Part 2 of 4
This book extract is from Cutting
Edge PowerPoint for Dummies, a book that will teach you how you can make
your PowerPoints dance and sing.
Okay, you've PowerPointed before, right? And you knew there must be more cool
things you could do? Here they are! This handy guide gives you pointers on
what makes a powerful presentation, tips on using the right formats and templates,
and directions for dressing up text, wowing 'em with color, adding action,
and much more.
Supernatural AutoShape Abilities
AutoShapes have special attributes and supernatural powers. Some of them
are such show-offsthey even sport yellow diamonds when selected.
You cant steal those diamonds, but you can certainly put them to
good use. For example:
- Dragging the diamond above a rounded rectangle AutoShape from left to
right (or top to bottom) increases the rounded value of the rectangle,
as shown in Figure 5-4.
Figure 5-4: Increasing the rounded value of a rectangle.
- Dragging the diamond down or toward the right on a parallelogram, octagon,
hexagon, or trapezoid alters the shape further. Drag toward the left (or
top) and you have almost a rectanglelook at Figure 5-5.
- Dragging the diamond down or toward the right on a cube, bevel, or can
(otherwise known as a cylinder) alters the three-dimensional angle of the
shape. Drag toward the left (or top) to make the shape more two dimensional,
as illustrated in Figure 5-6.
Figure 5-5: Adjusting an AutoShape is easy.
Figure 5-6: Controlling the third dimension.
- You can adjust the size of the various parts of an Arrow by dragging its
yellow diamond, as shown in Figure 5-7.
- All stars except the 5-Point star have diamondspull them toward
the center to create a star with a smaller center. Drag outward to create
larger centers. In fact, if you drag the 32-Point stars diamond outward,
you end up with an ovalalmost. Figure 5-8 shows you more.
- With callouts, pulling the diamond around the shape moves the tail of the
callout. See Figure 5-9.
Experiment with any AutoShape you use in a presentation. You never know what
unique shapes those diamonds can cause!
Figure 5-7: Make your arrows behave.
Figure 5-8: Stars that behave like ovals?
Figure 5-9: See whos thinking what with those callouts.
Sometimes you end up drawing the wrong AutoShape. By the time you realize
the mistake, youve already added a fill and applied some animation and
dont want to delete and start again.
Tip: Heres a solution: Select the AutoShape on
the slide, choose Draw | Change AutoShape in the Drawing toolbar,
and choose the AutoShape you want to change to.
Keeping Your AutoShapes Tidy
On the CD: On the CD, youll find
a full version of AutoShape
Magic, my PowerPoint addin. I got so frustrated
repeating certain tasks that
I created this add-in to make life simpler and happier for all PowerPoint users.
To install AutoShape Magic, read the documentation included in
the same folder as the setup file on the CD. When you have completed
the installation, AutoShape
Magic shows up as a toolbar inside PowerPoint, as shown in Figure 5-10.
Throughout the rest of this chapter, I refer often to the add-in
and how to use particular options.
Remember: Although I discuss the resize, rotate, flip,
nudge, move, align, and distribute options using AutoShapes,
bear in mind that most other slide elements, including photos,
charts, and even videos, can be manipulated in the same way.
Figure 5-10: AutoShape Magic shows up as a toolbar inside PowerPoint.
Double-click any AutoShape and youll be face-to-face with the venerable
Format AutoShape dialog box with six tabs (see Figure 5-11). You can also summon
this dialog box by selecting an AutoShape and choosing Format.AutoShape. In
the Size tab, youll find options to resize and rotate AutoShapes. Unless
you need to enter exact coordinates or resize percentages, there are faster
and easier ways of keeping your AutoShapes in order. For now, click Cancel
to get rid of the Format AutoShape dialog box.
Figure 5-11: The Format AutoShape dialog box.
