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Types of Shapes in PowerPoint 2010 and 2007 for Windows

Learn about different types of shapes in PowerPoint.

Author: Geetesh Bajaj

Product/Version: Microsoft PowerPoint 2007 and 2010
OS: Windows 7, Vista, and XP

Date Created: November 19th 2010
Last Updated: November 19th 2010

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.

Shapes gallery
Figure 1:
Shapes gallery

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

  1. Lines: 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.

    Lines in PowerPoint
    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.

  2. 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).

    Rectangle in PowerPoint
    Figure 3: Rectangle

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

    Basic Shapes in PowerPoint
    Figure 4: Basic Shapes

  4. Block Arrows: This category provides a comprehensive assortment of arrow shapes (see Figure 5).

    Block Arrows in PowerPoint
    Figure 5: Block Arrows

  5. Equation Shapes: This category contains common mathematical and equation symbols (see Figure 6).

    Equation Shapes in PowerPoint
    Figure 6: Equation Shapes

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

    Flowchart in PowerPoint
    Figure 6: Flowchart

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

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

    Stars and Banners in PowerPoint
    Figure 8: Stars and Banners

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

    Callouts in PowerPoint
    Figure 9: Callouts

  9. 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).

    Action Buttons in PowerPoint
    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.

Recently Used Shapes in PowerPoint
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


PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences:
PowerPoint 2013, 2011, 2010, 2007 and 2003

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?

Go and get a copy of our PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences E-Book.

PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences E-book


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