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Types of Shapes in PowerPoint Online

Learn about different types of shapes in PowerPoint Online. In many ways, shapes are the building blocks of PowerPoint slide design.

What does the word “shape” mean to you? Do you imagine a square, a circle, a heart, or even a smiley face? Yes, all those are shapes, as are the hundreds of other recognizable outlines or figures that we call shapes in our daily conversations. Shapes play a significant role within slides you create for your PowerPoint presentation. In more ways that you may want to count, shapes are like the building blocks of almost anything you do on your PowerPoint slides. PowerPoint Online provides hundreds of shapes efficiently categorized into 8 types. You can do so much with these shapes such as formatting them with fills, lines, and effects. This tutorial explores the various types of shapes available within PowerPoint.

To look at these different types of shapes, choose the Insert tab (or even the Home tab) of the Ribbon and click the Shapes button to bring up a drop-down gallery, as shown in Figure 1.


  • Figure 1: Shapes drop-down gallery

    Use the scrollbar on the right to access more Shape categories, that you can see in Figure 2.


  • Figure 2: Shapes in PowerPoint

    PowerPoint Online sorts these different shape types into eight categories, as explained below:



      1. Lines

      Straight and curved lines, with or without arrowheads (see Figure 3). Also, you'll find options to create freeform paths and scribbles. In addition, lines also work as connectors, which link individual shapes and other slide objects via straight, curved, or elbow branches.


    1. Figure 3: Lines
    2. Non-connecting Connectors in PowerPoint Online?

      When you select a Connector shape in PowerPoint Online, you will just see the Connector placed on your slide! It does not connect two shapes, and there are no options to 'connect' in PowerPoint Online. However, if you have already connected two shpaes with a Connector using a desktop version of PowerPoint, then PowerPoint Online will respect existing 'connects'.
    3. 2. Rectangles

      Other than the ubiquitous simple rectangle, PowerPoint provides several types of other rectangles including those with rounded and snipped corners (see Figure 4).


    4. Figure 4: Rectangles
    5. 3. Basic Shapes

      Common shapes such as ovals, triangles, cubes, hearts, etc. (see Figure 5).


    6. Figure 5: Basic Shapes
    7. 4. Block Arrows

      A comprehensive assortment of arrow shapes (see Figure 6).


    8. Figure 6: Block Arrows
    9. Equation Shapes: Common mathematical and equation symbols (see Figure 7).

    10. Figure 7: Equation Shapes
    11. 5. Flowchart

      Several standard flowchart symbols such as Process, Decision, Data, etc. can be found within this category (see Figure 8).


    12. Figure 8: Flowchart
    13. Tip: Learn more about various flowchart shapes in our Flowchart Symbols: What They Represent? tutorial.
    14. 6. Stars and Banners

      Stars with 4 until 32 points, explosions, scrolls, and banners (see Figure 9).


    15. Figure 9: Stars and Banners
    16. 7. Callouts

      Provides speech and thought bubbles, and line callouts too (see Figure 10).


    17. Figure 10: Callouts

    Other than the categories mentioned above, the Shapes drop-down gallery also includes a Shapes category right on top that lists any shapes that you use often (see Figure 11). All these shapes are also visible in their normal location in the Shapes drop-down gallery.


  • Figure 11: Recently Used Shapes

    No Action Buttons?

    Yes, there are no options to add Action Button shapes in PowerPoint Online. However, any Action Buttons added in desktop versions of PowerPoint will be respected if you open them in PowerPoint Online.

    See Also:

    Types of Shapes in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows
    Types of Shapes in PowerPoint 2016 for Mac
    Types of Shapes in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
    Types of Shapes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac
    Types of Shapes in PowerPoint 2010 and 2007 for Windows