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Selecting Shapes in Office 2013 on Touch Devices

Learn how to select shapes while using Office 2013 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) on a touch device such as the Microsoft Surface.


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Product/Version: PowerPoint, Word, and Excel versions of Office 2013
OS: Windows 8







Unlike previous versions, PowerPoint 2013 and also Word and Excel versions of Office 2013 are completely touch-aware. Almost all options are accessible on any of the touch-capable devices, including Microsoft's own Surface tablets. While your Surface may be equipped with an additional type cover or even a mouse, you really do not need either a keyboard or a mouse to use Word, Excel, or PowerPoint 2013 on a touch-enabled tablet.

In this tutorial we'll explore how you can select one or multiple shapes using various touch gestures. Do remember that although we show you selection procedures using shapes as an example, you can select almost any other slide object including pictures, text boxes, etc. in the same way.

Note: Although we use PowerPoint 2013 to explain these techniques, the same steps will also work in Word and Excel 2013.

Selecting a Single Shape

Selecting a single shape on a touch device is easy. With your finger, just tap once on the shape to select it.

Tap to select a single shape
Figure 1: Tap to select a single shape

To deselect, tap on the shape again or tap once on an empty area of the slide (or the document/sheet).

Selecting Multiple Shapes

To select multiple shapes, follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to the slide (or document/sheet) where you have multiple shapes, as shown in Figure 2.

    Slide with three shapes, one of them is being selected
    Figure 2: Slide with three shapes, one of them is being selected

  2. Now, tap and hold on any one of the shapes. As you can see in Figure 2 above, the first shape is being selected. This will select the shape, as shown in Figure 3, below.

    One shape out of three shapes is selected
    Figure 3: One shape out of three shapes is selected

  3. Now, with one of your fingers still tapped onto the first shape, tap on your second shape with another finger, as shown in Figure 4.

    Tap on the second shape with the first shape still tapped and held
    Figure 4: Tap on the second shape with the first shape still tapped and held

  4. This will retain the selection on the first shape and select the second shape too, as shown in Figure 5.

    Second shape selected in addition to the first shape
    Figure 5: Second shape selected in addition to the first shape

  5. In the same way, keep one of your fingers still tapped onto any one of the selected shapes. Then tap on the third shape with another finger, as shown in Figure 5, above. This will select the third shape in addition to the already selected shapes. Figure 6 shows all the three shapes selected on the slide.

    All the shapes selected on the slide
    Figure 6: All the shapes selected on the slide

  6. To deselect any of shapes, keep one of your fingers still tapped onto any of the selected shapes that you want to retain as selected, then tap once on the selected shape that you want to deselect.

Selecting Shapes in Selection Pane

You can also select the shapes on the slide using the Selection Pane. Follow these steps to learn how to bring up the Selection Pane and how to select the shapes:

  1. In PowerPoint, navigate to the slide where you have shapes inserted. Access the Home tab of the Ribbon. Tap the Arrange button to bring up the Arrange drop-down gallery. Within this Arrange gallery, tap the Selection Pane option, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 7.

    Selection Pane option to be selected
    Figure 7: Selection Pane option to be selected

    Note: To bring up the Selection Pane in Word 2013, tap the option of the same name in the Home tab of the Ribbon. In Excel 2013, select any one shape -- then in the resultant Drawing Tools Format tab of the Ribbon, tap the Selection Pane button.


  2. This opens the Selection Pane within the PowerPoint interface, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 8.

    Selection Pane within PowerPoint interface
    Figure 8: Selection Pane within PowerPoint interface

  3. To select a shape within Selection Pane just tap on the shape name within the list, as shown in Figure 9.

    Tap on the shape name within the Selection Pane to select it
    Figure 9: Tap on the shape name within the Selection Pane to select it

  4. This selects the tapped shape on the slide, as shown in Figure 10.

    Shape selected using Selection Pane
    Figure 10: Shape selected using Selection Pane

  5. To select another slide object, click on its name on the Selection Pane -- remember though that the Selection Pane does not support selection of multiple objects.

 

PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences:
PowerPoint 2013, 2011, 2010, 2007 and 2003

Have your ever used keyboard shortcuts and sequences in PowerPoint? Or are you a complete keyboard aficionado? Do you want to learn about some new shortcuts? Or do you want to know if your favorite keyboard shortcuts are documented?

Go and get a copy of our PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences E-Book.

PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences E-book

 



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