Create Custom Shaped Picture Placeholders in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac
Learn how to create custom shaped picture placeholders in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.
Author: Geetesh Bajaj
Product/Version: Microsoft PowerPoint 2011
OS: Mac OS X
Rather than using simple rectangle placeholders for your pictures, you can use various other shapes that appear almost silhouette-like. Yes, this is possible within PowerPoint! In fact, look at Figure 1, below -- these custom picture placeholders were created within PowerPoint, and we used nothing that's not a part of PowerPoint. Of course this process is a little detailed, but not difficult!
Figure 1: Custom picture placeholders
We have already covered how PowerPoint enables you to insert placeholders within a Slide Layout -- and Picture placeholders are among the various placeholder types you can insert. You can do more with the Picture placeholders, such as creating custom placeholders. You can also make them to look like the one shown in Figure 1, above. We used PowerPoint's Combine Shapes commands -- these commands are not available by default within the Ribbon, but you can right-click shapes, and select the Grouping option to access them as explained in our Combine Shapes Commands in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac. Follow these steps to learn how to customize your Picture placeholders:
- First, add a new Slide Layout
within the Slide Master. With your new Slide Layout
selected, click the down-arrow of the Insert Placeholder button, highlighted in red within Figure 2, below.
Then click the Picture option in the resultant drop-down gallery,
as shown highlighted in blue within Figure 2.
Figure 2: Add a picture placeholder
- Go ahead and drag and draw to
insert a picture placeholder, as shown in Figure 3. Resize and
reposition your placeholder as required.
Figure 3: Picture placeholder within the Slide Layout
Tip: Want to resize or reposition your new Picture placeholder precisely? Explore our Shapes tutorials that explain how you can do these tasks with Shapes -- Picture placeholders are Shapes too! What's important though is that you do nothing more than resizing and repositioning at this time with your picture placeholder, as the Combine Shape options we explore next won't work if the placeholder is further formatted.
- Access the Home tab of the Ribbon and click the
Shape button shown highlighted in red within
Figure 4: Shape button within the Home tab of the Ribbon
- This opens the Shape gallery as shown in Figure 5.
From the Shape gallery, choose a shape that works well as the corner
of your typical rectangular picture placeholder. We chose the Diagonal Stripe
shape within the Basic Shapes category (highlighted in red within
Figure 5: Diagonal Stripe shape selected
- Now insert
the shape within your slide layout -- we placed it on the top left corner of the
rectangular picture placeholder, as shown in Figure 6, below. We also
from the shape and changed the line attribute of this shape to No Line.
Figure 6: Diagonal Stripe shape placed on the Picture placeholder's corner
Why did we set the line attribute of the Diagonal Stripe shape to No Line? That's because a line may add some extra thickness around the shape area, and may not allow you to accurately place this shape above the top left corner of your picture placeholder.
- We then duplicated the
Diagonal Strip shape (press Command+D) thrice, and placed
instances on all four corners of the picture placeholder,
flipping individual shapes as required, as shown in Figure 7, below.
Figure 7: Diagonal Stripe duplicated and flipped to form four corners
- Deselect the corner shapes and make sure that only the picture placeholder is selected now.
Then access the SmartArt tab, click the Shape button
(highlighted in red within Figure 8, below).
Figure 8: Shape button
This brings up a Shape gallery as shown in Figure 8, above. From the Shape gallery choose another shape -- you can even choose a Rectangle again! Changing the Picture placeholder to a shape is important -- in fact the next step explained will not be possible unless you do so.
- Right-click the Picture placeholder and you should be able to see the Edit Points
option in the context menu, as shown in Figure 9.
Figure 9: Edit Points option available
Unless you changed the shape in the previous step, the Edit Points option will be grayed out.
- Now, combine the corner Diagonal Stripe shapes with the Picture
placeholder. Make sure your picture placeholder is selected. Then select all the inserted
corner shapes and right-click to bring up a context menu. In this context menu, select the
Grouping option to bring up a sub-menu -- select the Combine option within
this sub-menu, as shown in Figure 10.
Figure 10: Combine option within Grouping sub-menu
- This results in a custom picture placeholder as shown in Figure 11. If you use this placeholder for your picture, the result will be similar to the placeholder shown on the left side of Figure 1 (earlier on this page).
Figure 11: Picture placeholder edited using Combine option
For this tutorial we used the Combine option -- you can even use the Union, Intersect, and Subtract. Results will differ based on the Shape Combine option you choose and also on the order in which the shapes are selected before they are applied with the Shape Combine option. Play around with these options.
Note: Not getting the result shown in Figure 11 above? Do you instead see a full solid color picture placeholder, as shown in Figure 12, below? This may occur depending on whichever slide object you selected first, If you select any of the corner shapes first, and then the picture placeholder you'll get the results shown in Figure 12, below. So always opt for selecting the picture placeholder first and then the corner shapes to achieve results shown in Figure 11 above.
Figure 12: Picture placeholder with solid color
- When done, access the Slide Master tab of the Ribbon,
and click the Close button as shown highlighted in red within
Figure 13. This will get you back to Normal view.
Figure 13: Close button
- Access the Home tab of the Ribbon and click the
Layout button to bring up the Layout drop-down gallery you see in
Figure 14, below. Notice that your new Custom Layout
(highlighted in red within Figure 14) shows up here, ready to be used to
create a new picture slide.
Figure 14: New Slide Layout with the picture placeholder added and edited
Note: The new layouts you create are saved as part of the presentation, and are not available in any other presentations you create. Other than adding placeholders to your new slide layouts, you can also change their slide backgrounds.
Also, you can change the name of your new layouts from Custom Layout to something more descriptive -- this is explained in our Duplicate, Rename, and Edit Slide Layouts in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac tutorial.
- Save your presentation often.
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