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Playing with Shapes

Drawing tools are great aids in sprucing up your document, worksheet or slide. You may have been using it for quite sometime however there still are a few features that you might be unaware of. Tick the ones you know.

Did you know...

  • ... that you can draw a square/circle by holding down the Shift key while drawing with the rectangle/ellipse tool respectively.

  • ... that you can incline lines at precise 15 degree increments if you hold the Shift key down while drawing with the Line tool.

  • ... that you can mirror a line being drawn by keeping Ctrl pressed while drawing the line.

  • ... that you can draw a perfectly straight line by keeping Shift pressed while drawing the line.

  • ... that you can draw rectangles/ellipses with centers at the point of click by holding down the Ctrl key

  • ... that you can make the rectangle/ellipse snap to the cells in Excel by holding down the Alt key while drawing.

  • ... that you can make precise adjustments to the Shapes in PowerPoint/Word by holding down the Alt key while drawing.

  • ... that you can position a Shape even more precisely by keeping Ctrl pressed and using the keyboard instead of the mouse.

  • ... that you can duplicate a Shape by holding down Ctrl and dragging the shape to a new location.

  • ... that keeping Shift pressed & dragging a Shape keeps the shape aligned across either the horizontal axis or the vertical axis with the center of the Shape, at it's initial position, as the point of origin.

  • ...that the keys (Ctrl, Shift & Alt) can be used in various combinations. For example: Keep Ctrl+Shift pressed to obtain a circle which is centered at the point of click or Shift+Alt pressed to get precisely sized circle and so on.

  • ... that double clicking a drawing option will enable you to draw multiple shapes at a go. The mouse cursor is restored to the default only when you press Esc or another tool or unclick the same tool again.

  • ... you don't need a separate text box to write text on top of a Shape. Click on the Textbox tool and then click on the Shape.

  • ... that you can also assign a cell reference to a Shape in Excel. Thus you can make the text in a Shape dynamic.

  • ... that you can use the Format painter to copy format from one Shape to the other quickly.

  • ... that if you prefer a particular formatting (color, fill, semi-transparent, border etc) for the Shapes, you can make it the default. Right click on the Shape, selecting Format Shape. On the Colors & Lines tab, check Default for new objects and click on OK.

  • ... that you can replace a Shape with another. Select the Shape, Click on the Draw menu, click Change AutoShape and select the shape you want to replace it with.

Note: Every mention of Shapes relates not only to line, ellipse and rectangle but to all AutoShapes available unless explicitly mentioned.


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