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Align Shapes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

Learn how to align shapes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.


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Product/Version: Microsoft PowerPoint 2011
OS: Mac OS X







Being great believers in creative freedom, we consider un-required alignment of slide objects (such as shapes) probably as bad a design decision as aligning nothing at all. In the end, every decision to align needs to stem from your creative thoughts -- sometimes it works, and at other times, an unaligned bunch of shapes looks perfectly natural and organic, as you can see in the two different examples shown in Figure 1. Look closely again at Figure 1, and you'll tend to agree that the bunch of circles on the right seems to follow a natural S curve and aligning them all in the same straight line would not benefit at all. On the other hand, the bunch of rounded rectangles on the left certainly benefits from being aligned in a straight line.

Alignment works great many times, but is better not done at other times
Figure 1: Alignment works great many times, but is better not done at other times

Also, remember that alignment works with more than just shapes -- and you can also combine shapes with other slide objects and align them all together. For the times when need shapes to be arranged in a straight line, follow these steps to learn more:

  1. Open your presentation, navigate to the slide which contains the shapes to be aligned, and select all the shapes which you want to align.

  2. Access the Home tab of the Ribbon, and click the Arrange button. You'll find Align or Distribute option in the resultant gallery -- clicking this option brings up another sub-gallery with options to align the selected shapes as shown in Figure 2.

    Align options within the Align or Distribute sub-gallery
    Figure 2: Align options within the Align or Distribute sub-gallery

    Note: Before starting aligning the shapes, make sure the Align Selected Objects option is activated within the Align or Distribute sub-menu (refer to Figure 2 above).



    The Align or Distribute sub-menu provides six options to align the shapes (highlighted in red in Figure 2 above):

    The Align Left, Center, and Right options work well with shapes and slide objects that are to be aligned vertically on the slide, as shown in Figure 3.

    Unaligned shapes selected for vertical alignment on the slide
    Figure 3: Unaligned shapes selected for vertical alignment on the slide

    The Align Left, Center, and Right options work as explained below:

    • Align Left: Here the left-most shape within the selection determines the left point for alignment of all the shapes, as shown in Figure 4.

      Shapes aligned to left
      Figure 4: Shapes aligned to left

    • Align Center: This option calculates the center of all the objects by determining the left-most and right-most points -- and then determining the center position for selected shapes (see Figure 5).

      Shapes aligned to center
      Figure 5: Shapes aligned to center

    • Align Right: Here the right-most shape within the selection determines the right point for alignment of all the shapes, as shown in Figure 6.

      Shapes aligned to right
      Figure 6: Shapes aligned to right

    • The Align Top, Middle, and Bottom options are suitable for selected shapes and other slide objects, which are to be aligned horizontally on the slide, as shown in Figure 7.

      Unaligned shapes selected for horizontal alignment on the slide
      Figure 7: Unaligned shapes selected for horizontal alignment on the slide

      The Align Top, Middle, and Bottom options work as explained below:

    • Align Top: Here the top-most shape within the selection determines the top point for alignment of all the shapes, as shown in Figure 8.
      Shapes aligned to top
      Figure 8: Shapes aligned to top

    • Align Middle: This option calculates the middle of all the objects by determining the top-most and bottom-most points -- and then determining the middle position (see Figure 9).
      Shapes aligned to middle
      Figure 9: Shapes aligned to middle

    • Align Bottom: Here the bottom-most shape within the selection determines the bottom point for alignment of all the shapes, as shown in Figure 10.
      Shapes aligned to bottom
      Figure 10: Shapes aligned to bottom

  3. Don't forget to save your presentation often.

See Also:

Align Shapes in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows
Align Shapes in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Align Shapes in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows

 

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