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Edit Points: Open and Close Paths in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

Learn how you can open and close paths for shapes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac. This technique is very useful and will help you modify some complicated shapes easily.

The Shape gallery in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac contains an assortment of shapes, both open and closed. Most of the shapes in this gallery are closed shapes (rectangle, ellipse, and triangle are some of the closed shapes). There are also a few open shapes such as the straight point to point line. Figure 1 below shows you one example each of both a closed and open shape.


Figure 1: Examples of closed and open shapes

Line drawing tools let you create your own shapes. These can be both open and closed. These line drawing tools are Freeform Line, Curve, and Scribble. In addition, you can convert any closed shape to an open shape and vice versa, as you will learn in this tutorial.

Open Shape (Path)

  1. Select a closed shape such as a rectangle and switch to Edit Points mode (just right-click the shape and choose Edit Points option). Place the cursor over any point (vertex), where you want to open the shape. The cursor will change to a small square with four directional arrows around it, as shown in Figure 2 (highlighted in blue).

  2. Figure 2: Cursor placed over the point


  3. Right-click to get the contextual menu—from this contextual menu, choose Open Path option as you can see in Figure 3.

  4. Figure 3: Open Path option selected
  5. This opens the path and converts the closed shape into an open shape as shown in Figure 4. Essentially, the single point you selected is now two points. The gap between these two points is the open space.

  6. Figure 4: Closed shape opened at the position of the selected point (vertex)
  7. Note: In PowerPoint, the terms vertex and point are often used interchangeably.
  8. Select any of these two points and drag it elsewhere, as shown in Figure 5. As you can see, a dotted line indicates the new position of the selected point and the associated path.

  9. Figure 5: Point being dragged to a new position
  10. In Figure 6 you can see that the shape is no longer a closed shape as there is no outline path visible between the two vertexes that have been moved apart.

  11. Figure 6: Closed shape changed into an open shape

Closed Shape (Path)

You can draw an open shape with Freeform Line, Curve, and Scribble tools.

  1. Select the open shape and switch to Edit Points mode (just right-click the shape and choose Edit Points option). Place the cursor over one of the open points at the end of the shape (path). The cursor will change to a small square with four directional arrows around it, as shown in Figure 7 (highlighted in blue).

  2. Figure 7: Cursor placed on the opening point of the shape
  3. Right-click to get the contextual menu. From this contextual menu, choose Close Path option as you can see in Figure 8.

  4. Figure 8: Close Path option selected
  5. PowerPoint automatically creates a segment between the two open points and thus closes the path (shape), as shown in Figure 9. The closed shape has no fill applied but you can apply any shape fill as required.

  6. Figure 9: Open shape changed into a closed shape

See Also:

Edit Points: Open and Close Paths in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows
Edit Points: Open and Close Paths in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Edit Points: Open and Close Paths in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows
Edit Points: Open and Close Paths in PowerPoint 2007 for Windows
Edit Points: Open and Close Paths in PowerPoint 2003 for Windows