How to Align Group Shapes in PowerPoint

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Karen Sorensen

Karen has a Bachelors in Communications. She has 25 years of experience in Information Systems, Adult Learning and Virtual Training.

An aesthetically pleasing PowerPoint has balance and symmetry. Discover how to align single objects, distribute objects, and align group objects in PowerPoint for this lesson. Updated: 10/07/2021

Alignment of Objects

With PowerPoint, it is all about adding objects to your slide. Objects can be images, charts, videos, and yes, shapes and text boxes. It's a simple task to add objects; however, the key to creating appealing presentations is making sure that there is some symmetry and balance when placing your objects on a slide. The alignment feature in PowerPoint helps you to arrange and position slide objects.

This lesson will explain how to align shapes on a PowerPoint slide, how to distribute them evenly, how to group multiple objects, and how the group and alignment commands are used together.

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  • 0:01 Alignment of Objects
  • 0:46 How To Align Objects
  • 3:33 Distributing Objects
  • 4:04 Aligning Grouped Objects
  • 5:52 Lesson Summary
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How to Align Objects

Objects, such as shapes and images, can be lined up horizontally or vertically, to the left, right, top, or bottom. They can be aligned in relation to each other or relative to the slide. Before we get started, you need to understand how to select multiple objects at the same time.

In our example, we have four shapes that require alignment. In order to select all objects, we will hold down the Control key and select each shape. Now that we have them selected, let's review the align menu options.

In the ribbon, go to the Drawing Tools menu and click on Format. Look in the Arrange grouping of commands and click on Align. Notice the two top sections of commands. We can align our objects to the left, the center, or the right. We can also align them across the top, middle, or bottom.

Exactly how the alignment will position your objects depends on how many objects are selected and their current placements. For example, if you select only one object and choose Align Left, it will be aligned with the left-hand side of the slide. If two or more objects are selected and you choose Align Left, the left-hand side of the objects will be aligned with the left-hand side of the left-most object.

Here are more tips:

  • Align Left, Center, and Right changes the object's horizontal positions. It does not move them up or down.
  • Align Top, Middle, and Bottom changes the object's vertical positions. It does not move them left or right.

Let's return to our four objects. We want to align the objects on the left-hand side of the slide.

  1. We'll start by moving one object to the left-hand side of the slide. You want to place the object where you want the other objects aligned.
  2. Select the objects to be aligned by holding down the Control key and clicking on each object.
  3. Go to the Drawing Tools in the ribbon and click on Format.
  4. Look in the Arrange grouping of commands and click on Align.
  5. Choose Align Left.

Notice that the shapes instantly move to the left and align with the shape you placed on the left side of the slide. However, the objects are not evenly spaced. To fix this, we can use another alignment feature called Distribute.

Distributing Objects

Our objects need to be moved so that there is an even amount of space on top and on bottom. This means we need to distribute them vertically.

In our example, we can go the Align options menu, click on Distribute Vertically and the shapes will separate. PowerPoint will create the same amount of space between each object. You can also distribute objects horizontally, meaning left to right.

Aligning Grouped Objects

The last feature we will discuss in the lesson is how to take several objects, group them together, then align the entire group. For example, let's go back to our four shapes. Suppose they are aligned on the slide from left to right. The shapes are just how we want them and distributed evenly.

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