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Types of Shapes in PowerPoint 2010 and 2007 for Windows

Learn about different types of shapes in PowerPoint 2010 and 2007 for Windows. In many ways, shapes are the building blocks of PowerPoint slide design.

Shapes are the building blocks of almost anything you do on your PowerPoint slides, and PowerPoint provides hundreds of shapes categorized into 9 types (in PowerPoint 2007 and 2010). All these shapes can be used in various ways. You can combine the shapes, format the shapes with fills, lines, and effects, and even group or layer them to create more complex shapes. This tutorial explores the various types of shapes available to create within PowerPoint.

To look at these different type of shapes, choose the Insert tab (or even the Home tab) of the Ribbon and click the bottom part of the Shapes button to bring up the dropdown Shapes gallery, as shown in the Figure 1.

  • Figure 1: Shapes gallery
  • You'll see that PowerPoint categorizes all these different shape types into nine categories, which are explained below:


    These are straight and curved lines, with or without arrowheads (see Figure 2). Also, you'll find options to create freeform paths and scribbles. In addition, lines also work as connectors, which link individual shapes and other slide objects via straight, curved, or elbow branches.

  • Figure 2: Lines

    Tip: The first 9 line types also work as "connectors". These can be especially useful if you need to create flowcharts. For more info, explore our Using Flowchart and Connector Shapes Together in Windows tutorial.
  • Rectangle

    Other than the ubiquitous squares and rectangles, PowerPoint provides several types of other rectangles including those with rounded and snipped corners (see Figure 3).

  • Figure 3: Rectangle
  • Basic Shapes

    These include common shapes such as ovals, triangles, cubes, hearts, etc. (see Figure 4).

  • Figure 4: Basic Shapes
  • Block Arrows

    This category provides a comprehensive assortment of arrow shapes (see Figure 5).

  • Figure 5: Block Arrows
  • Equation Shapes

    This category contains common mathematical and equation symbols (see Figure 6).

  • Figure 6: Equation Shapes

  • Flowchart

    Several standard flowchart symbols such as Process, Decision, Data, etc. can be found within this category (see Figure 7).

  • Figure 6: Flowchart
  • Tip: Learn more about the various flowchart shapes in our Flowchart Symbols: What They Represent? tutorial.

    Stars and Banners

    This category includes a variation of stars with 4 until 32 points, explosions, scrolls, and banners (see Figure 8).

  • Figure 8: Stars and Banners
  • Callouts

    Provides speech and thought bubbles and line callouts too (see Figure 9).

  • Figure 9: Callouts
  • Action Buttons

    A special category of buttons that enables you to add push style buttons that allow you to add navigation between slides and other interactivity (see Figure 10).

  • Figure 10: Action Buttons
  • Other than the categories mentioned above, the Shapes gallery also includes a Recently Used Shapes category right on the top that lists any shapes that you use often (see Figure 11). All these shapes are also visible in their normal location in the Shapes gallery.

  • Figure 11: Recently Used Shapes

    See Also:

    Types of Shapes in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows
    Types of Shapes in PowerPoint 2016 for Mac
    Types of Shapes in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
    Types of Shapes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac
    Types of Shapes in PowerPoint Online