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Select and Deselect Shapes in PowerPoint 2016 for Mac

Learn how to select and deselect single and multiple shapes in PowerPoint 2016 for Mac. You'll be surprised to know how you can use one of these techniques, or combine them to attain selection mastery.

Before you change or format something, PowerPoint expects you to first to make a selection, and then do something such as clicking a button to perform an action for the selected slide objects. If you cannot select an object, then you cannot modify it at all. Although this tutorial explains how you can select shapes on a slide, the process works the same way for any other slide object.

Select or Deselect a Single Shape

Just click a shape to select it. Figure 1 shows a single shape selected on the slide. To deselect the shape, click anywhere on the slide away from the shape, or + click (or Shift + click) on the selected shape.


Figure 1: A single shape selected on the slide

Select a Shape that's Behind Another Shape

To select a shape that's behind some other shape and not easily selected or visible, press the Tab key to search among all the objects on your slide until the shape you want is selected. If you pressed Tab quickly and missed selecting a shape, you can press Shift + Tab to reverse the entire tab selection process.

You can also use the Selection Pane to select.

Select or Deselect Multiple Shapes

To select more than one shape in PowerPoint 2016 for Mac, use any of these options:

  • Click a shape to select it, and then + click (or Shift + click) another shape to select it. Repeat the same process to select more shapes on the slide. Figure 2 shows two shapes have been selected.

  • Figure 2: Two shapes selected on the slide
  • Place your cursor on the blank area of the slide (area that has no selectable content), or even click on the area outside the slide. Then click and drag to draw a marquee with your cursor over the shapes you want to select, as shown in Figure 3. This works best when the shapes you want to select are placed fairly close to each other.

  • Figure 3: Draw a marquee over the shapes to select them


  • Press + A to select all the slide objects on the slide then deselect the ones that are not shapes which you don't want to be the part of the selection. To do that press Ctrl + click (or Shift + click) on unwanted objects to deselect them (see Figure 4). This works best if you have a slide with many shapes and a title. Since + A also selects the title, you can thereafter deselect the title so that the selection is limited to shapes on the slide.

  • Figure 4: Slide with all shapes selected except a single deselected shape
  • You can use the Selection Pane to make an accurate selection, as explained in another tutorial.

See Also:

Selecting Shapes: Select and Deselect Shapes in PowerPoint (Index Page)

Select and Deselect Shapes in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows
Select and Deselect Shapes in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Select and Deselect Shapes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac
Select and Deselect Shapes in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows