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 so many ways, shapes are like the building blocks of almost anything you do on your PowerPoint slides. PowerPoint 2016 for Windows provides hundreds of shapes efficiently categorized into 9 types. 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. Then, click the Shapes button to bring up a drop-down gallery, as shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1: Shapes drop-down gallery
PowerPoint 2016 sorts these different shape types into nine categories, as explained below:
Straight and curved lines, with or without arrowheads (see Figure 2). 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.
Figure 2: Lines
Other than the ubiquitous simple rectangle, PowerPoint provides several types of other rectangles including those with rounded and snipped corners (see Figure 3).
Figure 3: Rectangles
Common shapes such as ovals, triangles, cubes, hearts, etc. (see Figure 4).
Figure 4: Basic Shapes
A comprehensive assortment of arrow shapes (see Figure 5).
Figure 5: Block Arrows
Common mathematical and equation symbols (see Figure 6).
Figure 6: Equation Shapes
Several standard flowchart symbols such as Process, Decision, Data, etc. can be found within this category (see Figure 7).
Figure 7: Flowchart
Stars and Banners
Stars with 4 until 32 points, explosions, scrolls, and banners (see Figure 8).
Figure 8: Stars and Banners
Provides speech and thought bubbles, and line callouts too (see Figure 9).
Figure 9: Callouts
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 10).
Figure 10: 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 11). All these shapes are also visible in their normal location in the Shapes drop-down gallery.
Figure 11: Recently Used Shapes
Types of Shapes in PowerPoint 2016 for Mac
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