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Insert Shapes in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows

Learn how to insert Shapes in PowerPoint 2016.


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Product/Version: Microsoft PowerPoint 2016
OS: Windows 7 and higher






Shapes are the building blocks of whatever you create in PowerPoint -- in fact, even a text box that you add to your slide is essentially a shape with a No Fill attribute. Once you get proficient with shapes, you can do so much more -- for example, you can combine multiple shapes to create fancier shapes. However, you need to start with the very basics -- and there's so much to learn even at this foundation level. The first task you need to do is to insert a shape -- fortunately, PowerPoint makes it easy to do this task. To insert a new shape on your PowerPoint slide, follow these steps:

  1. Launch PowerPoint 2016. You will see the Presentation Gallery -- here, select the Blank Presentation to open a blank presentation with a new slide -- you can change the Slide Layout to Blank by selecting the Home tab | Layout | Blank option (see Figure 1).

    Slide with Blank Layout in PowerPoint
    Figure 1: Slide with Blank layout
  2. Now, access the Insert tab of the Ribbon, and click the Shapes button to bring up the Shapes drop-down gallery, as shown in Figure 2.

    Shapes drop-down gallery
    Figure 2: Shapes drop-down gallery

    Tip: The Shapes drop-down gallery can also be accessed from the Home tab -- if you see no Shapes button on this tab, you might find a part of the Shapes gallery already visible in the tab, as shown in Figure 3, below. To see the entire drop-down Shapes gallery, click the More button, highlighted in red within Figure 3.

    Access the Shapes gallery from the Home tab
    Figure 3: Access the Shapes gallery from the Home tab
  3. Within the Shapes drop-down gallery, PowerPoint provides options to choose shapes from several categories such as Lines, Rectangles, Basic Shapes, Block Arrows, Stars and Banners, Callouts, etc. Learn more about shape types in our Types of Shapes in PowerPoint 2016 tutorial. For now, choose any Shape by clicking on it. Thereafter use any of these options to place an instance of the Shape on your slide:

    1. Click anywhere on the slide to add the Shape in a predefined size (typically 1 inch x 1 inch), as shown in Figure 4.

      Shape placed on the slide
      Figure 4: Shape placed on the slide

    2. Alternatively, click and do not let go of the primary button on your mouse (or other input device). Continue dragging until you create a large enough shape on your slide, as shown in Figure 5, below.

      Draw a shape as large or small as you want
      Figure 5: Draw a shape as large or small as you want

    Tip: Hold the Shift key while dragging to constrain the height and width proportions. Hold the Ctrl key to draw a Shape from the center. You can also draw while holding both the Ctrl and Shift keys.
  4. You can similarly insert as many shapes as you want. Save your presentation often.

See Also:

Insert Shapes in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Insert Shapes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac
Insert Shapes in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows
Insert Shapes in PowerPoint 2007 for Windows
Inserting AutoShapes in PowerPoint 2002 and 2003 for Windows

PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts

PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences:
PowerPoint 2016, 2013, 2011, 2010, 2007 and 2003 for Windows
PowerPoint 2016 and 2011 for Mac

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?

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