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Drawing Multiple Shapes Quickly in PowerPoint 2013

Learn how to use the Lock Drawing Mode option to quickly draw multiple instances of the same shape in PowerPoint 2013.


Product/Version: Microsoft PowerPoint 2013
OS: Windows 7 and 8

Sometimes you need to draw multiple shapes of the same type on a slide, maybe a hundred smiley faces on one slide, or even a hundred stars on a dark blue slide, as you can see in Figure 1 below.

Multiple Stars on a dark blue slide
Figure 1: Multiple Stars on a dark blue slide

Yes, we can do that in PowerPoint by duplicating existing shapes but when did you see a night sky where each star was the exact same size? So that leaves out the Ctrl+dragging and Ctrl+D duplicating tricks, since every shape that's exactly the same in size as the other certainly does not look organic.

Yes, we are back to inserting single shapes on the slide! Essentially, you select a shape from the Shapes gallery, and then draw your shape -- then revisit the Shapes gallery again to select that same shape again, and redraw another instance. Yes, that means a hundred trips to the Shapes gallery, and drawing on the slide as many times -- there has to be an easier way. Indeed there is an option to make things simpler -- and it is called the Lock Drawing Mode option. To see how this option makes the task of drawing organic looking shapes a lot easier and faster, follow these steps:

  1. Access the Shapes drop-down gallery from the Home or Insert tabs of the Ribbon -- decide upon the shape you want to draw, as shown in Figure 2.

    Decide upon a shape
    Figure 2: Decide upon a shape

  2. Now don't click on the shape you want yet -- rather, right click the shape and choose the Lock Drawing Mode option from the resultant menu (shown highlighted in red within Figure 3). This will make the selected shape "sticky", as in you won't have to go back to the Shapes gallery again once you're done drawing a shape.

    Lock Drawing Mode option
    Figure 3: Lock Drawing Mode option

  3. Draw as many instances of the selected shape as you want on the slide. Figure 4 shows the selected Smiley Face shape has been drawn on the slide multiple times in different sizes.

    Tip: Hold the Shift key to draw the shape proportionately.

    Draw several instances of the same shape
    Figure 4: Draw several instances of the same shape

  4. Once you are done with drawing the number of shapes you want, you can disable the Lock Drawing Mode option by pressing the Esc key.

Tip: Did you end up drawing multiple instances of a shape only to realize that another shape would have been more apt? You don't have to start all over again -- just change your existing shapes to a new type.

See Also:

Drawing Multiple Shapes Quickly in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows


PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences:
PowerPoint 2013, 2011, 2010, 2007 and 2003

Have your ever used keyboard shortcuts and sequences in PowerPoint? Or are you a complete keyboard aficionado? Do you want to learn about some new shortcuts? Or do you want to know if your favorite keyboard shortcuts are documented?

Go and get a copy of our PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences E-Book.

PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences E-book


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