Shapes in PowerPoint can be formatted in various ways: you can change their fills, lines, and effects. Also you can resize them, as you will learn in this tutorial. PowerPoint, like most Microsoft Office programs follows the concept of selection, then action. Any shape that is selected shows several handles, as shown in both the shapes in Figure 1. These are:
- Four blueish white handles on the corners, these are round.
- Four blueish white handles on the sides, these are square.
- One green rotation handle over the top-middle handle. To learn more, see our Rotate Shapes in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows tutorial.
- One or more yellow diamond handle, these diamond handles do not appear on all shapes. If you look at Figure 1 below, you will notice that the shape on the left has no yellow diamond but the one on the right does. To learn more see our Manipulating Shapes by Dragging Diamonds in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows tutorial.
Figure 1: Shapes have several handles, and green rotation handle
When you drag any of the eight blueish white handles, you can resize the shape:
- When you drag any of the handles inwards, you reduce the size of the shape.
- When you drag any of the handles outwards, you increase the size of the shape.
- To maintain the width:height proportion of the shape, hold the Shift key while you drag one of the four corner handles (seeFigure 2).
Figure 2: Shift drag to maintain the width:height proportion while resizing a shape
- To resize from the center of the shape rather than from a corner or side, hold the Ctrl key while you drag one of the four corner or side handles (see Figure 3).
Figure 3: Ctrl dragging resizes from the center of a shape rather than from a corner or side
- To resize from the center and still maintain proportions, hold both the Shift and Ctrl keys while you drag one of the four corner handles (see Figure 4).
Figure 4: Combine both Ctrl and Shift dragging options to get the best of both worlds
- To resize only one side, drag the corresponding side handle (see Figure 5).
Figure 5: Resize shape from only one side
- To resize opposite sides equally, hold the Ctrl key while you drag a side handle (see Figure 6).
Figure 6: Resize two sides at the same time equally
- You can also resize the shape by pressing the Shift key and then pressing any of the four arrow keys on your keyboard. This option takes the center of the shape as an anchor point to resize from. Use any of following command combinations to resize the shape.
- Shift + Top Arrow increases the height of the shape
- Shift + Down Arrow decrease the height of the shape
- Shift + Left Arrow decrease the width of the shape
- Shift + Right Arrow increases the width of the shape
- As you resize the shape, you can see the height and the width change dynamically within the Size group of Drawing Tools Format tab of the Ribbon. Also you can check the Lock Aspect Ratio option in the Format Shape dialog (discussed later on this page, see Figure 9), and then use the Shift key in combination with any of the arrow keys to proportionately resize the selected shape.
The options shown above allow you to resize based on what you see rather than resizing them to exact numerical values. To resize any shape to an exact size, you first select it. This activates the Drawing Tools Format tab on the Ribbon (see Figure 7). Within the Size group (highlighted in red, refer to Figure 7), just change the Height and the Width values to resize the shape. You can press Enter after typing in a value, or use the increase or decrease buttons next to the numbers provided.
Figure 7: Drawing Tools Format tab activated on the Ribbon in PowerPoint
To view even more resize options, click the small arrow dialog launcher located at the bottom right corner of the Size group (highlighted in red in Figure 8).
Figure 8: Click the arrow dialog launcher to summon the Format Shape dialog box
This brings up the Format Shape dialog box (see Figure 9). Within the Size tab you'll find these resize options:
- Size and rotate | Height: Type in or use the increase / decrease buttons to change the height of a shape.
- Size and rotate | Width: Type in or use the increase / decrease buttons to change the width of a shape.
- Scale | Height: Change the height based on percentage values
- Scale | Width: Change the width based on percentage values
- Scale | Lock aspect ratio: Check this box (highlighted in red in Figure 9) so any change in height reflects a proportionate change in the width, and vice versa.
Figure 9: Format Shape dialog box