Most AutoShapes have eight resize handles around them—four handles
on the corners and four more on the sides, as you can see in Figure 5-12. Another
green rotation handle can be found over the top-middle handle. All these handles
help you change the orientation of your shapes, as I show you next.
Figure 5-12: Resize and rotate handles keep your AutoShapes
on a leash.
Its easy to make AutoShapes teeny-tiny or humongous. Here are your options:
- Drag one of the eight handles to resize the shape.
- To resize while maintaining the shapes proportions, hold the Shift
key while you drag one of the four corner handles.
- To resize from the center of the AutoShape, hold the Ctrl key while you
drag one of the four corner handles.
- To resize from the center and still maintain proportions, hold both the
Shift and Control keys while you drag one of the four corner handles.
- To resize only one side, drag the corresponding side handle.
- To resize opposite sides, hold the Ctrl key while you drag a side handle.
- To resize your AutoShape in 10-percent increments, use the + and buttons
on the AutoShape Magic toolbar (the add-in found on the CD). The other set
of + and icons allows you to double or halve
your AutoShape size with just one click.
To enter exact coordinates and resize percentages, double-click the AutoShape
to summon the Format AutoShape dialog box, click the Size tab, and enter specific
coordinates or measurements in the various text boxes.
To rotate AutoShapes, select an AutoShape and do the following:
- Drag the green rotation handle toward the right or left to rotate around
the center of the AutoShape.
- Hold the Shift key and drag the rotation handle to rotate in 15-degree
- Hold the Ctrl key and drag the rotation handle to rotate around the bottom
of the AutoShape.
- Hold both the Shift and Ctrl keys and drag the rotation handles if you
want to rotate around the bottom (rather than the center) of the AutoShape
in 15-degree increments.
- If you want to rotate in 90-degree increments, head to the Drawing toolbar
and choose Draw.Rotate or Flip and then choose either Rotate Left 90° or
Rotate Right 90°.
- The Draw | Rotate or Flip menu also has the Free Rotate option that essentially
puts four rotation handles on the selected AutoShape rather than just one.
If you hold the Ctrl key while you drag one of these rotation handles, the
shape rotates around the corner opposite the one youre dragging.
- Youll find a selected AutoShapes rotation value within the
Size tab of the Format AutoShape dialog box. You can enter a new value here
or type in a zero rotation value to restore the original placement. Doubleclick
the AutoShape to summon the Format AutoShape dialog box.
Flip or mirror
Start flipping your AutoShapes like pancakes:
- Select any of the side handles of a selected AutoShape and drag toward
the AutoShape. Keep dragging beyond the AutoShape on the other side to flip
an object. Although this is quick and easy, I prefer the next option because
it more precisely maintains the AutoShapes size.
- In the Drawing toolbar, choose Draw | Rotate or Flip and then choose either
Flip Vertical or Flip Horizontal..
The position of an object on a slide in relation to itself and other objects
can be manipulated by using these options.
Group and ungroup
Many PowerPoint tasks can be performed easier and faster with grouped objects.
Perhaps you want to animate a group of shapes all at once, or you want to move
every shape an inch to the left. PowerPoint provides functional grouping and
- Grouping in PowerPoint places more than one object in a collection
so that you can change the characteristics of objects contained
within the group at one go.
- Ungrouping in PowerPoint breaks a grouped collection back into
Follow these steps to group your shapes (or anything else):
- Select all the shapes you want to group. You can
Select one shape, then hold down the Shift or Ctrl keys while you select
Drag a marquee around the shapes you want to be grouped.
- Group the shapes by choosing Draw | Group in the Drawing toolbar.
Now you can change the position, color, size, and various other
attributes of all the grouped items simultaneously.
Follow these steps to ungroup your grouped shapes:
Select the grouped shape you want to ungroup.
Choose Draw | Ungroup in the Drawing toolbar.
Nudge or move
PowerPoint provides more than one way to nudge or move your shapes:
- Select an AutoShape and press the arrow keys on the keyboard
to nudge the shape.
