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Resizing Shapes in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows

Learn how to resize shapes in PowerPoint 2016.


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






Once you insert shapes on a slide, you may realize that it's not the perfect size -- did you want it larger, or a wee bit smaller? However you want your shapes resized, it's easy to make the size change in a jiffy, right inside PowerPoint 2016. Like most Microsoft Office programs, PowerPoint follows the concept of selection, then action -- so the first thing you need to do to a shape that you want to be resized is to select it! Any shape that is selected shows several handles, as shown in both the shapes you see in Figure 1.

Shapes have several handles
Figure 1: Shapes have several handles

Look closely at Figure 1, and you'll find that any selected shape has several handles.

  • Four white handles on the corners -- these are round.
  • Four white handles on the sides -- these are round too.
  • One white rotation handle over the top-middle handle. To learn more see our Rotate Shapes in PowerPoint 2016 tutorial.
  • One or more yellow round handle -- these round handles do not appear on all shapes. If you look at Figure 1 above, you will notice that the shape on the left has no yellow handle but the one on the right does. To learn more, see our Manipulating Shapes by Dragging Yellow Handles in PowerPoint 2016 tutorial.

Resize by Dragging

When you drag any of the eight white handles, you can resize the shape in various ways, depending upon certain factors, as explained below:

  • When you drag any of the handles inwards, you scale down the size of the shape.
  • When you drag any of the handles outwards, you enlarge the size of the shape.
  • To maintain the width:height proportions of the shape, hold the Shift key while you drag one of the four corner handles (see Figure 2).

    Shift drag to maintain the width:height proportion while resizing a shape
    Figure 2: Shift drag to maintain the width:height proportion while resizing a shape
  • To resize from the center of the shape rather than from a corner or side, hold the Ctrl key while you drag one of the four corner or side handles (see Figure 3).

    Ctrl dragging resizes from the center of a shape rather than from a corner or side
    Figure 3: Ctrl dragging resizes from the center of a shape rather than from a corner or side
  • To resize from the center and still maintain proportions, hold both the Shift and Ctrl keys while you drag one of the four corner handles see Figure 4).

    Combine both Ctrl and Shift dragging options to get the best of both worlds
    Figure 4: Combine both Ctrl and Shift dragging options to get the best of both worlds
  • To resize only one side, drag the corresponding side handle (see Figure 5).

    Resize only one side
    Figure 5: Resize only one side
  • To resize opposite sides equally, hold the Ctrl key while you drag a side handle (see Figure 6).

    Resize two sides at the same time equally
    Figure 6: Resize two sides at the same time equally

Resize using the Keyboard

You can also resize the selected shape by pressing the Shift key and then pressing any of the four arrow keys on your keyboard. This option takes the center of the shape as an anchor point to resize from. Use any of following command combinations to resize the shape.

  • Shift+Up Arrow increases the height of the shape
  • Shift+Down Arrow decrease the height of the shape
  • Shift+Left Arrow decrease the width of the shape
  • Shift+Right Arrow increases the width of the shape

As you resize the shape, you can see the height and the width change dynamically within the Size group of Drawing Tools Format tab of the Ribbon (see Figure 7).

The Drawing Tools Format tab includes the Size group
Figure 7: The Drawing Tools Format tab includes the Size group

Also you can check the Lock Aspect Ratio check-box in the Format Shape pane (discussed later on this page, see Figure 9), and then use Shift in combination with any of the arrow keys to proportionately resize the selected shape.

The options explained above allow you to resize based on what you see rather than resizing them to exact numerical values. To resize any shape to an exact size, you first select it. This activates the Drawing Tools Format tab on the Ribbon (see Figure 7, above). Within the Size group (highlighted in red within Figure 7, above), change the Height and the Width values to resize the shape. You must press Enter after typing in a value – you can also use the increase or decrease buttons next to the the numbers to increase or decrease the value.

To view even more resize options, click the small arrow dialog launcher located at the bottom right corner of the Size group (highlighted in red within Figure 8).

Click the arrow dialog launcher to summon the Format Shape pane
Figure 8: Click the arrow dialog launcher to summon the Format Shape pane

This brings up the Format Shape pane, as shown in Figure 9.

Format Shape pane
Figure 9: Format Shape pane

Make sure you select the Resize tab (highlighted in blue within Figure 9, above) -- within this tab, you'll find the following options related to resizing shapes:

  • Height: Type in a value or use the increase / decrease buttons to change the height of a shape.
  • Width: Type in a value or use the increase / decrease buttons to change the width of a shape.
  • Rotation: Type in a value or use the increase / decrease buttons to rotate the shape.
  • Scale Height: Change the height based on percentage values.
  • Scale Width: Change the width based on percentage values.
  • Lock aspect ratio: Select this check-box (highlighted in red within Figure 9) so any change in height reflects a proportionate change in the width, and vice versa.

The other options shown in Figure 9 are not relevant to resizing shapes.

See Also:

Resizing Shapes in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Resizing Shapes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac
Resizing Shapes in PowerPoint 2010 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?

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



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