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Types of Shapes in PowerPoint 2016 for Mac

Learn about different types of shapes in PowerPoint 2016 for Mac.


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Product/Version: PowerPoint 2016 for Mac

OS: Mac OS X






What does the word “shape” mean to you? Do you imagine a square, a circle, a heart, or even a smiley face? Yes, all those are shapes, as are the hundreds of other recognizable outlines or figures that we call shapes in our daily conversations.

Shapes play a significant role within any slides you create for your PowerPoint presentation. In many ways, shapes are like the building blocks of almost anything you do on your PowerPoint slides. PowerPoint provides hundreds of shapes efficiently categorized into 9 types or categories. You can do so much with these shapes. For example, you can combine shapes to create your own unique shapes, format shapes with fills, lines, and effects, and even group or layer them to create more amazing graphics. You can even create flowcharts with these shapes. This tutorial explores the various types of shapes available within PowerPoint.

To look at these different types of shapes, choose the Insert tab (or even the Home tab) of the Ribbon, and click the Shapes button to bring up a gallery, as shown in Figure 1.

Shapes gallery
Figure 1: Shapes gallery

If you can't see all shape categories available within the Shapes gallery, use the scrollbar on the rightside, as shown in Figure 2, below.

More Shape categories in the Shapes gallery
Figure 2: More Shape categories in the Shapes gallery

PowerPoint 2016 for Mac sorts these different shape types into nine categories, as explained below:

  1. Lines: Straight and curved lines, with or without arrowheads (see Figure 3). Also, you'll find options to create freeform paths and scribbles. In addition, lines also work as connectors, which link individual shapes and other slide objects via straight, curved, or elbow branches.
  2. Lines
    Figure 3: Lines
  3. Tip: The first 9 line types also work as "connectors". These can be especially useful if you need to create flowcharts. For more info, explore our Using Flowchart and Connector Shapes Together tutorial.
  4. Rectangles: Other than the ubiquitous simple rectangle, PowerPoint provides several types of other rectangles including those with rounded and snipped corners (see Figure 4).
  5. Rectangles
    Figure 4: Rectangles
  6. Basic Shapes: Common shapes such as ovals, triangles, cubes, hearts, etc. (see Figure 5).
  7. Basic Shapes
    Figure 5: Basic Shapes
  8. Block Arrows: A comprehensive assortment of arrow shapes (see Figure 6).
  9. Block Arrows
    Figure 6: Block Arrows
  10. Equation Shapes: Common mathematical and equation symbols (see Figure 7).
  11. Equation Shapes
    Figure 7: Equation Shapes
  12. Flowchart: Several standard flowchart symbols such as Process, Decision, Data, etc. can be found within this category (see Figure 8).
  13. Flowchart
    Figure 8: Flowchart
  14. Tip: Learn more about various flowchart shapes in our Flowchart Symbols: What They Represent? tutorial.
  15. Stars and Banners: Stars with 4 until 32 points, explosions, scrolls, and banners (see Figure 9).
  16. Stars and Banners
    Figure 9: Stars and Banners
  17. Callouts: Provides speech and thought bubbles, and line callouts too (see Figure 10).
  18. Callouts
    Figure 10: Callouts
  19. Action Buttons: A special category of buttons that enables you to add push style buttons that allow you to add navigation between slides and other interactivity (see Figure 11).
  20. Action Buttons
    Figure 11: Action Buttons

Other than the categories mentioned above, the Shapes drop-down gallery also includes a Recently Used Shapes category right on top that lists any shapes that you use often (see Figure 12). All these shapes are also visible in their normal location in the Shapes drop-down gallery.

Recently Used Shapes
Figure 12: Recently Used Shapes

See Also:

Types of Shapes in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows
Types of Shapes in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Types of Shapes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac
Types of Shapes in PowerPoint 2010 and 2007 for Windows
Types of Shapes in PowerPoint Online

Pictures in Presentations

Is a picture is worth a thousand words? You probably have heard this adage so often that we decided not to repeat this phrase throughout this book! Now here’s some more info: the human brain uses a larger part of its area to store visual information rather than textual content. And that’s possibly because a picture describes so much more than text.

Go and get a copy of our Pictures in Presentations ebook.


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