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Merge Shape Commands in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows

Explore the Merge Shape commands in PowerPoint 2016.


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






Merge Shape commands are a set of five commands that work with shapes, text and pictures. Using these commands, you can play with shapes, text, and picture—and merge them, or subtract one object from the other. The results can be fascinating and playing with the Merge Shape commands can be addictive.

Accessing the Merge Shape Commands

  1. To access the Merge Shape commands in PowerPoint 2016 you first need to insert some shapes on your PowerPoint slide. In this example we inserted a Rectangle and a Circle -- make sure you place the shapes in a way so that they overlap each other, as shown in Figure 1.

    Two overlapped shapes
    Figure 1: Two overlapped shapes
  2. When the shapes are selected, you will see the Drawing Tools Format tab on the Ribbon (highlighted in red within Figure 2). Make sure that this contextual tab is activated.

    Drawing Tools Format tab
    Figure 2: Drawing Tools Format tab

    Note: The Drawing Tools Format tab is a Contextual tab. These tabs are special tabs in the Ribbon that are not visible all the time -- they only make an appearance when you are working with a particular slide object which can be edited using special options.
  3. Within the Drawing Tools Format tab, locate the Insert Shapes group and click the Merge Shapes button (highlighted in red within Figure 3). This brings up the Merge Shapes drop-down gallery (highlighted in blue within Figure 3).

    Merge Shapes drop-down gallery
    Figure 3: Merge Shapes drop-down gallery

    These five Merge Shapes options work in different ways (see Figure 4) – we will show you how these commands work in our tutorial pages linked below:

    1. Union
    2. Combine
    3. Fragment
    4. Intersect
    5. Subtract

    Merge Shapes get you various, differing outputs
    Figure 4: Merge Shapes get you various, differing outputs

Additionally, you can now also merge shapes with text and pictures, as explained in the following tutorials:

  1. Convert Text to Shapes by Intersecting in PowerPoint 2016
  2. Convert Text to Shapes by Fragmenting in PowerPoint 2016
  3. Merge Shapes with Pictures in PowerPoint 2016

See Also:

Merge Shape Commands in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Combine Shapes Commands in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

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?

Go and get a copy of our PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences ebook.



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