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Align and Distribute Pictures in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows

Learn to align and distribute pictures in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows. This positioning of slide objects makes your content look professionally designed.


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Product/Version: PowerPoint 2010 for Windows

OS: Microsoft Windows XP and higher



Learn PowerPoint

Do you face this issue? Numbering slides from 1, multiple times in PowerPoint.



Whichever slide objects you place on your PowerPoint slide, their position and alignment matters a lot, be it shapes or even the many inserted pictures. In the example shown in Figure 1, you can see three pictures just randomly placed on the slide. In some cases, such a haphazard arrangement may work, but most of the time you will have to align objects in a proper way on your slide. Even before you align the pictures, you should explore whether all the pictures are the same size or not? We have already explained how you can resize pictures in our Resize, Rotate, and Flip Pictures tutorial.

Unaligned and undistributed pictures on the slide
Figure 1: Unaligned and undistributed pictures on the slide

We first resized all pictures so that they have the same height, as shown in Figure 2. We choose to give them the same height since we plan on aligning these pictures horizontally. If you plan on aligning pictures vertically, you will similarly want to make sure that they have the same width.

Unaligned and undistributed pictures resized to attain same height
Figure 2: Unaligned and undistributed pictures resized to attain same height

Thereafter, all pictures were aligned to the middle, and distributed horizontally, as shown in Figure 3, below. Finally we inserted a shape (a rectangle), and sent it back so that it was placed behind the pictures.

Pictures aligned to the middle of the slide, and thereafter horizontally distributed
Figure 3: Pictures aligned to the middle of the slide, and thereafter horizontally distributed

As you can see, the slide in Figure 3 looks more organized and interesting than the slide you saw in Figure 1. PowerPoint includes align and distribute options for all slide objects. In this tutorial, let's learn how to align and distribute pictures:

Aligning Pictures

  1. Open your presentation, and navigate to the slide which contains the pictures to be aligned. Select all the pictures you want to align.
  2. This brings up the Picture Tools Format tab on the Ribbon (highlighted in red within Figure 4). Make sure that this contextual tab is activated. Now, locate the Arrange group within the Picture Tools Format tab, and click the Align button which is highlighted in blue within Figure 4.
  3. Align button within Picture Tools Format tab
    Figure 4: Align button within Picture Tools Format tab
  4. Note: The Picture Tools Format tab is a Contextual tab. These contextual 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.
  5. Doing so opens the Align drop-down gallery, as shown in Figure 5.

  6. Align drop-down gallery
    Figure 5: Align drop-down gallery
  7. Among the Align options that you see in Figure 5, the Align Left, Align Center, and Align Right options work well with the pictures that are to be aligned vertically on the slide. Similarly, the Align Top, Align Middle, and Align Bottom options are suitable for pictures which are to be aligned horizontally on the slide.
  8. To explore more about how the Align options work, refer to our Align Shapes tutorial. Although the linked tutorial explains how to align shapes, the same techniques work with pictures or any other slide objects.

Align Pictures to the Center of the Slide

Sometimes, you may want to align just one picture to the exact center of the slide. Fortunately, that is as easy to achieve as well:

  1. Select the picture to be aligned on the slide.
  2. Then, open the Align drop-down gallery following the same procedure as explained in Step 2 of the preceding Aligning Pictures section.
  3. Within the Align drop-down gallery, make sure that the Align to Slide option is selected. This selection is indicated by a check mark as shown highlighted in red within Figure 6. Then, click both the Align Center and the Align Middle options (highlighted in blue within Figure 6) one after the other.
  4. Align to Slide option selected in the Align or Distribute drop-down gallery
    Figure 6: Align to Slide option selected in the Align and Distribute drop-down gallery
  5. This will position the picture to the exact center of the slide.

Group and Align?

If you have several pictures which you want to align to the center of the slide, and also retain their spacing, then first group them. Then select the group and then follow the same procedure explained in the Align Pictures to the Center of the Slide section. Note that grouping of pictures makes them one slide object rather than multiple slide objects. To learn more, explore our Group, Ungroup, and Regroup Shapes tutorial. Do note that the linked tutorial uses shapes as examples for grouping, but the same techniques work for all slide objects including pictures.

Distribute Pictures

There are two Distribute options available for pictures as well as all other slide objects in PowerPoint which are used to distribute the selected picture so that there is equal spacing between them. These options are Distribute Horizontally and Distribute Vertically, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 7.

Distribute options within the Align drop-down gallery
Figure 7: Distribute options within the Align drop-down gallery

Distribute Horizontally

This option is used on the pictures placed side by side. This option distributes the selected pictures equally on a horizontal plane so that the space between all of them is equal.

Distribute Vertically

This option is used on the pictures that are placed vertically, above and below each other. This option distributes the selected pictures equally on a vertical plane so that the space between all of them is equal.

To explore more about how the Distribute options work, refer to our Distribute Shapes tutorial. This tutorial explains how to align shapes, but the same techniques work with other slide objects including pictures.


See Also:

Pictures - Position and Order: Align and Distribute Pictures (Glossary Page)

Align and Distribute Pictures in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows
Align and Distribute Pictures in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Align and Distribute Pictures in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

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