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
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
These include common shapes such as ovals, triangles, cubes, hearts, etc. (see Figure 4).
Figure 4: Basic Shapes
This category provides a comprehensive assortment of arrow shapes (see Figure 5).
Figure 5: Block Arrows
This category contains common mathematical and equation symbols (see Figure 6).
Figure 6: Equation Shapes
Several standard flowchart symbols such as Process, Decision, Data, etc. can be found within this category (see Figure 7).
Figure 6: Flowchart
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
Provides speech and thought bubbles and line callouts too (see Figure 9).
Figure 9: Callouts
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
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