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Shape Fragment Command in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows

Learn how you can fragment shapes in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows. The Shape Fragment command create new shapes from existing shapes that overlap or surround each other.

PowerPoint 2016 for Windows provides five options within the Merge Shape gallery. While four of the five options either remove or retain something, the fifth option known as Fragment finds common ground by keeping everything. Yes, it discards nothing at all. In fact, it "fragments" each possible division caused by overlapping shapes and turns them into many small shapes.

You can see examples of the Fragment option in play within Figure 1, below. The three examples on the top area of the slide are separate shapes placed over each other. The shapes that you see at the bottom of the slide are the same shapes with the Fragment option applied— resulting in a multiple, small shapes.

Figure 1: Fragment option creates smaller shapes

Now you really cannot make out the small shapes within Figure 1 above, since all the fragmented shapes are placed bordering each other. So we spread out all the new shapes created using the Fragment option in Figure 2, below. The graphic on the left is the result of using the Fragment option, and the the graphic on the right shows the shapes separated apart so that you can see them all individually.

Figure 2: Fragmented shapes, separated

Here's another example: we placed three basic Circle shapes overlapping each other as shown towards the left of Figure 3, below. With these shapes selected, we could use the Fragment command that we explain later in this tutorial to create individual shapes from overlapped area as shown towards the right in Figure 3.

Figure 3: Sample showing use of the Fragment command

Once you finish reading this tutorial, do view the sample presentations embedded on the bottom of this page to see more samples of shapes that use the Fragment command.

Follow these steps to learn more in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows:

  1. Select any two or more shapes as shown in Figure 4. With these shapes selected, access the Drawing Tools Format tab on the Ribbon (highlighted in red within Figure 4).

  2. Figure 4: Drawing Tools Format tab
  3. Note: The Drawing Tools Format tab is a Contextual tab. These tabs are special tabs in the Ribbon that are not visible all the time. They only make an appearance when you are working with a particular slide object which can be edited using special options.
  4. Within the Drawing Tools Format tab, click the Merge Shapes button (highlighted in red within Figure 5). This brings up the Merge Shapes drop-down gallery (highlighted in blue within Figure 5).

  5. Figure 5: Merge Shapes drop-down gallery
  6. Within the Merge Shapes drop-down gallery, hover the cursor over Fragment option to see a Live Preview of how the shapes will look when fragmented, as shown in Figure 6. Click the Fragment option so that the selected shapes are cut out as individual shapes.

  7. Figure 6: Previously selected shapes are fragmented
  8. Save your presentation often.

Do remember these guidelines for any tasks that involve the usage of this command. The Fragment command:

  • Creates new shapes from overlapping area of shapes
  • Creates new shapes from in-between empty areas
  • Retains as shapes any areas that do not overlap
  • Subtracts nothing
  • Retains formatting of first selected shape
Activity: Do experiment with various shapes that are formatted with fills of different colors. Select one of the shapes, and then individually select other shapes and click the Fragment command. You will notice that the fragmented shape takes the formatting of the shape selected first.

The sample presentations below show how we used different shapes placed next to and above each other, and then fragmented.

Click below to view this presentation on SlideShare

Click below to view this presentation on YouTube

See Also:

Marge Shapes: Shape Fragment Command in PowerPoint (Index Page)

Shape Fragment Command in PowerPoint 2016 for Mac
Shape Fragment Command in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows