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Shape Combine Command in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows

Learn how you can combine shapes in PowerPoint 2010 using the Shape Combine command.

Author: Geetesh Bajaj

Product/Version: Microsoft PowerPoint 2010
OS: Windows 8, 7, Vista, and XP

Date Created: March 30th 2011
Last Updated: March 30th 2011

PowerPoint has more than a hundred shapes but there are times when you want to combine two or more shapes to create your own shape. For example, I placed several basic shapes over a circle to create a smiling caricature as shown towards the left of Figure 1, below. With these shapes selected, I could use the Shape Combine command that I explain later in this tutorial to create a unified, combined shape as shown towards the right in Figure 1.

 Sample showing use of the Shape Combine command
Figure 1: Sample showing use of the Shape Combine command

Once you finish reading this tutorial, do view the sample presentations embedded on the bottom of this page to see more samples of shapes that use the Shape Combine command.

The Shape Combine command is one of the four new Shape commands that are not visible by default in PowerPoint 2010 -- you need to enable them as explained in Add Combine Shapes Commands to the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) in PowerPoint 2010. Thereafter follow these steps:

  1. Select two or more shapes as shown in Figure 2. With these shapes selected, click the Shape Combine command on the QAT.

    Shape Combine command in PowerPoint
    Figure 2: Shape Combine command

  2. This results in a combined shape as shown in Figure 3.

    Combined shape
    Figure 3: Combined shape

Do remember these guidelines for any tasks that involve the usage of this command. The Shape Combine command:

  • Combines non-overlapping areas of shapes
  • Subtracts overlapping areas of shapes
  • If selected shapes do not overlap, acts like a group with no option to ungroup!
  • Retains formatting of first selected shape

You will see these guidelines in use within the embedded presentations below (scroll down this page).

Activity: Do experiment with various shapes that are formatted with fills of different colors. Select one of the shapes, and then individually select other shapes and click the Shape Combine command -- you will notice that the combined shape takes the formatting of the shape selected first.

The sample presentations below show how we used different shapes placed next to and above each other, and then combined.

Click above to view on Slideshare

Click above to view on YouTube

See Also:

Shape Combine Command in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows
Shape Combine Command in PowerPoint 2016 for Mac
Shape Combine Command in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Shape Combine Command in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac


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PowerPoint 2013, 2011, 2010, 2007 and 2003

Have your ever used keyboard shortcuts and sequences in PowerPoint? Or are you a complete keyboard aficionado? Do you want to learn about some new shortcuts? Or do you want to know if your favorite keyboard shortcuts are documented?

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