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Shape Union Command in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows

Learn how you can unite shapes in PowerPoint 2010 using the Shape Union command.

Author: Geetesh Bajaj

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

Date Created: January 11th 2011
Last Updated: January 11th 2011

I have already explored three of the four Combine Shape commands in PowerPoint: Combine, Intersect, and Subtract -- and now I show you how you can use Union, the fourth and the last command of this quartet. In this tutorial, I'll show you how you can take two or more shapes and unite them. For example, I surrounded a circle with several stars over a donut shape as shown towards the left of Figure 1. With these shapes selected, I could use the Shape Union command that I explain later in this tutorial to create a united shape as shown towards the right in Figure 1.

 Sample showing use of the Shape Union command
Figure 1: Sample showing use of the Shape Union 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 Union command.

The Shape Union 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 Union command on the QAT.

    Shape Union command in PowerPoint
    Figure 2: Shape Union command

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

    United shape
    Figure 3: United shape

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

  • Combines all overlapping and non-overlapping areas of shapes
  • Subtracts nothing
  • 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 Union 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 united.

Click above to view on SlideShare

Click above to view on YouTube

See Also:

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


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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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