Creating Curved Shapes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac
Learn how to create curved shapes in PowerPoint 2011.
Author: Geetesh Bajaj
Product/Version: Microsoft PowerPoint 2011
OS: Mac OS X
In PowerPoint, you are provided with an extensive array of built-in shapes that help you create great looking graphics for your slides. PowerPoint shapes can be manipulated by dragging their diamond handles and also by combining them -- but at times, you may not achieve the exact appearance you want. For instance, you might want a little curve in your shape edges rather than conventional straight lines. PowerPoint does allow you to tweak and make the shape on your slide look more organic than geometric curved lines, as explained in the following steps:
- Open any existing presentation or create a new one in PowerPoint 2011. Then add a new slide and select the slide and change its layout to Blank.
- To make the curve more accurately, we need to have Gridlines visible on the slide. But since PowerPoint 2011
doesn't provide you with the Gridlines option, you need to find a workaround. Start with
making Guides visible on the slide.
Add more horizontal and vertical Guides
equidistant from each other to form a set of lines looking like Gridlines, as shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1: Guides added in PowerPoint 2011
- Note that if you click anywhere near a guide, it will get selected. This is going to create a problem, because, we need
to establish the starting point for the shape at a point where horizontal and vertical Guides meet. Also, later we need to
select various vertexes and selection handles on the shape that may overlap the Guides. Since we are not supposed to alter any
of the Guides, first we need to create our own set of horizontal and vertical
lines in the place of Guides, as shown in
Figure 2. Then, hide the Guides.
Figure 2: Horizontal and Vertical lines added to replace the Guides
- You can also group these lines
into a single object and reduce the transparency to make them look subtle, as shown in Figure 3.
Figure 3: Lines with reduced transparency
- Now insert a shape within a section of
the Gridlines -- we inserted a Rectangle shape as shown in Figure 4.
Figure 4: Rectangle inserted on the slide
- Make sure that the Rectangle (or the shape you created) is
selected. Right-click (or
Ctrl+click) the shape and from the context menu select Edit Points option,
as shown in Figure 5.
Figure 5: Edit Points option
- This makes four small black squared points (vertexes) appear on the outline of the Rectangle, as shown in
Figure 6. The number of vertexes that appear may be different depending on the shape you have selected.
These vertexes mark a point on your shape's outline that denotes an extremity of a curve or a line segment, or even the start
and end point of an open shape.
Figure 6: Vertexes appear on the Rectangle
- Locate the line segment which you want to change into a curve, and click on any one of its corner vertexes to show one or
two blue handles (lines emanating from the vertex). In Figure 7 you can see that the bottom left vertex
has been selected. These handles alter the degree of the curve or line on either sides of the vertex in relation to the next
vertex along the line.
Figure 7: Handles appear when you select a vertex
- Click the white square on the handle placed on the outline to select it, and drag this handle upwards towards the shape, or
outwards as required. In Figure 8 you can see that the handle is being dragged towards the top of the shape.
Figure 8: Handle dragged up
- Now, select the vertex on the other corner of the outline to access the same kind of blue handles. Click the handle (white
square) on the outline to select it and drag it as required. In Figure 9 you can see that the handle is
being dragged away from the shape.
Figure 9: Handle dragged away from the shape
- This converts the straight line of your Rectangle (or any other shape) into a curved line. (see
Figure 10). Your shape is no longer a rectangle.
Figure 10: Straight line converted to curved line
- Once you are done, delete the lines you inserted earlier to provide Gridlines effect. Now, with your shape suitably curved, you can now change it's appearance further by resizing or rotating. You can also change the shape's fill and line attributes, and also apply an effect.
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