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Drawing Parabolas in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows

Learn how to draw a parabola in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows. All you need to do is use the Curve tool.

Several previous tutorials have explored the different drawing tools in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows, and how they work, we have worked with line drawing tools such as line, curve, freeform, and scribble. Using these line tools, you can draw almost anything in PowerPoint that you normally draw in high-end illustration programs. In this tutorial, you will learn how you can draw a parabola in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows using some of these drawing tools.

First of all, what is a parabola? Technically, it is a conic section but to make it easier for you, we'll ask you to visualize the McDonald's logo with just one conic section rather than two—you can see a representation of a parabola in Figure 1.


Figure 1: A parabola



To draw a parabola in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows, follow these steps:

  1. Launch PowerPoint 2013 for Windows. Within the Presentation Gallery, select the Blank Presentation. PowerPoint will open a new slide, you can change the slide layout to Blank by selecting the Home tab | Layout | Blank option.
  2. Within the View tab of the Ribbon, select the Guides check-box (highlighted in red within Figure 2).

  3. Figure 2: Guides check-box selected
  4. Tip: Learn more about guides in our Guides in PowerPoint 2013 tutorial.
  5. This will show the guides on the slide, as shown in Figure 3. The default guides (one horizontal and one vertical guide) work fine for us—so don't worry too much about adding more guides now.

  6. Figure 3: Guides showing on the slide
  7. Within the Home or Insert tab of the Ribbon, click the Shapes button to view the Shapes drop-down gallery that you can see in Figure 4. Select the Curve shape.

  8. Figure 4: Curve selected
  9. Your cursor will turn into a crosshair. To establish the starting point of the parabola, place the cursor on the position of the horizontal guide, as shown in Figure 5.

  10. Figure 5: Set the starting point for the parabola
  11. Then click the primary mouse button once and move the cursor towards the top-right direction until you encounter the vertical guide, as shown in Figure 6. Now, click on the vertical guide to establish the top point of your parabola.

  12. Figure 6: Click on the vertical guide to establish the top point of your parabola
  13. Now move the cursor towards the bottom-right of the top point you created and place the cursor on the horizontal guide, as shown in Figure 7. So that the starting and the ending points of your parabola are on the same horizontal guide.

  14. Figure 7: Place the cursor on the horizontal guide to create the endpoint of your parabola
  15. Double click to finish the drawing of your parabola. You'll know your double-click worked if your parabola shows up with selection handles (see Figure 8).

  16. Figure 8: Completed parabola
  17. To edit the parabola, right-click on it to bring up the contextual menu you can see in Figure 9. From this menu choose the Edit Points option.

  18. Figure 9: Edit Points option selected
  19. Now you can play with vertexes (points), handles, etc. Learn more in our Edit Points for Shapes in PowerPoint 2013 tutorial.
  20. You can also change the line thickness of your parabola, or change its line color, as required.
  21. Save your presentation often.

See Also:

Drawing Parabolas in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac
Drawing Parabolas in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows