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Creating Curved Shapes in PowerPoint in PowerPoint 2013

Learn how to create curved shapes in PowerPoint 2013.


Product/Version: Microsoft PowerPoint 2013
OS: Windows 7 and 8

PowerPoint provides an extensive array of built-in shapes which help you create great looking graphics for your slides. You can manipulate these graphics by dragging their yellow squares or 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 your shape look more organic than geometric curved lines:

  1. Launch PowerPoint 2013. Most of the time, PowerPoint will open with a new slide in a presentation -- you can change the slide layout to Blank by selecting the Home tab | Layout | Blank option.

  2. Now select the View tab of the Ribbon and select the Gridlines check-box, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 1.

    Gridlines check-box
    Figure 1: Gridlines check-box

    Tip: Gridlines can help you to have more control over the curves that you will create. Learn about Gridlines here.

  3. Access the Insert tab (or the Home tab) of the Ribbon and click the Shapes button to bring up the Shapes drop-down gallery – within this gallery, select the required shape. We chose a Rectangle shape, as you can see in Figure 2.

    Rectangle selected
    Figure 2: Rectangle selected

  4. Now click and drag on the slide to create an instance of the selected Rectangle shape within a section of the gridlines, as shown in Figure 3.

    Rectangle inserted on the slide
    Figure 3: Rectangle inserted on the slide

    Tip:Want to know more about Shapes, and how you add them to your slides? Learn how to insert shapes in PowerPoint 2013.

  5. Make sure that the Rectangle is selected. The Ribbon area now shows the Drawing Tools Format contextual tab -- activate this Ribbon tab by clicking on it. Click the Edit Shape button, and from the resultant drop-down list, select the Edit Points option, as shown in Figure 4.

    Edit Points option
    Figure 4: Edit Points option

    Alternatively, you can right-click the shape and from the context menu select Edit Points option, as shown in Figure 5.

    Edit Points option within right-click context menu
    Figure 5: Edit Points option within right-click context menu

  6. 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 any 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.

    Vertexes appears on the Rectangle
    Figure 6: Vertexes appears on the Rectangle

  7. 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 left bottom 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.

    Handles of selected vertex
    Figure 7: Handles of selected vertex

  8. Click the white square on the handle placed on the line to select it, and move this handle upwards or outwards towards the shape. In Figure 8 you can see that it is being dragged upwards toward the shape.

    Handle is moved up
    Figure 8: Handle is moved up

  9. Now select the vertex on the other corner of the line to access the same kind of blue handles. Click the handle (white square) on the line to select it and drag it as required. In Figure 9 you can see that the handle is being dragged out downwards of the shape.

    Handle is moved down
    Figure 9: Handle is moved down

  10. This converts the straight line of your Rectangle (or any other shape) to a curved line. (see Figure 9). Your shape is no longer a rectangle.

    Straight line converted to curved line
    Figure 9: Straight line converted to curved line

    Tip: Want to know more about vertexes and lines -- look at our Edit Points in PowerPoint 2013 tutorial.

  11. 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.

See Also:

Creating Curved Shapes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac
Creating Curved Shapes in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows


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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