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Distribute Shapes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

Learn how to distribute shapes on a slide in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac. You can space out your shapes horizontally and vertically.

Distributing shapes is a simple concept that can make so much difference to the symmetry of your slides, it means that the space between consecutive shapes (or any other slide objects) should be the equal so that they all appear evenly spaced out. Look at Figure 1, and you'll see that the shapes towards the left are not distributed whereas the shapes towards the right are. Most of the time, distribution is used along with alignment. We already covered alignment in our Align Shapes in PowerPoint 2011 tutorial.


Figure 1: The benefits of distribution

If a fair amount of your time is spent in creating and editing PowerPoint slides, you know how important it is to keep all your slides looking consistent with shapes that are evenly positioned and equally spaced. The Distribute option is a great way to position shapes equidistant from each other, either on a horizontal or vertical plane. Follow these steps to learn more in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac:

Distribute Shapes Horizontally

  1. Select all the shapes placed besides each other, as shown in Figure 2.

  2. Figure 2: Shapes selected for horizontal distribution
  3. As you can see in the Figure 2 above, the shapes are not equally spaced between each other. The distance between the third and the fourth shapes is considerably more than the distance between any other consecutive shapes.
  4. Access the Home tab of the Ribbon, and within the Format group, click the Arrange button to bring up the gallery that you see in Figure 3. Click the Align or Distribute option to bring up the Align or Distribute sub-gallery (see Figure 3 again). Select the Distribute Horizontally option.

  5. Figure 3: Distribute Horizontally option selected
  6. Note: The Align or Distribute sub-gallery can also be accessed by clicking Align button of Arrange group within the Format tab of the Ribbon.
  7. This will distribute the selected shapes equally on a horizontal plane (compare Figures 4 and 2).

  8. Figure 4: Shapes distributed horizontally showing equal distance between each other


Distribute Shapes Vertically

  1. Select all the shapes placed below each other, as shown in Figure 5.

  2. Figure 5: Shapes selected for vertical distribution
  3. As you can see in the Figure 5 above, the shapes are not equally spaced between each other. The distance between the first and second shapes is considerably more than the distance between the second and third shapes.
  4. Access the Home tab of the Ribbon, and within the Format group, click the Arrange button to bring up the gallery that you see in Figure 6. Click the Align or Distribute option to bring up the Align or Distribute sub-gallery (see Figure 6 again). Select the Distribute Vertically option.

  5. Figure 6: Distribute Vertically option selected
  6. Note: The Align or Distribute sub-gallery can also be accessed by clicking Align button of Arrange group within the Format tab of the Ribbon.
  7. This will distribute the selected shapes equally on a vertical plane (compare Figures 5 and 7).

  8. Figure 7: Shapes distributed vertically showing equal distance between each other
  9. Save your presentation often.

See Also:

Aligning and Distributing Shapes: Distribute Shapes (Glossary Page)

Distribute Shapes in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Distribute Shapes in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows