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Shift Key Fun

Explore various Shift key shortcuts. Combine the Shift key with arrow keys and you may discover options that make your workflows faster.

PowerPoint provides several ways to arrange, position, or resize your slide objects. The way these options work can either save you hours of work—or provide you with enough time to waste! Whether you gain or waste time depends on how you work with these tricks.

Shift Key Shortcuts in PowerPoint
In this article, we will explore one such trick. We have tested this on PowerPoint 2010 and 2013 for Windows (and on PowerPoint 2011 for Mac). However. these options may also work for some newer or previous versions as well.

This trick involves that you first select an object, and then press the Shift key. While keeping the Shift key pressed, you then press the arrow keys (Up, Down, Left, or Right) to make objects resize or reposition.



Let’s see what happens with these 7 types of common slide objects in the current versions of PowerPoint:

Slide Object 2013, 2011, and 2010 Remarks
Tables Nudge in arrow direction Shift + Up Arrow and Shift + Down Arrow nudge the table up and down respectively. However, Shift + Left Arrow and Shift + Right Arrow nudge the table right and left (rather than left and right) respectively.
Pictures Resize in arrow direction By default, when a Picture is inserted, the Lock aspect ratio option is active, so it resizes proportionately.
Clip Art Resize in arrow direction By default, when a Clip Art is inserted the Lock aspect ratio option is active, so it resizes proportionately.
Video Clip Resize in arrow direction By default, when a Video is inserted the Lock aspect ratio option is active, so it resizes proportionately.
SmartArt Resize in arrow direction By default, when a SmartArt is inserted the Lock aspect ratio option is not active, so it doesn't resize proportionately.
Charts Shortcut not working Charts are essentially Excel objects, so PowerPoint shortcut keys do not always work, so in this case, nothing happens to charts with these shortcut keys.
Shapes Resize in arrow direction By default, when a Shape is inserted the Lock aspect ratio option is not active, so it doesn't resize proportionately.

Whatever keyboard shortcuts you use, there are bound to be a few surprises. In fact, we always come across undocumented keyboard shortcuts and sequences that make the slide creation and editing process quicker and more intuitive! If you run into your own surprise shortcut, do share it with us.


06 01 06 - Basics About Shapes: Shift Key Fun (Glossary Page)