You learned how to duplicate shapes by dragging in an earlier tutorial, but while that's a nice way to duplicate five or ten shapes, it's not the best way to create ten, twenty, or more copies. We all know that you can press Ctrl + C to copy any shape in PowerPoint to the clipboard, and a resulting Ctrl + V always pastes a copy from the clipboard to the slide. What many people don't realize is PowerPoint has this almost supernatural keyboard shortcut called Ctrl + D (yes, the D stands for duplicate), and this Ctrl + D shortcut does more than just let you achieve two shortcuts with one by duplicating; in fact it creates a pattern of evenly-spaced and symmetrical shapes! Follow these steps to explore more in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows:
- Select the shape you want to duplicate, as shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1: Select the shape
- Press Ctrl + D to create a duplicate of the selected shape. Figure 2 shows the duplicate shape created and placed overlapping the original, circle.
Figure 2: Duplicate instance of a circle created
- At this point of time, avoid using your mouse altogether. Since the duplicate shape will be selected as soon as it was created, any nudges you make to the shape by pressing the arrow keys on your keyboard should work. Nudge multiple times in various directions until you are happy with the spacing between the original shape, and the duplicated one (see Figure 3).
Figure 3: Adjust the placement of your duplicate shape
- Now press Ctrl + D repetitively to build the pattern. The next duplicate shapes will retain the spacing and direction between the first two shapes, as you can see in Figure 4.
Figure 4: Evenly-spaced duplicates are created
- You can similarly create other patterns. In fact you can also select two or more shapes and then cause both those shapes to create a pattern, as shown in Figure 5, below.
Figure 5: Multiple shapes duplicated
- Save your presentation often.
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