Edit Points for Shapes in PowerPoint 2007 for Windows
Learn how to edit the structure of a shape in PowerPoint 2007 using the Edit Points option.
Author: Geetesh Bajaj
Product/Version: Microsoft PowerPoint 2007
OS: Windows 7, Vista, and XP
When you insert a shape within PowerPoint, you are not limited to what their default appearance looks like. You may want to change a rectangle to a rhombus, or even edit a curved or freeform line differently. The good news is that you can do this using the Edit Points option -- this almost makes PowerPoint a drawing program that provides you the option to play with vertexes (points), handles, etc. -- very similar to what you would do in Adobe Illustrator or CorelDRAW.
A vertex is a point within the outline of any shape that can be dragged or edited to change the appearance of the shape. A vertex is indicated by a small black square (you can see seven of these black squares in Figure 1). Note that you will learn more about how to get to this Edit Points interface later in this tutorial -- meanwhile also notice that when you select a vertex, one or two blue handles appear -- these handles end with transparent squares -- these transparent squares have black outlines and can be dragged to reorient the structure of the selected shape.
Also in PowerPoint, the terms vertex and point are often used interchangeably.
Figure 1: Vertexes (small black squares)
Follow these steps to get to the Edit Points mode for any shape (rectangle, line, drawn shape, etc.) in PowerPoint 2007:
- Select the drawing so that the Ribbon area now shows the
Drawing Tools Format tab, as shown in Figure 2. Activate this Ribbon tab by clicking on it.
Figure 2: Drawing Tools Format tab of the Ribbon
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.
Tip: Is the Edit Shape button grayed out? Some shapes, especially a straight point-to-point line will not allow you to click the Edit Shape button.
- Within the Drawing Tools Format tab, click the Edit Shape
button (highlighted in red, in Figure 2 above) to view a drop-down gallery that you can see in
Figure 3. In this gallery, select the Edit Points option (refer to
Figure 3 again).
Figure 3: Edit points option
Note: At this point if you see that Edit Points option is grayed out and Convert to Freeform option is active, then don't be surprised. That means you have selected a default PowerPoint Shape. In PowerPoint 2007, the Edit Points option will be available only for freeform shapes. For this tutorial we have indeed used a freeform shape. But if you are using a Shape you inserted from the Shape Gallery, you first must convert it into a freeform shape. To do that, you have to select the Convert to Freeform option in the same drop-down gallery (see Figure 4).
Figure 4: Convert to Freeform option
Once you do that, Edit Points option becomes accessible. Just click it.
A number of small black squared points will appear on the outline of the shape, as shown in Figure 5. These points are
known as vertexes, which mark any point in your shape that denotes an extremity of a curve or line segment, or even the start and end
point of an open shape.
Figure 5: Vertexes appearing on the drawing
- Place the cursor over any of the vertexes - the cursor will change to a small square with four directional arrows around it, as
shown in Figure 6 (highlighted in red).
Figure 6: Cursor with a square and four directional arrows
- Now click on the vertex to select it, and reposition the vertex by dragging it to a new position. A semi transparent area appears
showing the changes to the shape that you are making, as shown in Figure 7.
Figure 7: Editing vertexes
- You can also change how the shape looks without repositioning the vertex. A selected vertex shows one or two blue handles (blue
lines emanating from the vertex), as shown in Figure 8. To alter the degree of the curve or line on either sides of
the vertex just click on one of the handles and drag it to reorient the line's structure (refer to Figure 8 again).
Figure 8: Editing with handles
To alter the degree of the curve or line on either sides of the vertex in relation to the next vertex along the line, you have to press the Shift key while dragging.
- Save your presentation often.
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