Shapes in PowerPoint are very useful in representing design or content, but when you create a slide that has such a framework, it is common to have several shapes of the same size and other attributes on a slide. Figure 1 shows a sample where the same shape has been used multiple times. Not only does the repetition of shapes cause continuity, but in some ways it can also lead to symmetry.
Figure 1: Same shape used multiple times
When asked how they would duplicate shapes, many users seem to believe that inserting the same shape multiple times, or using copy and paste procedures is the way to go. Yes, you can go ahead and insert the same shape into PowerPoint repeatedly, but that will cause you loss of productive time you could have used elsewhere! There are quicker procedures to duplicate shapes:
- Select the shape as shown in Figure 2. With the shape selected, press the Alt(Option) key on your keyboard.
Figure 2: Shape selected
- Hold down the Alt (Option) key, and drag the shape anywhere on the slide to create a copy (see Figure 3).
Figure 3: Create a duplicate of the selected shape
As you can see in the previous example, you can drag the duplicated copy of the shape anywhere on the slide, but sometimes you want a copy of the selected shape to be created in the same horizontal or vertical plane as the original. To do so, follow these steps:
- Select the shape you want to duplicate, press both the Alt(Option) and Shift keys together, and drag the shape to create a copy, you will find that PowerPoint constrains your dragging so that new copies of the shape are created only in the positions which are exactly up, down, left, or right in 90° increments, as explained below:
- If you press Alt(Option) and Shift, and drag the selected shape towards the top, you create a copy of the shape at 90°, as shown in Figure 4.
Figure 4: Shape copied exactly upwards at 90° (perpendicular to the original)
- If you press Alt(Option) and Shift, and drag the selected shape towards right. You create a copy of the shape at 0°, as shown in Figure 5.
Figure 5: Shape copied at 0°
- Alt(Option) and Shift drag the selected shape towards left to create a copy of the shape at 180°, as shown in Figure 6.
Figure 6: Shape copied at 180°
- Alt(Option) and Shift drag the selected shape to the bottom to create a copy of the shape at 270°, as shown in Figure 7.
Figure 7: Shape copied at 270°
- Release the Alt(Option) and Shift keys when you have placed the duplicate shape at the required position.
- Save your presentation.
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