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Group, Ungroup, and Regroup Shapes in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows

Learn how to group, ungroup, and regroup shapes in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows. You can also use convenient keyboard shortcuts.


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Product/Version: PowerPoint 2016 for Windows

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 and higher






So what exactly does grouping mean? And what is ungrouping and regrouping going to do further? The moment you select a slide object such as a shape on a PowerPoint slide, you will see some selection handles, which indicates that the shape is selected. Select another shape while the first one is still selected and you see two sets of selection handles. If you need to similarly select many shapes on a slide fairly often, this sort of selection may become cumbersome and waste so much time. In that case, it's best you select all the shapes you need to work with, and then combine them into one "group" of shapes.

There are several reasons to group shapes and other slide objects:

  • You may want to animate several slide objects. Rather than selecting each of them individually and then animate them, you can select them all together as a group and animate them. This is a great approach if you want to apply the same animation effect to all shapes, but works best for some animation effects, and not for all.
  • Grouping also helps in rotating few shapes placed next to each other to a certain angle -- at times like these, you'll be happy to know that grouping lets you rotate all these shapes at one go.

Once you no longer need your shapes to be grouped, then ungrouping and regrouping shapes will also help you to a large extent. PowerPoint 2016 for Windows makes it simple to do these tasks. Let us explore the differences between these three tasks:

  1. Grouping is the process of making a single selection of a disparate or similar set of slide objects, so that when you select it again, you end up selecting the entire group rather than a single object. A group has a single set of selection and rotation handles (compare the individual elements on the left of Figure 1 to the unified, single group on the right).
  2. Individual shapes (left) and the same shapes within a group (right)
    Figure 1: Individual shapes (left) and the same shapes within a group (right)
  3. Ungrouping: Lets you break up a grouped object back into individual objects. If we were to ungroup the object to the right of Figure 1 (see above), it would result in looking like the set of objects shown towards the left of the same Figure 1.
  4. Regrouping: Sometimes, you need to ungroup an object just so that you can make one small change to a particular slide object. Regrouping remembers whatever objects comprised the original group, and reconstitutes the original group without you having to select all individual slide objects all over again.

Grouping Shapes

Select shapes (or any other slide objects) that you want to group in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows. Then follow any one of these three alternative processes:

  1. Right click the selection carefully, and then choose the Group | Group option from the resultant menu, as shown in Figure 2.
  2. Grouping shapes
    Figure 2: Grouping shapes
  3. You can also group shapes by pressing the Ctrl + G shortcut key.
  4. PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts

    PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts

    Do you want more keyboard shortcuts?

    Explore our PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences Ebook that is updated for all PowerPoint versions.

  5. You'll also find the Group option on the Home tab of the Ribbon. Click the Arrange button to bring up a drop-down gallery, and in this gallery select the Group option.

Once the shapes are grouped, you can change the attributes for them as a single grouped entity as required. For example, if you rotate an entire group, all individual objects in that group will rotate together as a single object. Look at Figure 3, where you can see individual shapes rotated 45 degrees each (look at unrotated stage in Figure 1). Compare this with the group on the right which was also rotated by 45 degrees, you'll see that the rotation on the right looks much more predictable.

Rotation of 45 degrees applied to individual shapes (on the left) and a group (on the right)
Figure 3: Rotation of 45 degrees applied to individual shapes (on the left) and a group (on the right)

Ungrouping Shapes

Select the group you want to ungroup. Then follow any of these three alternative options:

  1. Right click the group carefully to get the resultant menu shown in Figure 4, and then choose the Group | Ungroup option.
  2. Ungroup option selected
    Figure 4: Ungroup option selected
  3. You can also ungroup shapes by pressing the Ctrl + Shift + G shortcut key.
  4. You'll also find the Ungroup option on the Home tab of the Ribbon. Click the Arrange button to bring up a drop-down gallery. In this gallery, select the Ungroup option.

Regrouping Shapes

To regroup (reconstitute) any hitherto ungrouped group, select any one of the shapes within a previous group. Thereafter follow any of these two alternative processes:

  1. Right click the selected shape carefully and then choose the Group | Regroup option from the resultant menu, as shown in Figure 5.
  2. Regroup to reconstitute your ungrouped group
    Figure 5: Regroup to reconstitute your ungrouped group
  3. In addition, you'll also find the Regroup option on the Home tab of the Ribbon. Click the Arrange button to bring up a drop-down gallery that contains the Regroup option.
  4. Tip: Are the Ungroup and Regroup options grayed out? Remember, Ungroup is only available when the selected object is a group. Similarly, Regroup is only available as an option if any selected shape or slide object was part of a previously constituted group.
  5. Save your presentation often.

See Also:

Group, Nudge, and Reorder Shapes: Group, Ungroup, and Regroup Shapes in PowerPoint (Index Page)

Group, Ungroup, and Regroup Shapes in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Group, Ungroup, and Regroup Shapes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac
Group, Ungroup, and Regroup Shapes in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows

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