When you insert any of the shapes available in PowerPoint, you are not limited to what their default appearance looks like. You can change a rectangle to a rhombus, or even edit a curved or freeform line differently. You can do this by 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.
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 four 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 that have black outlines which can be dragged to reorient the structure of the selected shape at the selected vertex.
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 2011 for Mac:
- Open your presentation and navigate to the slide which contains the shape or the drawing to be edited. Select it and right-click (or Ctrl + click) to bring up a contextual menu as shown in Figure 2 . Within the contextual menu, select the Edit Points option (refer to Figure 2 again).
Figure 2: Edit Points option selected
- The outline of the shape turns red and a number of small black squared points will appear on the outline of the shape denoting that the Edit Point mode is activated, as shown in Figure 3. 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 3: Vertexes appear on the selected shape
- Place the cursor on any of the vertexes. The cursor will change to a small square with four directional arrows around it, as you can see highlighted in blue in Figure 4.
Figure 4: Cursor changed to a square with four directional arrows
- At this point, you can make changes to the selected shape at the position of selected vertex as explained below:
- Click on the vertex to select it, and reposition the vertex by dragging it to a new position without releasing the mouse button. A black dashed line appears while dragging, which denotes the changes being made to the shape, as shown in Figure 5.
Figure 5: Repositioning a vertex
- Not only you can reposition the vertex, but also reorient the structure of the line upon which it is positioned. A selected vertex shows one or two blue handles (lines emanating from the vertex), as shown in Figure 6. To alter the degree of the curve or line on either sides of the vertex in relation to the next vertex along the line, just click on one of the handles and drag them without releasing the mouse button to reorient the line's structure (refer to Figure 6 again).
Figure 6: Editing a vertex with handles
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