Use this simple keyboard trick to produce perfect squares, circles and other shapes in Microsoft PowerPoint.
PowerPoint doesn't offer a square or circle AutoShape. You can create one, but there isn't a built-in option that automatically produces one. Instead, you must start with the rectangle and oval AutoShape objects. All that really means is that producing a perfect square or circle can be difficult. Try it out. With a blank slide, do the following to add a circle or square:
PowerPoint 2007 and 2010
|Click the AutoShapes dropdown on the Drawing toolbar.||Click the Insert tab.|
|Choose Basic Shapes | Oval.||In the Illustrations group, click Shapes | Basic Shapes | Oval.|
|Click the slide and drag to create a reasonable circle.||Click the slide and drag to create a reasonable circle.|
Sometimes it helps if you display gridlines as follows:
- Right-click the slide (not the circle).
- Choose Grid and Guides.
- In the resulting dialog box, uncheck Snap Objects to Grid in the Snap To section.
- Check Display Grid On Screen in the Grid Settings section.
- Click OK.
It's not as easy as it looks! You can get close, but with closer inspection, you'll usually find the shape is just a little off. The proportions are hard to perfect freehand. Now, it might not matter. If close enough is fine--great! For those times when close enough isn't enough, there's an easy keyboard trick.
The next time you need a proportionally correct circle or square, repeat the steps provided earlier, with one difference: Hold down the [Shift] key and then draw the shape. Be sure to release the mouse before you release the [Shift] key. Adding [Shift] to the process forces PowerPoint to perfect your best effort. If you try to force an oval by dragging straight down or across, PowerPoint will still produce a perfect circle. In this side-by-side comparison, it's easy to see that the first circle really is not a true circle.
You can use the [Shift] key to draw other perfect shapes, such as stars, octagons, triangles, and so on.