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Resize Text Boxes Accurately on a Slide in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows

Learn how to resize Text Boxes accurately on a slide in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows. This technique allows you to enter exact measurement values in PowerPoint.


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Product/Version: PowerPoint 2016 for Windows

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 and higher






In PowerPoint 2016 resizing Text Boxes is easy. You select any Text Box and you get eight handles, four on corners, and four on sides, you then drag any of these eight handles to resize. The problem with this approach is that the resized Text Box you end up with is not accurate. If you do not need accuracy, then you need not follow the rest of this tutorial. However, there might be times when you need your Text Box sized exactly as the size of a picture you have inserted, or even an exact size based on a specification. Look at the slide in Figure 1 to understand what we are explaining:

  • The picture in this slide is much wider than the Text Box underneath
    Figure 1: The picture in this slide is much wider than the Text Box underneath

  • As you can see in Figure 1 above, the picture is much wider than the Text Box below that includes a caption for the picture. If we want the width of the Text Box to exactly match the width of the picture, then we need to do two things:
    1. Find out the width of the picture.
    2. Then change the width of the Text Box to match the width of the picture.
  • Follow these steps to proceed with these twin objectives in PowerPoint 2016:
    1. Select the picture. This activates the Picture Tools Format tab of the Ribbon, as shown in Figure 2.
    2. Note: The Picture Tools Format tab is a Contextualtab. Contextual tabs are special tabs in the Ribbon that are not visible all the time, they only make an appearance when you are working with a particular slide object which can be edited using special options.
    3. Within the Size group you'll find the Width and the Height attributes of the selected picture. Make a note of the Width of the picture (highlighted in red within Figure 2). For this particular example the picture width is 5.42 inches.
    4. Width and the Height values of the selected picture
      Figure 2: Width and the Height values of the selected picture
    5. Note: Do you see the Width and Height values in centimeters rather than inches? That's not an issue since you will either see centimeters or inches everywhere in PowerPoint. However, if you want to change the unit of measurement, you will have to do that globally in your Microsoft Windows operating system. The following tutorials will help you:

      Change the Unit of Measurement in Windows 10
      Change the Unit of Measurement in Windows 8
      Change the Unit of Measurement in Windows 7
      Change the Unit of Measurement in Windows Vista
      Change the Unit of Measurement in Windows XP

    6. Now, select the Text Box beneath the picture. Note that you no longer see the Picture Tools Format tab. Rather, you now see the Drawing Tools Format tab. Both of these tabs are contextual tabs, and the contextual tab you see in the Ribbon depends upon what you select on your slide.
    7. For now, access the Drawing Tools Format tab, and click the dialog launcher located at the bottom right corner of the Size group (highlighted in red within Figure 3).
    8. Dialog launcher within the Size group
      Figure 3: Dialog launcher within the Size group
    9. This brings up the Format Shape Task Pane, as shown in Figure 4. Make sure you choose Shape Options tab (highlighted in red within Figure 4). Then select the Size & Properties button (highlighted in blue within Figure 4). Deselect the Lock aspect ratio check-box (highlighted in green within Figure 4). This ensures that any change in the width of your Text Box will not change its height. If this check-box is not already deselected, then leave it untouched.
    10. Format Shape Task Pane
      Figure 4: Format Shape Task Pane
    11. Within the Format Shape Task Pane, locate the Width option (highlighted in red within Figure 5) and type in the width value to match the picture width (5.42 inches). You will see the resized Text Box immediately on your slide. When done resizing, close the Format Shape Task Pane.
    12. Width of the Text Box changed to match the picture's width
      Figure 5: Width of the Text Box changed to match the picture's width
    13. This will resize the Text Box, as shown in Figure 6 (compare to Figure 1).
    14. Text Box resized
      Figure 6: Text Box resized
    15. Once the Text Box is resized, you might want to align it with the picture so that it is positioned right beneath the picture. PowerPoint 2016 also lets you smart align the Text Box with the picture.
    16. In some cases a resized Text Box may result in your text becoming smaller, or the text overflows outside the Text Box. To correct this you need to tweak the Text Autofit options.
    17. Make sure to save your presentation often.
    Tip: While this tutorial shows you how to accurately resize a Text Box (or a shape), it can also be used to resize text placeholders, in the Slide Master. Don't know the difference between a Text Box and a text placeholder? Look at our Text Boxes vs. Text Placeholders tutorial. Typically text placeholders for regular text content or even slide titles are located in the same position on successive slides. So, if you really do need to resize a text placeholder, do it within the Slide Master not only to provide a consistent look to your presentation, but also to prevent yourself from monotonous job of resizing text placeholders on each and every slide.

    See Also:

    Resize Text Boxes Accurately on a Slide in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
    Resize Text Boxes Accurately on a Slide in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac
    Resize Text Boxes Accurately on a Slide in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows

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