- To nudge in even smaller increments, hold down the Ctrl key
while you press the arrow keys.
- From the Drawing toolbar, choose Draw | Nudge and then choose
either Up, Down, Left, or Right. You guessed rightthe
Nudge flyout menu can be dragged off to form a floating toolbar,
as shown in Figure 5-13.
- To move the AutoShape around, just select and drag it anywhere
on or off the slide.
- To move in a straight line, hold the Shift key and then select
the AutoShape and drag it horizontally or vertically.
Figure 5-13: The Nudge toolbar.
Before you align your AutoShapes, or any other element in a PowerPoint slide,
make sure that the Align or Distribute toolbar (shown in Figure 5-14) is visible
by choosing Draw | Align or Distribute and dragging the Align or Distribute
handle onto your work area. In PowerPoint, everything is on a toolbar!
Figure 5-14: The Align or Distribute toolbar.
Let us assume you have three AutoShapes on a slide. Select all three shapes
(by clicking the first one and then Shift-clicking the other two) and click
any of the six align icons on the Align or Distribute toolbar.
- Align Left: Aligns the left edge of all the AutoShapes.
The leftmost AutoShape determines the left anchor. See the second
column of AutoShapes in Figure 5-15.
- Align Center: Aligns all AutoShapes vertically along
their centers. The anchor is determined by the median center
of all the AutoShapes. See the first column of AutoShapes in
- Align Right: Aligns the right sides all the AutoShapes.
The rightmost AutoShape determines the right anchor. See the
third column of AutoShapes in Figure 5-15.
- Align Top: Aligns the tops of all AutoShapes. The topmost
AutoShape determines the top anchor.
- Align Middle: Aligns all AutoShapes horizontally along
their midlines. The anchor is determined by the median center
of all the AutoShapes.
- Align Bottom: Aligns the bottoms of all the AutoShapes.
The bottommost AutoShape determines the bottom anchor.
Figure 5-15: Alignment samples.
Center an AutoShape
Follow these steps to center an AutoShape on a PowerPoint slide:
- Select the AutoShape.
- Make sure that the Relative to Slide option is selected in
the Align or Distribute toolbar.
- Click the Align Center and the Align Middle icons.
If you have installed AutoShape Magic (the PowerPoint add-in available
on this books CD), just select the AutoShape and click the
Follow these steps if you need to center several AutoShapes on
a PowerPoint slide without altering their distances from each other:
- Select all the AutoShapes.
- Group the AutoShapes. Choose Draw | Group in the Drawing
- Make sure that the Relative to Slide option is selected in
the Align or Distribute toolbar.
- Click the Align Center and the Align Middle buttons.
- Ungroup the selected AutoShapes (if required) by choosing
Draw | Ungroup in the Drawing toolbar.
If you have AutoShape Magic installed, just select the grouped
AutoShapes and click the Center icon
Distributing AutoShapes is a great way to make sure that theyre
perfectly lined up. For example, if you want a row of 12 evenly
spaced stars, you use the Distribute command. Figure 5-16 illustrates
how distributed AutoShapes look. Assume that you have three AutoShapes
on a slide.
To distribute horizontally:
- Place all three shapes beside each other.
- Select the shapes and choose Draw | Align or Distribute |
To distribute vertically:
- Place all three shapes one below the other.
- Select the shapes and choose Draw | Align or Distribute | Distribute
Figure 5-16: Distribute samples.
Ordering brings your shapes behind or above each other. Select
any shape and choose any of the four ordering options. These can
be found in the Draw. Order option of the Drawing toolbar:
- Bring to Front: Moves the object in front of all objects
on the slide.
- Send to Back: Moves the object behind all objects on
- Bring Forward: Moves the object up one layer.
- Send Backward: Moves the object down one layer.
The Order toolbar can be dragged off to spawn a standalone toolbar,
as shown in Figure 5-17.
Figure 5-17: You decide which shapes are on top