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Cookie Cutter Shapes in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows

Learn how to make cookie cutter shapes in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows. We'll use this technique to create a triangular table in PowerPoint.


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Product/Version: PowerPoint 2010 for Windows

OS: Microsoft Windows XP and higher






This technique originated from a video clip that Bruce Gabrielle posted on his blog -- this video showed you how you can create a triangular table in PowerPoint by either creating a picture of the table itself (which makes the table non-editable) or by creating a picture of the table with just empty cells so that you can place a transparent table with figures or words over it. While both techniques are amazing, I wanted to use a process whereby not only is the table editable, but the ending shape need not be limited to just a triangle. So we are going to use two PowerPoint techniques to achieve this trick. Here are links to individual tutorial pages for both of these techniques:

  1. Combine Shapes
  2. Slide Background Fills

Note that the Combine Shapes tool is only available in PowerPoint 2010 or later, although the shapes you create using the Combine Shapes options can be used in all PowerPoint versions. We call these shapes "Cookie Cutters" because they let you cut parts of the slide almost the same way as cookie cutters cut parts of your cookie dough. I know -- that was too much information, so let us make it easier for you to follow this process step-by-step:

  1. First, add a new slide to your PowerPoint 2010 presentation, and select the Title and Content layout from the Layout gallery, as shown in Figure 1 to change the Slide Layout.
  2. Title and Content layout selected in Layout gallery
    Figure 1: Title and Content layout selected in Layout gallery
  3. This places a content placeholder on your slide that has six buttons, as shown in Figure 2. Click the Insert Table button (highlighted in red in Figure 2).
  4. Slide with Title and Content layout
    Figure 2: Slide with Title and Content layout
  5. This brings up the Insert Table dialog as shown in Figure 3. Create a fairly small table -- we opted for just 1 column and 5 rows. Click the OK button.
  6. Insert Table dialog box
    Figure 3: Insert Table dialog box
  7. Type in some text in your table and select all the text in the table -- and press Ctrl + E to center align all the text -- you might end up with a table as shown in Figure 4.
  8. Slide with a table
    Figure 4: Slide with a table
  9. Now, insert a shape to cover the table -- in this example, we are placing a triangle shape right over the table -- note that this covers all the text in this table (learn how to resize a shape in PowerPoint 2010), as shown in Figure 5 . Yes, you cannot see any text now, and that's a good thing!
  10. Triangle placed on the table
    Figure 5: Triangle placed on the table
  11. Insert another shape -- this time a rectangle that covers the entire slide area, as shown in Figure 6 -- note that nothing within the slide is now visible.
  12. Rectangle placed to cover the entire slide
    Figure 6: Rectangle placed to cover the entire slide
  13. Right-click the rectangle and choose Send to Back | Send Backwards as shown in Figure 7.
  14. Send Backward option selected for the rectangle
    Figure 7: Send Backward option selected for the rectangle
  15. This places your rectangle one layer back -- this brings the triangle right in front, as shown in Figure 8.
  16. Rectangle sent backward
    Figure 8: Rectangle sent backward
  17. Now, first select the rectangle, then Shift-click on the triangle so that both are selected. Now choose the Shape Combine option (highlighted in red within Figure 9).
  18. Shape Combine option selected for triangle and rectangle shapes
    Figure 9: Shape Combine option selected for triangle and rectangle shapes
  19. Tip: You don't have any Shape Combine option available? Yes, you need to add them to your QAT (Quick Access Toolbar) -- look at our Adding Combine Shapes to your QAT tutorial
  20. This creates a triangle window within your rectangle -- note that your table is visible through this window, as shown in Figure 10. Yes, the triangle is the cookie that the cutter removed! Now, apply the No Outline attribute to remove outline from this combined shape.
  21. Triangle windowed rectangle
    Figure 10: Triangle windowed rectangle
  22. Note that your triangle-windowed-rectangle is covering everything else, even the slide title! So reorder the objects on your slide so that:
    1. The table is placed right at the bottom of all objects.
    2. The triangle-windowed-rectangle is placed above the table.
    3. All other objects are over these two objects.
  23. Look at Figure 11 to understand this relationship.
  24. Correct order of shapes in a cookie cutter
    Figure 11: Correct order of shapes in a cookie cutter
  25. Finally, select your triangle-windowed-rectangle, and change its fill to Slide Background fill. Your cookie cutter shape is ready as shown in Figure 12 below.
  26. Triangle Cookie Cutter shape
    Figure 12: Triangle Cookie Cutter shape
  27. This cookie cutter shape will continue to work even if you change your slide background -- or even if you apply a new Theme -- look at Figure 13, which is the same as the slide shown in Figure 12, but with a new Theme applied.
  28. Triangle Cookie Cutter shape with new Theme applied
    Figure 13: Triangle Cookie Cutter shape with new Theme applied
  29. Do remember though that your slide title will end up behind your table and combined cookie-cutter shape when a new Theme is applied -- you will need to again reorder your slide objects, as explained in step 11.
Tip: You can also build a pyramid using SmartArt but that technique is limited to the triangular pyramid. The technique on this page can be applied to any shape such as a circle, a hexagon, a star, etc. In addition, cookie cutter shapes created using this technique are not limited to be placed over a table – you can place it over a movie clip (works only in PowerPoint 2010), a picture, a chart, etc.

See Also:

Exotic Shapes: Cookie Cutter Shapes in PowerPoint (Index Page)

Cookie Cutter Shapes in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows
Cookie Cutter Shapes in PowerPoint 2016 for Mac
Cookie Cutter Shapes in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Cookie Cutter Shapes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

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