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Edit Points for Shapes in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows

Learn how to reshape a shape in PowerPoint 2010 by using the Edit Points option.

Author: Geetesh Bajaj

Product/Version: Microsoft PowerPoint 2010
OS: Windows 8, 7, Vista, and XP

Date Created: February 17th 2011
Last Updated: February 17th 2011

When you use any of the shapes available in 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 by 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 five 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.

Vertexes (small black squares)
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 2010:

  1. 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.

    Freeform line selected
    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.

  2. From the Drawing Tools Format tab, locate the Insert Shapes group. Then 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. And from this drop-down list, choose the Edit Points option (refer to Figure 3 again).

    Edit Points selected
    Figure 3: Edit Points selected

    Tip: Is the Edit Points option grayed out? Some shapes, especially a straight point-to-point line will not allow you to choose the Edit Points.

  3. A number of small black squared points will appear on the outline of the shape, as shown in Figure 4. 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.

    Vertexes appearing on the drawing
    Figure 4: Vertexes appearing on the drawing

  4. Place the cursor on any of the vertexes - the cursor will change to a small rectangle with four directional arrows around it, as you can see in Figure 5.

    Cursor with a rectangle and four directional arrows
    Figure 5: Cursor with a rectangle and four directional arrows

  5. Now click on the vertex to select it, and reposition the vertex by dragging it to a new position. A black dashed line appears showing the changes to the shape that you are making, as shown in Figure 6.

    Editing vertexes
    Figure 6: Editing vertexes

  6. You can also change how the shape looks without repositioning the vertex. A selected vertex shows one or two blue handles (lines emanating from the vertex), as shown in Figure 7. To alter the degree of the curve or line on either sides of the vertex in relation to the next vertex along the line, just click on one of the handles and drag them to reorient the line's structure (refer to Figure 7 again).

    Editing with handles
    Figure 7: Editing with handles

See Also:

Edit Points for Shapes in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Edit Points for Shapes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac
Edit Points for Shapes in PowerPoint 2007 for Windows
Edit Points for Shapes in PowerPoint 2003 for Windows


PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences:
PowerPoint 2013, 2011, 2010, 2007 and 2003

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 E-Book.

PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences E-book


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