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Merge Shapes with Pictures in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows

Learn how to merge shapes with pictures in PowerPoint 2016.


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






PowerPoint takes the Merge Shapes command to a whole new level – you can merge shapes with other shapes and text, and you can also merge shapes with pictures! First you may wonder what's so awesome about merging shapes with pictures? But play a bit and you'll realize that this opens up huge possibilities. We will start simple in this tutorial and explore how you can create cookie cutter shapes with this option.

Follow these steps to learn how you can merge shapes with pictures in PowerPoint 2016:

  1. Launch PowerPoint 2016. You will see the Presentation Gallery -- here, select Blank Presentation to open a blank presentation with a new slide. Now change the Slide Layout by selecting the Home tab | Layout | Two Content option. Figure 1 below shows a slide with the Two Content slide layout applied.

    Slide with the Two Content slide layout applied
    Figure 1: Slide with the Two Content slide layout applied

    Note that this layout has three placeholders in all: one title placeholder and two content placeholders.
  2. Now insert some shapes. We choose the Round Diagonal Corner Rectangle, and placed three of them right atop the three placeholders (one title placeholder and two content placeholders). Make sure you resize the shapes as accurately as possible so that they cover the placeholders, as shown in Figure 2.

    Shapes placed atop the placeholders
    Figure 2: Shapes placed atop the placeholders
  3. On the same slide, insert a picture. Make sure it fits within the slide completely, as shown in Figure 3. You may have to crop your picture or resize it to make sure it covers the entire Slide Area.

    Picture inserted within slide
    Figure 3: Picture inserted within slide
  4. Once the picture is placed, reorder the picture by sending it behind the existing shapes, as shown in Figure 4.

    Picture sent to back
    Figure 4: Picture sent to back
  5. Now, select the picture first and then all the three shapes. It's important that you select the picture first -- or else this technique will not work. Once your selections are done, access the Drawing Tools Format contextual tab of the Ribbon (highlighted in red within Figure 5), and click the Merge Shapes button (highlighted in blue within Figure 5).

    Merge Shapes button
    Figure 5: Merge Shapes button
  6. This brings up Merge Shapes drop-down gallery, as shown in Figure 6. Within the Merge Shapes drop-down gallery hover the cursor over Combine option to see a live preview, as shown in Figure 6. Click the Combine option to create a cookie cutter graphic from the picture.

    Combine option to be selected
    Figure 6: Combine option to be selected

    Tip: Learn more about the Combine option in our Shape Combine Command in PowerPoint 2016 tutorial.
  7. Type your title text within the Title placeholder, and then you can insert anything within the two Content placeholders, including text. We inserted a Table and a Chart in the two placeholders, as shown in Figure 7. Note that when you insert any slide object within the placeholder you may have to reorder it and send it backwards so that the cutout picture stays on top.

    Table and Chart inserted within the slide
    Figure 7: Table and Chart inserted within the slide
  8. Make sure you save your presentation often.
Tip: Although it’s easy to use the Merge Shapes commands in PowerPoint 2016 and 2013 to create cookie cutter shapes with pictures, you can use shapes with picture fills especially in older versions to get similar results. Want to learn how to create Cookie Cutter Shapes with different techniques? Explore the following tutorials:

Cookie Cutter Shapes in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows
Cookie Cutter Shapes in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Cookie Cutter Shapes in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows
Cookie Cutter Shapes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

See Also: Merge Shapes with Pictures in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows

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