Posted: March 26, 2014

Creating diagrams and flow charts can be a fiddly business.  However, it doesn’t need to be like this.

In this post I want to share tips that will save you loads of time.  I love sharing these tips in my PowerPoint sessions.  They never fail to make people smile.  The comment, “if only I had known this yesterday” is heard many times.

Lock the Drawing Mode

Turn Drawing Mode on so that you can insert as many Shape objects as you need without having to re-select the Shape tool each time.

To lock a shape into Drawing Mode:

  1. Click the Insert tab and then click Shapes.
  2. Right-click a suitable Shape from the gallery and then select Lock in Drawing Mode.
  3. Click and drag to draw the Shape as many times as you require.
  4. Press Esc to leave Drawing Mode.

Constraining shapes in your presentation

When you need a perfect shape follow the steps below.

  1. Click a shape tool, for example the Rectangle tool.
  2. Position the mouse pointer on the slide.  Click once on the slide and PowerPoint will place a perfect shape, e.g. the rectangle tool will create a perfect square, the ellipse, a perfect circle and the line tool a line on a 45 degree angle.
  3. If you need to resize the object be sure to press SHIFT while you resize.  The SHIFT key constrains the shape and ensures it keeps the original shape.
  4. To constrain the image press SHIFT as you resize the object


Connecting Shapes

A connector is a line that connects two shapes together.  The wonderful thing about using connectors is that if you move a shape the line stays attached to the shape.  This saves you from the hassle of having to reconnect lines every time you move a shape.

To create connector lines:

  1. First insert on to the slide the two shapes that you want to connect.
  2. From the Shapes gallery select an arrow, line or connector shape from the Lines group.
  3. Move the mouse pointer on top of the first shape.  You will notice the shape handles turn red.
  4. Place the mouse pointer over one of the red handles and then click and drag and draw the line over to a handle on the second shape.  You will notice that as you move the mouse over the second shape its handles will turn red.  Place the mouse pointer on to a red handle and then release your mouse.
  5. Now when either shape is moved the line connecting the two shapes stays connected.

Selecting shapes

  • To quickly select a group of images, place the mouse pointer at the top left of the group and then click and drag to draw a “lasso” over the group.  When you release your mouse pointer all shapes within the group will be selected.
  • To individually select or de-select shapes press SHIFT and then click the shape.


Aligning shapes

  • To align shapes, drag the shape and place it near to another.  PowerPoint will display an alignment bar on the screen.  Use the bar to align the two shapes.
  • To “nudge a shape using minute movement, first select the shape and then press CTRL and a keyboard directional arrow key.
  • Select the shapes to be aligned and then from the Format tab select Align objects.  Select the alignment you require.

Changing a shape

You can easily change the shape and still retain its formatting and any text you may have inserted into it.  For example, if you want to change a rectangle to rounded rectangle, from the Format tab, in the Insert group you would select Edit Shape.  Select Change shape and then select the shape you require from the gallery.

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