AutoShape Magic - 2 of 4

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Supernatural AutoShape Abilities

AutoShapes have special attributes and supernatural powers. Some of them are such show-offs — they even sport yellow diamonds when selected. You can't steal those diamonds, but you can certainly put them to good use. For example:

• Dragging the diamond above a rounded rectangle AutoShape from left to right (or top to bottom) increases the “rounded” value of the rectangle, as shown in Figure 5-4.

• Figure 5-4: Increasing the rounded value of a rectangle.
• Dragging the diamond down or toward the right on a parallelogram, octagon, hexagon, or trapezoid alters the shape further. Drag toward the left (or top) and you have almost a rectangle — look at Figure 5-5.
• Dragging the diamond down or toward the right on a cube, bevel, or can (otherwise known as a cylinder) alters the three-dimensional angle of the shape. Drag toward the left (or top) to make the shape more two-dimensional, as illustrated in Figure 5-6.

• Figure 5-5: Adjusting an AutoShape is easy.

• Figure 5-6: Controlling the third dimension.
• You can adjust the size of the various parts of an Arrow by dragging its yellow diamond, as shown in Figure 5-7.
• All stars except the 5-Point star have diamonds — pull them toward the center to create a star with a smaller center. Drag outward to create larger centers. In fact, if you drag the 32-Point star's diamond outward, you end up with an oval — almost. Figure 5-8 shows you more.
• With callouts, pulling the diamond around the shape moves the tail of the callout. See Figure 5-9.

Experiment with any AutoShape you use in a presentation. You never know what unique shapes those diamonds can cause!

Figure 5-7: Make your arrows behave.

Figure 5-8: Stars that behave like ovals?

Figure 5-9: See who's thinking what with those callouts.

Changing AutoShapes

Sometimes you end up drawing the wrong AutoShape. By the time you realize the mistake, you've already added a fill and applied some animation and don't want to delete and start again.

Tip: Here's a solution: Select the AutoShape on the slide, choose Draw|Change AutoShape in the Drawing toolbar, and choose the AutoShape you want to change to.

Back

On the CD : On the CD, you'll find a full version of AutoShape Magic, my PowerPoint add-in. I got so frustrated repeating certain tasks that I created this add-in to make life simpler and happier for all PowerPoint users.

To install AutoShape Magic, read the documentation included in the same folder as the setup file on the CD. When you have completed the installation, AutoShape Magic shows up as a toolbar inside PowerPoint, as shown in Figure 5-10.

Throughout the rest of this chapter, I refer often to the add-in and how to use particular options.

Remember: Although I discuss the resize, rotate, flip, nudge, move, align, and distribute options using AutoShapes, bear in mind that most other slide elements, including photos, charts, and even videos, can be manipulated in the same way.

Figure 5-10: AutoShape Magic shows up as a toolbar inside PowerPoint.

Double-click any AutoShape and you'll be face-to-face with the venerable Format AutoShape dialog box with six tabs (see Figure 5-11). You can also summon this dialog box by selecting an AutoShape and choosing Format|AutoShape. In the Size tab, you'll find options to resize and rotate AutoShapes. Unless you need to enter exact coordinates or resize percentages, there are faster and easier ways of keeping your AutoShapes in order. For now, click Cancel to get rid of the Format AutoShape dialog box.

Figure 5-11: The Format AutoShape dialog box.

Orientation

Most AutoShapes have eight resize handles around them — four handles on the corners and four more on the sides, as you can see in Figure 5-12. Another green rotation handle can be found over the top-middle handle. All these handles help you change the orientation of your shapes, as I show you next.

Figure 5-12: Resize and rotate handles keep your AutoShapes on a leash.

Resize

It's easy to make AutoShapes teeny-tiny or humongous. Here are your options:

• Drag one of the eight handles to resize the shape.
• To resize while maintaining the shape's proportions, hold the Shift key while you drag one of the four corner handles.
• To resize from the center of the AutoShape, hold the Ctrl key while you drag one of the four corner handles.
• To resize from the center and still maintain proportions, hold both the Shift and Control keys while you drag one of the four corner handles.
• To resize only one side, drag the corresponding side handle.
• To resize opposite sides, hold the Ctrl key while you drag a side handle.
• To resize your AutoShape in 10-percent increments, use the “+” and “–” buttons on the AutoShape Magic toolbar (the add-in found on the CD). The other set of “+” and “–” icons allows you to double or halve your AutoShape size with just one click.

To enter exact coordinates and resize percentages, double-click the AutoShape to summon the Format AutoShape dialog box, click the Size tab, and enter specific coordinates or measurements in the various text boxes.

Rotate

To rotate AutoShapes, select an AutoShape and do the following:

• Drag the green rotation handle toward the right or left to rotate around the center of the AutoShape.
• Hold the Shift key and drag the rotation handle to rotate in 15-degree increments.
• Hold the Ctrl key and drag the rotation handle to rotate around the bottom of the AutoShape.
• Hold both the Shift and Ctrl keys and drag the rotation handles if you want to rotate around the bottom (rather than the center) of the AutoShape in 15-degree increments.
• If you want to rotate in 90-degree increments, head to the Drawing toolbar and choose Draw|Rotate or Flip and then choose either Rotate Left 90° or Rotate Right 90°.
• The Draw|Rotate or Flip menu also has the Free Rotate option that essentially puts four rotation handles on the selected AutoShape rather than just one. If you hold the Ctrl key while you drag one of these rotation handles, the shape rotates around the corner opposite the one you're dragging.
• You'll find a selected AutoShape's rotation value within the Size tab of the Format AutoShape dialog box. You can enter a new value here or type in a zero rotation value to restore the original placement. Double-click the AutoShape to summon the Format AutoShape dialog box.

