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Shape Combine Command in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

Learn how you can combine shapes in PowerPoint 2011 using the Combine command.


Author: Geetesh Bajaj

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

Date Created: December 28th 2011
Last Updated: December 28th 2011






PowerPoint has more than a hundred shapes but there are times when you want to combine two or more shapes to create your own shape. For example, we placed several basic shapes over a circle to create a smiling caricature as shown towards the left of Figure 1, below. With these shapes selected, we then used the Combine command that is explained later in this tutorial to create a unified, combined shape as shown towards the right in Figure 1.

Sample showing the use of the Combine command
Figure 1: Sample showing the use of the Combine command

Once you finish reading this tutorial, do view the sample presentations embedded on the bottom of this page to see more samples of shapes created using the Combine command.

  1. Open your presentation and navigate to the slide which contains shapes to be combined. In Figure 2 you can see that two octagons have been placed overlapping each other.

    One octagon placed atop another octagon
    Figure 2: One octagon placed atop another octagon

  2. Select both the octagons, and carefully right-click them. From the contextual menu that appears, select the Grouping command. This opens another sub-menu in which you should select the Combine command, as shown in Figure 3.

    Combine command selected within the Grouping sub-menu
    Figure 3: Combine command selected within the Grouping sub-menu

    Tip: To use the Combine command, you must select two or more shapes.


  3. This will combine the selected shapes into a single shape, as shown in Figure 4 (compare with Figure 2). Note that the overlapping area is subtracted.
    Selected octagons combined into a single shape
    Figure 4: Selected octagons combined into a single shape

Here’s how the Combine command behaves in various scenarios:

  • Combines non-overlapping areas of shapes
  • Subtracts overlapping areas of shapes
  • If selected shapes do not overlap, acts like a group with no option to ungroup!
  • Retains formatting of the shape you select first

You will see these guidelines in use within the embedded presentation below (scroll down this page).

Activity: Do experiment with various shapes that are formatted with fills of different colors. Select one of the shapes, and then individually select other shapes and apply the Combine command -- you will notice that the combined shape takes the formatting of the shape selected first.

The sample presentations below show how we used different shapes placed next to and above each other, and then combined.



Click above to view on Slideshare


Click above to view on YouTube

See Also:

Shape Combine Command in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows
Shape Combine Command in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Shape Combine Command in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows


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