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Align Shapes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

Learn how to align shapes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac. Placing slide objects properly-aligned will help create an aesthetic slide.

Being great believers in creative freedom, we consider un-required alignment of slide objects (such as shapes) 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 at 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. For the times when need shapes to be arranged in a straight line, follow these steps to learn more in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac:

  1. Open your presentation, navigate to the slide which contains the shapes to be aligned, and 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 Align or Distribute option in the resultant gallery. Clicking this option brings up another sub-gallery with options to align the selected shapes as shown in Figure 2.

  3. Figure 2: Align options within the Align or Distribute sub-gallery
  4. Note: Before starting aligning the shapes, make sure the Align Selected Objects option is activated within the Align or Distribute sub-menu (refer to Figure 2 above).
  5. The Align or Distribute sub-menu provides six options to align the shapes (highlighted in red in Figure 2 above):
  6. The Align Left, Align Center, and Align Right options work well with shapes and slide objects that are to be aligned vertically on the slide, as shown in Figure 3.

  7. Figure 3: Unaligned shapes selected for vertical alignment on the slide
  8. The Align Left, Align Center, and Align Right options work as explained below:


  9. Align Left

  10. Here the left-most shape within the selection determines the left point for alignment of all the shapes, as shown inFigure 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 position for selected shapes (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
  18. The Align Top, Align Middle, and Align Bottom options are suitable for selected shapes and other slide objects, which are to be aligned horizontally on the slide, as shown in Figure 7.

  19. Figure 7: Unaligned shapes selected for horizontal alignment on the slide
  20. The Align Top, Align Middle, and Align Bottom options work as explained below:
  21. Align Top

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

  23. Figure 8: Shapes aligned to top
  24. Align Middle

  25. This option calculates the middle of all the objects by determining the top-most and bottom-most points, and then determining the middle position (see Figure 9).

  26. Figure 9: Shapes aligned to middle
  27. Align Bottom

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

  29. Figure 10: Shapes aligned to bottom
  30. Don't forget to save your presentation often.

See Also:

Align Shapes in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows
Align Shapes in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Align Shapes in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows