How can I easily align shapes in PowerPoint?

How can I easily align shapes in PowerPoint?


Can I align to first selected object in PowerPoint?
PPT Productivity makes aligning shapes in PowerPoint fast and easy and provides more alignment options and shortcuts – including the option to align to the first selected object.

Properly aligned shapes and objects are key to making your presentation look professional and well laid out.  PPT Productivity’s founders all came out of Management Consulting.  Alignment and consistency across slides is particularly important in consulting, as the slide deck is typically the main deliverable your client receives at the end of a project. 

How do you align shapes and objects in PowerPoint?
To align multiple shapes or objects in standard PowerPoint you need to select the objects you want to align by clicking the first object, then press and hold Ctrl while you click the other objects.  You then need to navigate to the align menu on the Shape Format ribbon, and then select your required alignment option from the menu.

To align a picture or image you need to select the Picture Format tab, open the drop down ‘Align’ menu and choose whether you want to align by Left, Center, Right, Top, Middle, Bottom or align to the slide.

If you want to align a shape, text box, or WordArt, after selecting your objects, you go to the Shape Format tab, open the ‘Align’ drop down menu and make your alignment selection (i.e. Left, Center, Right, Top, Middle, Bottom or align to the slide).

By default, objects will all be aligned by the most extreme/ outermost positioned shape.

What features and shortcuts does PPT Productivity have to make alignment faster?  Does PPT Productivity offer a feature in PowerPoint to align objects relative to each other?
PPT Productivity offers additional alignment options, exposes them for fast access via a shapes toolbar which docks to the left hand side of your screen and provides access to the features via customizable shortcut keys.

Using PPT Productivity it’s much faster to align objects on your slide. Simply select your shapes, pictures, text boxes, or other objects, then click the relevant alignment button from the Shapes Toolbar on the left-hand side of your screen.  The Shapes Toolbar includes feature buttons to align left, right, top, bottom, centered horizontally and centered vertically. 

In addition, PPT Productivity provides an option to align to most extreme position OR align to first shape selected, an option not available in standard PowerPoint.  For PPT Productivity users, pressing the CTRL key while selecting the preferred alignment option from the Shapes Toolbar overrides the default alignment to the most extreme positioned and enables you to instead align to the first shape selected. If you would prefer align to the first object selected in PowerPoint to be your default, you can update your preferences in the PPT Productivity settings to permanently set this.

Aligning to the No Fly Zone
PPT Productivity has a ‘No Fly Zone’ feature.  The intent of this feature is to enable you to set a border on your slide where text and objects should not be placed.  The feature was created with Marketing and Branding teams in mind – to prevent the slide branding from being obscured by text. 

When only one object is selected, click the align function and your object will be aligned to the to the No Fly Zone. Clicking the Ctrl key when making your alignment selection will override this and switch back to the PowerPoint default of aligning the object to the edge of the slide.

How to align objects on multiple slides in PowerPoint
Have you ever noticed how distracting it is when reading through a presentation online and the text boxes or frameworks ‘jump’ position from one slide to the next? Aligning shapes or objects across slides is something we have solved for you!   PPT Productivity enables you to consistently align a shape or object across slides.  This is very useful for example to quickly correct textbox misalignments, or when using a framework across multiple slides.

The feature is accessed via two buttons on the shapes toolbar – a remember shape position button and a set shape position button.  To align a shape or object into a consistent position across multiple slides simply select the relevant shape on the first slide (ensuring it’s in the preferred position).  Click the ‘remember shape position’ button or shortcut keys ALT + C, then navigate to the shape on the slide that you want to align to the first shape and click ‘set shape position’ (or keyboard shortcut ALT + V).

Aligning with shortcut keys
You can also use shortcut keys for alignment.  With PPT Productivity you have access to shortcut keys for more features than standard PowerPoint.  PowerPoint assigns default shortcut keys to only 193 of its 800+ commands, but PPT Productivity allows you to assign shortcut keys to any PowerPoint command (including all PPT Productivity features).  You have the option to use the standard PowerPoint shortcut key combinations or you can create customized shortcut key combinations.  For example – change a standard shortcut key combination to one that you find easier to remember given your preferred language or easier to use based on your keyboard configuration. 

For example – the standard PowerPoint shortcut key combinations are as follows:

Align top: CTRL + ALT + SHIFT + T

Align bottom: CTRL + ALT + SHIFT + B

Align left: CTRL + ALT + SHIFT + L

Align right: CTRL + ALT + SHIFT + R

Align middle: CTRL + ALT + SHIFT + M

PPT Productivity also enables you to use shortcut key combinations for the following alignment tasks (which PowerPoint does not offer shortcut key combinations for).  PPT Productivity provides pre-set shortcut key options (shown below), but you can also customize them to any available key combination:

Swap positions: Ctrl+Alt+Shift+S

Swap positions horizontally: Ctrl+Alt+Shift+~

Swap positions vertically: Ctrl+Alt+Shift+!

Remember shape position: ALT + C

Set shape position: ALT + V

You can read more about the Customizable Shortcut Key features and the full set of additional shortcut keys offered in PPT Productivity on our Shortcut Keys feature page.

For more information about productivity tools to make aligning objects in PowerPoint faster and easier,  visit our Align shapes feature page.

Want to create polished presentations faster? With PPT Productivity, boost your team's productivity with faster formatting, easier editing, collaboration tools and more! If you're not yet using PPT Productivity, download our free 30 day trial today. We offer free one-on-one training and flexible licensing to suit individuals, teams or enterprise.

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