When you insert a shape within PowerPoint, you are not limited to what their default appearance looks like. You may want to change a rectangle to a rhombus, or even edit a curved or freeform line differently. The good news is that you can do this using the Edit Points option. This almost makes PowerPoint a drawing program that provides you the option to play with vertexes (points), handles, etc.—very similar to what you would do in Adobe Illustrator or CorelDRAW.
A vertex is a point within the outline of any shape that can be dragged or edited to change the appearance of the shape. A vertex is indicated by a small black square (you can see seven of these black squares in Figure 1). Note that you will learn more about how to get to this Edit Points interface later in this tutorial. Meanwhile, also notice that when you select a vertex, one or two blue handles appear. These handles end with transparent squares, these transparent squares have black outlines and can be dragged to reorient the structure of the selected shape.
Also in PowerPoint, the terms vertex and point are often used interchangeably.
Figure 1: Vertexes (small black squares)
Follow these steps to get to the Edit Points mode for any shape (rectangle, line, drawn shape, etc.) in PowerPoint 2007 for Windows:
- Select the drawing so that the Ribbon area now shows the Drawing Tools Format tab, as shown in Figure 2. Activate this Ribbon tab by clicking on it.
Figure 2: Drawing Tools Format tab of the Ribbon
- Within the Drawing Tools Format tab, click the Edit Shape button (highlighted in red, in Figure 2 above) to view a drop-down gallery that you can see in Figure 3. In this gallery, select the Edit Points option (refer to Figure 3 again).
Figure 3: Edit points option
Figure 4: Convert to Freeform option
- Once you do that, Edit Points option becomes accessible. Just click it.
- A number of small black squared points will appear on the outline of the shape, as shown in Figure 5. These points are known as vertexes, which mark any point in your shape that denotes an extremity of a curve or line segment, or even the start and end point of an open shape.
Figure 5: Vertexes appearing on the drawing
- Place the cursor over any of the vertexes - the cursor will change to a small square with four directional arrows around it, as shown in Figure 6 (highlighted in red).
Figure 6: Cursor with a square and four directional arrows
- Now click on the vertex to select it, and reposition the vertex by dragging it to a new position. A semi transparent area appears showing the changes to the shape that you are making, as shown in Figure 7.
Figure 7: Editing vertexes
- You can also change how the shape looks without repositioning the vertex. A selected vertex shows one or two blue handles (blue lines emanating from the vertex), as shown in Figure 8. To alter the degree of the curve or line on either sides of the vertex just click on one of the handles and drag it to reorient the line's structure (refer to Figure 8 again).
Figure 8: Editing with handles
- To alter the degree of the curve or line on either sides of the vertex in relation to the next vertex along the line, you have to press the Shift key while dragging.
- Save your presentation often.
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