more about how the Distribute options work, refer to our Distribute Shapes tutorial. This tutorial explains how to align shapes, but the same techniques work with other slide objects including pictures.
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