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Convert Text to Shapes by Fragmenting in PowerPoint 2016 for Mac

Learn how to convert PowerPoint text into individual, editable shapes using the Fragment command in PowerPoint 2016 for Mac.


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Product/Version: PowerPoint 2016 for Mac

OS: Mac OS X






PowerPoint enables you to use its repertoire of Shapes to create some amazing artwork. Further, the Merge Shape commands allow you to create complex shapes by merging several simple shapes. Additionally, these options also let you convert your text to shapes so that you can see the text even on a computer that does not have a particular font installed.

We already showed you how you can convert an entire text box to one shape using the Intersect command. If you start with a conventional text box, as shown on the top of the slide in Figure 1, you will end up creating a single shape from your entire text box, as shown in the middle. However, if you want your resultant shapes to be individual for each character, as shown at the bottom of the slide shown in Figure 1, then you will need to use the Fragment option, as explained in this tutorial.

Intersect or Fragment your text to make shapes
Figure 1: Intersect or Fragment your text to make shapes

Follow these steps to learn how to convert text into individual editable shapes through fragmenting in PowerPoint 2016 for Mac:

  1. Insert a new text box on your slide and type in some text. Change the font type and font size, the font color, and any other attributes. Alternatively, select any existing text box on your slide, as shown in Figure 2, below.
  2. Text box selected on a slide
    Figure 2: Text box selected on a slide
  3. Note: This technique only works with text boxes, and not text placeholders. Do not know the difference? Explore our Text Placeholders vs. Text Boxes in PowerPoint 2016 for Mac article. If your source text is within a text placeholder, there's an easy solution. Select your text placeholder and copy it. Then paste immediately within the same slide. The pasted copy is now a text box. Select this text box, and follow the remaining steps of this tutorial. You might want to delete your original text placeholder because it might get in the way while selecting the text box, but that’s entirely optional.
  4. Insert a shape (we choose a Rectangle) on your slide. Make sure that it overlaps your Text Box in a way that covers it completely, as shown in Figure 3.
  5. Rectangle shape being drawn over the text box
    Figure 3: Rectangle shape being drawn over the text box
  6. Once the Rectangle shape is placed, reorder the Rectangle shape by sending it behind the existing text box, as shown in Figure 4.
  7. Text Box above Rectangle shape
    Figure 4: Text Box above Rectangle shape
  8. Now, carefully select the text box and then select the Rectangle shape. It's important that you select the text box first since the output shape will take the format of whatever is selected first.
  9. Once your selections are done, access the Shape Format contextual tab of the Ribbon as shown in Figure 5, and click the Merge Shapes button (highlighted in blue within Figure 5). This brings up the Merge Shapes drop-down gallery, as shown in Figure 5. Within the Merge Shapes drop-down gallery click the Fragment option.
  10. Merge Shapes button
    Figure 5: Merge Shapes button
  11. Once the Fragment option is applied, select all shapes by pressing +A to see multiple, small shapes, as you can see in Figure 6.
  12. Result after applying the Fragment option
    Figure 6: Result after applying the Fragment option
  13. Note: Do note that with characters that have disconnected shape elements such as the extra dots over i or j, or even the accents and other signs in foreign language text – these will end up as two shapes.
  14. Now, select the extra shapes individually such as the outer box and small circles within characters such as g, o, a, etc. You can see that the "o", as shown in Figure 7 has a circle within itself.
  15. Extra shapes selected
    Figure 7: Extra shapes selected
  16. Delete these extra shapes to end up with individual shapes for each character, as shown in Figure 8.
  17. Converted individual shapes
    Figure 8: Converted individual shapes
  18. To determine that these are indeed individual shapes that can be edited, select any one of the shapes. Right-click (or Ctrl+click) to bring up the context menu that you can see in Figure 9, below.
  19. Edit Points option to be selected
    Figure 9: Edit Points option to be selected
  20. Now, within this menu, choose the Edit Points option so that you see all the points (vertexes) on the converted character, as shown in Figure 10.
  21. Edit Points reassures you that individual characters have indeed been converted to shapes
    Figure 10: Edit Points reassures you that individual characters have indeed been converted to shapes
  22. Tip: Want to convert your entire text box to a single shape rather than ending up with individual shapes for each character? Look at our Convert Text to Shape by Intersecting in PowerPoint 2016 for Mac tutorial. Why would you then create individual shapes? That's because you can then animate these individual shapes. You can also create fascinating graphics using dingbat fonts.
  23. Make sure you save your presentation often.

See Also:

Convert Text to Shapes by Fragmenting in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows
Convert Text to Shapes by Fragmenting in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows

PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences:
PowerPoint 2016, 2013, 2011, 2010, 2007 and 2003 for Windows
PowerPoint 2016 and 2011 for Mac
PowerPoint Online for Windows and Mac

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 ebook.


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