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Merge Shape Commands in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows

Explore the Merge Shape commands in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows. These commands allow you to create your own shapes in PowerPoint easily.


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Product/Version: PowerPoint 2013 for Windows

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 and higher






For many users, the Merge Shape commands may be assumed as a new feature in PowerPoint 2013. However these were available in PowerPoint 2010 through the Combine Shapes commands. Yes, these were not available by default from any of the Ribbon tabs in PowerPoint 2010, but you could customize the QAT to get these commands. In PowerPoint 2013, Microsoft gave the new Merge Shapes name to these commands and also gave them a place right within the Ribbon. And now, these commands are no longer limited to shapes as they also work with text and pictures.

Accessing the Merge Shape Commands

  1. To access the Merge Shape commands you first need to insert some shapes on your PowerPoint slide. In this example we inserted a Rectangle and a Circle -- make sure you place the shapes in a way so that they overlap each other, as shown in Figure 1.
  2. Two overlapped shapes
    Figure 1: Two overlapped shapes
  3. When the shapes are selected, you will see the Drawing Tools Format tab on the Ribbon (highlighted in red within Figure 2). Make sure that this contextual tab is activated.
  4. Drawing Tools Format tab
    Figure 2: Drawing Tools Format tab
  5. 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.
  6. Within the Drawing Tools Format tab, locate the Insert Shapes group and click the Merge Shapes button (highlighted in red within Figure 3). This brings up the Merge Shapes drop-down gallery (highlighted in blue within Figure 3).
  7. Merge Shapes drop-down gallery
    Figure 3: Merge Shapes drop-down gallery

These five Merge Shapes options work in different ways (see Figure 4) – we will show you how these commands work in our tutorial pages linked below:

  1. Union
  2. Combine
  3. Fragment (new in PowerPoint 2013)
  4. Intersect
  5. Subtract
  • Merge Shapes get you various, differing outputs
    Figure 4: Merge Shapes get you various, differing outputs
  • Additionally, you can now also merge shapes with text and pictures, as explained in the following tutorials:

    1. Convert Text to Shapes by Intersecting in PowerPoint 2013
    2. Convert Text to Shapes by Fragmenting in PowerPoint 2013
    3. Merge Shapes with Pictures in PowerPoint 2013

    See Also:

    Text in Shapes: Text Within Shapes in PowerPoint (Index Page)

    Merge Shape Commands in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows
    Merge Shape Commands in PowerPoint 2016 for Mac
    Merge Shape Commands in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

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