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Align Shapes in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows

Learn how to align shapes in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows. Placing slide objects properly-aligned will help create an aesthetic slide.

We am a great believer in creative freedom, and unrequired alignment of slide objects such as shapes is probably as bad a design decision as aligning nothing at all. In the end, every decision to align needs to stem from your creative thoughts. Sometimes it works, and some other times, an unaligned bunch of shapes looks perfectly natural and organic, as you can see in the two different examples shown in Figure 1. Look closely again at Figure 1, and you'll tend to agree that the bunch of circles on the right seems to follow a natural S curve and aligning them all in the same straight line would not benefit at all. On the other hand, the bunch of rounded rectangles on the left certainly benefits from being aligned in a straight line.


Figure 1: Alignment works great many times, but is better not done at other times.

Also, remember that alignment works with more than just shapes, and you can also combine shapes with other slide objects and align them all together. Now for those times when you place shapes on a PowerPoint slide anywhere you want, and then you need these shapes to be arranged in a straight line—follow these steps to learn more in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows:

  1. Select all the shapes which you want to align.
  2. Access the Home tab of the Ribbon, and click the Arrange button. You'll find an Align option in the resultant gallery. Clicking Align brings up the Align gallery (see Figure 2).
  3. Tip: If you use the Align tools often, consider adding them to your Quick Access Toolbar by customizing it.

  4. Figure 2: Align gallery in the Home tab of the Ribbon
  5. Note: Before starting aligning the shapes make sure the Align Selected Objects option is activated in the Align gallery (refer to Figure 2 above).
  6. The Align gallery provides six align options (highlighted in red refer to Figure 2 above):
  7. The Align Left, Align Center, and Align Right options works with shapes and slide objects suitable for alignment vertically on the slide, as shown in Figure 3.

  8. Figure 3: Shapes placed for vertical alignment on the slide


  9. Align Left

  10. Here the left-most shape within the selection determines the left point for alignment of all the shapes, as shown in Figure 4.

  11. Figure 4: Shapes aligned to left
  12. Align Center

  13. This option calculates the center of all the objects by determining the left-most and right-most points, and then determining the center. This command will align all the shapes vertically along their centers (see Figure 5).

  14. Figure 5: Shapes aligned to center
  15. Align Right

  16. Here the right-most shape within the selection determines the right point for alignment of all the shapes, as shown in Figure 6.

  17. Figure 6: Shapes aligned to right

The Align Top, Align Middle, and Align Bottom options are suitable for selected shapes and other slide objects, placed horizontally on the slide, as shown in Figure 7.


Figure 7: Shapes placed for horizontal alignment on the slide

Align Top

  • Here the top-most shape within the selection determines the top point for alignment of all the shapes, as shown in Figure 8.

  • Figure 8: Shapes aligned to top
  • Align Middle

  • This option calculates the middle of all the objects by determining the top-most and bottom-most points, and then determining the middle. This command will align all the shapes horizontally along their middles (see Figure 9).

  • Figure 9: Shapes aligned to middle
  • Align Bottom

  • Here the bottom-most shape within the selection determines the bottom point for alignment of all the shapes, as shown in Figure 10.

  • Figure 10: Shapes aligned to bottom

  • See Also:

    Align Shapes in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows
    Align Shapes in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
    Align Shapes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac