edit shapes

How to edit shapes in PowerPoint

How to edit shapes in PowerPoint

Shapes are a very powerful tool in PowerPoint. In any graphic creation software in fact. Today we are going to show you how to edit shapes in PowerPoint. Most people do not use PowerPoint as a graphic creation tool. But I find it really easy to create simple fun graphics in no time at all. And to create these graphics you are going to be working with shapes. So it is really important you know how to edit them.

Lets get started.

The ‘How to edit shapes in PowerPoint‘ video

The ‘How to edit shapes in PowerPoint‘ step-by-step guide

First, add a shape

Before we start editing shapes we need to make sure we have a shape ready to be edited. There are two ways to add a shape.

Option one

From the ‘Home‘ tab under the ‘Drawing‘ section. you will see a small bow with shapes in it. Use this box to select a shape. If you can not see the shape that you require. Press the drop down arrow to the right. it will expand the box for you.

home tab

Option two

From the ‘Insert‘ tab under the ‘Illustrations‘ section. The first icon in this secion is shapes. Press this and the a drop down menu will open with all the available shapes. Select the shape you want and then add it to the slide.

insert tab

Once you have inserted the shape you require, you can then go ahead and change the colour, size or any other attribute that you which to change. We are not going to cover basic editing of shapes in the article. We are going to look at advanced editing.

Merge shapes

The merge shapes feature became available in PowerPoint 2013 ans continued into PowerPoint 2016. It allows you to merge two shapes into one. In order to use this feature you need to have at least two shapes selected,. You can do this by selecting the first shape and then press the Ctrl button to select the second one. .

Once you have two shapes selected at the same time go to the ‘Format‘ tab. Here you will see all the format options for shapes. You can see the format ysb from the following image.

format tab

In order to merge shapes you need to press the merge shapes button under the insert shapes section. Doing so will show a drop down menu.

You will be able to see the following options. Each of these will lead to a different action being taken

  • Union – merges the 2 shapes into one shape
  • Combine – will merge the shapes but the over lapping part of the shapes will be cut out
  • Fragment – shows all outlines for all shapes
  • Intersect – erases both shapes apart form the sections that over lap
  • Subtract – takes the top shape away from the bottom shape

The following image shows you the outcome of each option above. I have started with 2 squares that have been turned.


What I have done above is very simple. But it should highlight how you can use the merge shapes option to create some pretty cool looking content. Really, the only thing stopping you is your imagination.

Change a shape to another shape

There are times when I find myself going back to slide over and over. I sit there looking at it and I think ‘There is something wrong here, I am not just feeling the look of this slide’. Sometimes I will know what is wrong instantly other times it can take a while. I feel the shape that I have chosen for the box is not right. Instead of a rectangle I would like a rectangle with rounded corners. Time has been spent selecting the right colour, the right border width and there is text in the box.

To save time and effort having to recreate the box but with rounded corners, you are able to change the shape.

Once you have a shape selected, go to the ‘Format‘ tab. Next click on ‘Edit Shape‘ you will get a drop down menu with two options. These are

  1. Change Shape
  2. Edit points

For this tutorial select Change Shape. This will open up the shapes select box. Choose your desired shape. And you are done. It really could not be any easier.

change shapes

Change a shape using the edit points tool

The final way of changing a shape is by using the edit shapes tool. This allows you to change the shape by changing a point on the shape itself. Take a square as an example. You are able to move each corner in and out, select the curvature or add your own point to the square and then move that. You can do it with any shape.

To edit a shape select the shape that you want to edit. The go to the ‘Format‘ tab. Under the Insert Shape section you will see ‘Edit Shape‘. As mentioned earlier, you will see two options. This time we want to press ‘Edit Points‘.

Once this is pressed you should notice the select ring around the shape will change. The shape will now have a red line around it and black squares at each point. If you want to change a shape, press one of the black squares. You can then drag the point to where ever you see fit. Once a black square is selected you will also see two blue lines with white squares appear. Move these and it will change the curvature of the point that was selected.

As you start editing shapes you will notice that shapes all have a limited amount of points. A square has four and a triangle has three. If you want to add a new point to the shape. Just select any point on the red line and new point will appear. You can then move and change this point as you would with the others.

To get out of edit shape mode, press anywhere outside of the shape.


And there you have it, how to edit shapes in PowerPoint. You will find it so easy to do this in PowerPoint you will wonder why people pay for software like Adobe illustrator.

We hope that you found this PowerPoint tutorial helpful. Please let us know in the comments below or reach out to us on Facebook or Twitter. Remember we are always there.

Until next week. Have a good day.


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