Shapes are the building blocks of most of the content you create in PowerPoint. In fact, even a text box that you add to your slide is essentially a shape with a No Fill attribute. Once you get proficient with shapes, you can do so much more. For example, you can combine multiple shapes to create fancier shapes. However, you need to start with the very basics, and there's so much to learn even at this foundation level. The first task you need to do is to insert a shape. Fortunately, PowerPoint makes it easy to do this task.
Follow these steps to insert shapes in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows:
- Launch PowerPoint and you will see the Presentation Gallery. Here, select Blank Presentation option to create a blank presentation with a new slide. The resultant slide will most certainly include Title and Content placeholders, but you can have an entirely blank slide. To do so, change the Slide Layout to Blank by selecting the Home tab. Then, click the Layout button and choose the Blank option in the resultant gallery. You will end up with a blank slide, as shown in Figure 1, below.
Figure 1: Slide with Blank layout
- Now, access the Insert tab of the Ribbon, and click the Shapes button to bring up the Shapes drop-down gallery, as shown in Figure 2, below.
Figure 2: Shapes drop-down gallery
- The Shapes drop-down gallery can also be accessed from the Home tab. If you see no Shapes button on this tab, you might find a part of the Shapes gallery already visible in the tab, as shown in Figure 3, below. To see the entire drop-down Shapes gallery, click the More button, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 3.
Figure 3: Access the Shapes gallery from the Home tab
- Within the Shapes drop-down gallery, PowerPoint provides options to choose shapes from several categories such as Lines, Rectangles, Basic Shapes, Block Arrows, Stars and Banners, Callouts, etc. Learn more about shape types in our Types of Shapes in PowerPoint 2016 tutorial. For now, choose any Shape by clicking on it. Thereafter use any of these options to place an instance of the Shape on your slide:
- Click anywhere on the slide to add the Shape in a predefined size (typically 1 inch x 1 inch), as shown in Figure 4, below.
Figure 4: Shape placed on the slide
- Alternatively, click and do not let go of the primary button on your mouse (or other input device). Continue dragging until you create a large enough shape on your slide, as shown in Figure 5, below.
Figure 5: Draw a shape as large or small as you want
- Hold the Shift key while dragging to constrain the height and width proportions. Hold the Ctrl key to draw a Shape from the center. You can also draw while holding both the Ctrl and Shift keys.
- You can similarly insert as many shapes as you want. Save your presentation often.
Shapes Gallery from Home and Insert Tabs
1. Click to place
2. Click and drag to place
Use the Shift and Ctrl Modifier Keys
PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts
Do you want more keyboard shortcuts?
Explore our PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences Ebook that is updated for all PowerPoint versions.
06 01 02 - Basics About Shapes: Insert Shapes in PowerPoint (Glossary Page)
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