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Creating Curved Shapes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

Learn how to create curved shapes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac. You can create a curved shape by dragging just one or two points.


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Product/Version: PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

OS: Mac OS X





In PowerPoint, you are provided with an extensive array of built-in shapes that help you create great looking graphics for your slides. PowerPoint shapes can be manipulated by dragging their diamond handles and also by combining them. But at times, you may not achieve the exact appearance you want. For instance, you might want a little curve in your shape edges rather than conventional straight lines. PowerPoint does allow you to tweak and make the shape on your slide look more organic than geometric curved lines, as explained in the following steps in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac:

  1. Open any existing presentation or create a new one in PowerPoint 2011. Then add a new slide and select the slide and change its layout to Blank.
  2. To make the curve more accurately, we need to have Gridlines visible on the slide. But since PowerPoint 2011 doesn't provide you with the Gridlines option, you need to find a workaround. Start with making Guides visible on the slide. Add more horizontal and vertical Guides equidistant from each other to form a set of lines looking like Gridlines, as shown in Figure 1.
  3. Guides added in PowerPoint 2011
    Figure 1: Guides added in PowerPoint 2011
  4. Note that if you click anywhere near a guide, it will get selected. This is going to create a problem, because, we need to establish the starting point for the shape at a point where horizontal and vertical Guides meet. Also, later we need to select various vertexes and selection handles on the shape that may overlap the Guides. Since we are not supposed to alter any of the Guides, first we need to create our own set of horizontal and vertical lines in the place of Guides, as shown in Figure 2. Then, hide the Guides.
  5. Horizontal and Vertical lines added to replace the Guides
    Figure 2: Horizontal and Vertical lines added to replace the Guides
  6. You can also group these lines into a single object and reduce the transparency to make them look subtle, as shown in Figure 3.
  7. Lines with reduced transparency
    Figure 3: Lines with reduced transparency
  8. Now insert a shape within a section of the Gridlines. We inserted a Rectangle shape as shown in Figure 4.
  9. Rectangle inserted on the slide
    Figure 4: Rectangle inserted on the slide
  10. Make sure that the Rectangle (or the shape you created) is selected. Right-click (or Ctrl + click) the shape and from the context menu select Edit Points option, as shown in Figure 5.
  11. Edit Points option
    Figure 5: Edit Points option
  12. This makes four small black squared points (vertexes) appear on the outline of the Rectangle, as shown in Figure 6. The number of vertexes that appear may be different depending on the shape you have selected. These vertexes mark a point on your shape's outline that denotes an extremity of a curve or a line segment, or even the start and end point of an open shape.
  13. Vertexes appear on the Rectangle
    Figure 6: Vertexes appear on the Rectangle
  14. Locate the line segment which you want to change into a curve, and click on any one of its corner vertexes to show one or two blue handles (lines emanating from the vertex). In Figure 7 you can see that the bottom left vertex has been selected. These handles alter the degree of the curve or line on either side of the vertex in relation to the next vertex along the line.
  15. Handles appear when you select a vertex
    Figure 7: Handles appear when you select a vertex
  16. Click the white square on the handle placed on the outline to select it, and drag this handle upwards towards the shape, or outwards as required. In Figure 8 you can see that the handle is being dragged towards the top of the shape.
  17. Handle dragged up
    Figure 8: Handle dragged up
  18. Now, select the vertex on the other corner of the outline to access the same kind of blue handles. Click the handle (white square) on the outline to select it and drag it as required. In Figure 9 you can see that the handle is being dragged away from the shape.
  19. Handle dragged away from the shape
    Figure 9: Handle dragged away from the shape
  20. This converts the straight line of your Rectangle (or any other shape) into a curved line. (see Figure 10). Your shape is no longer a rectangle.
  21. Straight line converted to curved line
    Figure 10: Straight line converted to curved line
  22. Once you are done, delete the lines you inserted earlier to provide Gridlines effect. Now, with your shape suitably curved, you can now change its appearance further by resizing or rotating. You can also change the shape's fill and line attributes, and also apply an effect.

See Also:

Drawing Common Shapes: Creating Curved Shapes in PowerPoint (Index Page)

Creating Curved Shapes in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Creating Curved Shapes in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows

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