Flip or mirror

Start flipping your AutoShapes like pancakes:

• Select any of the side handles of a selected AutoShape and drag toward the AutoShape. Keep dragging beyond the AutoShape on the other side to flip an object. Although this is quick and easy, I prefer the next option because it more precisely maintains the AutoShape's size.
• In the Drawing toolbar, choose Draw|Rotate or Flip and then choose either Flip Vertical or Flip Horizontal.

Positioning

The position of an object on a slide in relation to itself and other objects can be manipulated by using these options.

Group and ungroup

Many PowerPoint tasks can be performed easier and faster with grouped objects. Perhaps you want to animate a group of shapes all at once, or you want to move every shape an inch to the left. PowerPoint provides functional grouping and ungrouping abilities:

• Grouping in PowerPoint places more than one object in a collection so that you can change the characteristics of objects contained within the group at one go.
• Ungrouping in PowerPoint breaks a grouped collection back into individual objects.

1. Select all the shapes you want to group. You can
• Select one shape, then hold down the Shift or Ctrl keys while you select other shapes.
• Drag a marquee around the shapes you want to be grouped.
2. Group the shapes by choosing Draw|Group in the Drawing toolbar. Now you can change the position, color, size, and various other attributes of all the grouped items simultaneously.
• Select the grouped shape you want to ungroup.
• Choose Draw|Ungroup in the Drawing toolbar.

Nudge or move

PowerPoint provides more than one way to nudge or move your shapes:

• Select an AutoShape and press the arrow keys on the keyboard to nudge the shape.
• To nudge in even smaller increments, hold down the Ctrl key while you press the arrow keys.
• From the Drawing toolbar, choose Draw|Nudge and then choose either Up, Down, Left, or Right. You guessed right — the Nudge flyout menu can be dragged off to form a floating toolbar, as shown in Figure 5-13.
• To move the AutoShape around, just select and drag it anywhere on or off the slide.
• To move in a straight line, hold the Shift key and then select the AutoShape and drag it horizontally or vertically.

Figure 5-13: The Nudge toolbar.

Align

Before you align your AutoShapes, or any other element in a PowerPoint slide, make sure that the Align or Distribute toolbar (shown in Figure 5-14) is visible by choosing Draw|Align or Distribute and dragging the Align or Distribute menu's handle onto your work area. In PowerPoint, everything is on a toolbar!

Figure 5-14: The Align or Distribute toolbar.

Let us assume you have three AutoShapes on a slide. Select all three shapes (by clicking the first one and then Shift-clicking the other two) and click any of the six align icons on the Align or Distribute toolbar.

• Align Left: Aligns the left edge of all the AutoShapes. The leftmost AutoShape determines the left anchor. See the second column of AutoShapes in Figure 5-15.
• Align Center: Aligns all AutoShapes vertically along their centers. The anchor is determined by the median center of all the AutoShapes. See the first column of AutoShapes in Figure 5-15.
• Align Right: Aligns the right sides all the AutoShapes. The rightmost AutoShape determines the right anchor. See the third column of AutoShapes in Figure 5-15.
• Align Top: Aligns the tops of all AutoShapes. The topmost AutoShape determines the top anchor.
• Align Middle: Aligns all AutoShapes horizontally along their midlines. The anchor is determined by the median center of all the AutoShapes.
• Align Bottom: Aligns the bottoms of all the AutoShapes. The bottommost AutoShape determines the bottom anchor.

• Figure 5-15: Alignment samples.

Center an AutoShape

Follow these steps to center an AutoShape on a PowerPoint slide:

1. Select the AutoShape.
2. Make sure that the Relative to Slide option is selected in the Align or Distribute toolbar.
3. Click the Align Center and the Align Middle icons.

If you have installed AutoShape Magic (the PowerPoint add-in available on this book's CD), just select the AutoShape and click the Center icon.

Follow these steps if you need to center several AutoShapes on a PowerPoint slide without altering their distances from each other:

1. Select all the AutoShapes.
2. Group the AutoShapes. Choose Draw|Group in the Drawing toolbar.
3. Make sure that the Relative to Slide option is selected in the Align or Distribute toolbar.
4. Click the Align Center and the Align Middle buttons.
5. Ungroup the selected AutoShapes (if required) by choosing Draw|Ungroup in the Drawing toolbar.

If you have AutoShape Magic installed, just select the grouped AutoShapes and click the Center icon

Distribute

Distributing AutoShapes is a great way to make sure that they're perfectly lined up. For example, if you want a row of 12 evenly spaced stars, you use the Distribute command. Figure 5-16 illustrates how distributed AutoShapes look. Assume that you have three AutoShapes on a slide.

To distribute horizontally:

1. Place all three shapes beside each other.
2. Select the shapes and choose Draw|Align or Distribute|Distribute Horizontally.

To distribute vertically:

1. Place all three shapes one below the other.
2. Select the shapes and choose Draw|Align or Distribute|Distribute Vertically.

3. Figure 5-16: Distribute samples.

Order

Ordering brings your shapes behind or above each other. Select any shape and choose any of the four ordering options. These can be found in the Draw|Order option of the Drawing toolbar:

• Bring to Front: Moves the object in front of all objects on the slide.
• Send to Back: Moves the object behind all objects on the slide.
• Bring Forward: Moves the object up one layer.
• Send Backward: Moves the object down one layer.

The Order toolbar can be dragged off to spawn a standalone toolbar, as shown in Figure 5-17.

Figure 5-17: You decide which shapes are on top

Back

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