Shapes. There are more than meets the eye. Insert shape is one of the tools available when you click on Insert on the ribbon in PowerPoint. Welcome to a long-delayed day 33 of 365 Ideas for Office 365. This is a pretty straightforward topic, with one or two twists.
Click on the Shapes icon to see all the choices.
Recently used shapes appears first. Notice that even thought text boxes are not under the shapes menu, they do appear as recently used shapes. That’s because they’re used frequently enough to warrant their own spot on the ribbon, but PowerPoint does consider a textbox a shape. More on that below.
The other categories are Lines, Rectangles, Basic Shapes, Block Arrows, Flowchart, Stars and Banners, Callouts and Action Buttons.
Skipping over lines for the moment, rectangles actually includes any shapes that look like a rectangle with a corner or two trimmed off.
Options Under Shape Outline
Inserted shapes automatically are filled with color. When you click on a shape, you can format it. Here you can change the color of the outline, the infill, or both. Clicking to change the Shape Outline opens up more options as well, like the weight and style of the outline and even an eyedropper to select a color from anywhere on the slide.
Options Under Shape Fill
Similarly, Shape Fill also has other options, like filling a shape with a texture or even a picture.
The shape itself also has dots that allow you to resize and a handle to rotate the shape. For some shapes, there is also one colored circle that does something special. I don’t know what it’s really called. I call it the slider.
Basic Shapes, Block Arrows, Equation Shapes, Flowchart, Stars & Banners
There re a great variety of basic shapes that work the same way. Notice the brackets. Anyone here use Thinking Maps? Ever try to make Brace Maps?
Block Arrows, Equation Shapes, Flowchart and Stars and Banners round out the shapes that all have similar features and uses as the basic shapes and rectangles.
When we get to callouts, we have pretty much the same features, but they are also useful for cartoons and storyboards. To maximize their functionality, their “tail” is adjustable.
Returning to lines, they have one special skill when combined with other shapes. When you connect them correctly, they are responsive, meaning they stay attached when you move the shapes they connect.
Action Buttons are just what they sound like. As soon as you place one on a slide, this window pops up.
Notice there is a Mouse Click tab and a Mouse Over Tab. They both have the exact same options for what happens, but you can decide whether the trigger for the action is clicking on the shape, or merely scrolling over it with your mouse. The hyperlink option allows you to open a website, as you might expect, but a hyperlink can also take you to another slide, in this presentation, or another slideshow, or any other file.
You can also use a shape to start another program or play a sound. If you choose “other sound” you can select any sound you have saved on your device (including music clips).
Hyperlinking from a Shape
And remember, you can also combine shapes in PowerPoint in several different ways.
One caveat. (I’ve always wanted to write that.) Remember, PowerPoint treats text boxes as shapes. That’s important if you like to use the design tool to take advantage of the AI designs. Design does not currently support shapes, so if you want to use it on a slide, you have to do so and then add your shape(s) to that slide.
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