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Shape Union Command in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

Learn how you can unite shapes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac. The Shape Union command combines all overlapping and non-overlapping areas of shapes.

This is the second of the four Combine Shape commands in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac. You have already learned how Combine, the first of these commands works on selected shapes. Now, in this tutorial you will learn how to use Union, the second command of this quartet. you will take two or more shapes and unite them. For example, we surrounded a circle with several stars over a donut shape as shown towards the left of Figure 1. With these shapes selected, we could use the Union command to create a single united shape as shown towards the right in Figure 1.


Figure 1: Sample showing the 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 created using the Union command. Follow these steps in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.

  1. Open your presentation and navigate to the slide which contains shapes to be united. In Figure 2 you can see that two Octagons have been placed overlapping each other.

  2. Figure 2: One octagon placed atop another octagon
  3. Select the shapes that you want to unite (for this tutorial we have selected the two octagons that you saw in Figure 2), and carefully right-click them. From the contextual menu that appears, select the Grouping option. This opens another sub-menu in which you should select the Union option, as shown in Figure 3.

  4. Figure 3: Union command selected within the Grouping sub-menu
  5. Tip: To use the Union command, you must select two or more shapes.


  6. This will unite the selected shapes into a single shape, as shown in Figure 4 (compare with Figure 2, shown earlier on this page).

  7. Figure 4: Selected Octagons united into a single shape

Here’s how the Union command behaves in various scenarios:

  • Combines all overlapping and non-overlapping areas of shapes
  • Subtracts nothing
  • Retains formatting of the 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 Union command. You will notice that the united shape takes the formatting of the shape selected first.

Click below to view this presentation on SlideShare

Click below to view this presentation on YouTube


See Also:

Merge Shapes: Shape Union Command in PowerPoint (Index Page)

Shape Union Command in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows
Shape Union Command in PowerPoint 2016 for Mac
Shape Union Command in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Shape Union Command in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows