Customize shapes

We have inserted a shape into a slide and later realize that it doesn’t really fit. No wonder with the hundreds of shapes PowerPoint offers, the choice is not always easy. PowerPoint offers many ways to customize a shape. This chapter shows the most important functions.

Set size

When shapes are selected, they reveal handles. This way PowerPoint signals us that the shape can be enlarged or reduced in all directions – with the help of the handles.

Note: Graphics, placeholders, and other slide elements also have handles.

First, we select a shape so that the handles appear.


When we move our mouse pointer over a handle, it turns into a double arrow. Now we click and move our mouse outward with the key held down to enlarge the shape. PowerPoint shows us at the same time what the finished shape will look like.


Hinweis: Der sich kreisende Pfeil über der Form ist ein spezieller Ziehpunkt. Er wird ebenfalls gegriffen und dreht die Form in eine Richtung, ohne die Größe zu verändern.

While grabbing a handle you should press the shift key to keep the proportions the same. Otherwise, changed shapes or images will quickly look a bit crooked.


Edit shape

First, we select a shape that we want to adjust.


Then we navigate to the Format tab (Drawing Tools) and click the Edit Shape button in the Insert Shapes area.


A small menu will open. Here we select the Change shape option and click on the shape that should replace our old shape. In our example we select … .


Our shape has been adjusted accordingly. The size of the new shape can be resized using the handles (as described in the Adjusting Shapes chapter).


Die Größe und Proportionen der vorherigen Form werden nicht verändert. Deshalb sehen die neuen Formen manchmal verzerrt aus.

Apply integrated design points

Many shapes have integrated design points. These are yellow dots that help us to adapt the shape to our presentation without much effort. In this exercise, we will insert the block arrow Right Arrow as described above.


We select the shape and click on the yellow dot on the left side.


With the mouse button held down, we drag this yellow point. Immediately we see the effects and release the mouse button only when we are satisfied with the setting. The further out the yellow point is, the thinner the arrow style becomes, or larger the arrow head.


Note: Other shapes have different or multiple yellow dots that affect the shape differently

Once we have created an individual shape, it is tedious to create the same shapes with the same procedure. Therefore, we select a desired shape and press the CTRL+d key combination. This will create an exact copy of the shape with identical properties.


Shapes individually deform

To create a truly individual presentation, we can craft our own shapes.

Shapes can not only be exchanged as often as desired, they can also be freely deformed. To do this, we select the desired shape with a click. As in the example above, we use a block arrow pointing to the right as the shape.


Then, in the Format tab (Drawing Tools), in the Insert Shapes area, we click the Edit Shape button (as in step 2).


Edit points is selected.


Depending on the selected shape, we will see a red frame and many smaller black boxes around the shape. With the boxes we deform the figure at their position. Clicking on the red frame creates a new black box to edit the shape at that point.


Note: In picture we have inserted a black box to show how it can look. It is not necessary to inflate the shape with more boxes. They should be used only when it is necessary.

With the mouse button pressed, we click on a black box and drag it to an appropriate place.


Note: use the keyboard combination CTRL+z to undo failed deformation attempts.

This is what the result looks like after a few more steps…