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Types of Shapes in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows

Learn about different types of shapes in PowerPoint 2016.


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

What does the word “shape” mean to you? Do you imagine a square, a circle, a heart, or even a smiley face? Yes, all those are shapes -- as are the hundreds of other recognizable outlines or figures that we call shapes in our daily conversations. Shapes play a significant role within any slides you create for your PowerPoint presentation. In more ways that you may want to count, shapes are like the building blocks of almost anything you do on your PowerPoint slides -- PowerPoint 2016 provides hundreds of shapes efficiently categorized into 9 types. You can do so much with these shapes -- for example, you can combine shapes to create your own unique shapes, format shapes with fills, lines, and effects -- and even group or layer them to create more amazing graphics. You can even create flowcharts with these shapes. This tutorial explores the various types of shapes available within PowerPoint.

To look at these different types of shapes, choose the Insert tab (or even the Home tab) of the Ribbon -- and click the Shapes button to bring up a drop-down gallery, as shown in Figure 1.

Shapes drop-down gallery
Figure 1: Shapes drop-down gallery

PowerPoint 2016 sorts these different shape types into nine categories, as explained below:

  1. Lines: Straight and curved lines, with or without arrowheads (see Figure 2). Also, you'll find options to create freeform paths and scribbles. In addition, lines also work as connectors, which link individual shapes and other slide objects via straight, curved, or elbow branches.

    Figure 2: Lines

    Tip: The first 9 line types also work as "connectors" -- these can be especially useful if you need to create flowcharts -- for more info, explore our Using Flowchart and Connector Shapes Together tutorial.
  2. Rectangles: Other than the ubiquitous simple rectangle, PowerPoint provides several types of other rectangles including those with rounded and snipped corners (see Figure 3).

    Figure 3: Rectangles
  3. Basic Shapes: Common shapes such as ovals, triangles, cubes, hearts, etc. (see Figure 4).

    Basic Shapes
    Figure 4: Basic Shapes
  4. Block Arrows: A comprehensive assortment of arrow shapes (see Figure 5).

    Block Arrows
    Figure 5: Block Arrows
  5. Equation Shapes: Common mathematical and equation symbols (see Figure 6).

    Equation Shapes
    Figure 6: Equation Shapes
  6. Flowchart: Several standard flowchart symbols such as Process, Decision, Data, etc. can be found within this category (see Figure 7).

    Figure 7: Flowchart

    Tip: Learn more about various flowchart shapes in our Flowchart Symbols: What They Represent? tutorial.
  7. Stars and Banners: Stars with 4 until 32 points, explosions, scrolls, and banners (see Figure 8).

    Stars and Banners
    Figure 8: Stars and Banners
  8. Callouts: Provides speech and thought bubbles, and line callouts too (see Figure 9).

    Figure 9: Callouts
  9. Action Buttons: A special category of buttons that enables you to add push style buttons that allow you to add navigation between slides and other interactivity (see Figure 10).

    Action Buttons
    Figure 10: Action Buttons

Other than the categories mentioned above, the Shapes drop-down gallery also includes a Recently Used Shapes category right on top that lists any shapes that you use often (see Figure 11). All these shapes are also visible in their normal location in the Shapes drop-down gallery.

Recently Used Shapes
Figure 11: Recently Used Shapes

See Also:

Types of Shapes in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Types of Shapes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac
Types of Shapes in PowerPoint 2007 and 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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