How to Add a Shape in PowerPoint 2013

Adding shapes in PowerPoint allows you to illustrate concepts, highlight important information, and make your slides more visually appealing. PowerPoint 2013 offers a wide variety of preset shapes that you can insert, as well as tools to create custom shapes.

Insert a Basic Shape

To insert a basic shape like a rectangle, circle, arrow, etc.:

  1. On the Insert tab, click the Shapes button in the Illustrations group
  2. Select the desired shape from the dropdown menu
  3. Click and drag on the slide to draw the shape


  • Hold Shift while dragging to draw a perfectly proportioned shape
  • Double-click to automatically size the shape to fit the text
  • Right-click the shape to change the fill, outline, effects and more

Create a Custom Shape

You can create custom shapes using the Freeform tool:

  1. On the Insert tab, select Freeform under Shapes
  2. Click and drag to draw straight and curved lines
  3. Double-click to complete the shape


  • Press Ctrl and click to add extra points
  • Click and drag points to customize the shape
  • Right-click the shape to change the fill, outline, effects and more

Merge Shapes

Merge multiple shapes together:

  1. Ctrl + Click to select the shapes
  2. On the Format tab, click Merge Shapes and choose an option:
    • Union: Combines overlapping areas
    • Combine: Removes overlapping areas
    • Fragment: Breaks apart intersecting areas
    • Intersect: Keeps only intersecting areas


  • Select shapes with similar fills before merging
  • Reorder selected shapes if needed

Manipulate Shape Points

Customize the look of a shape using its edit points:

  1. Select the shape and click Edit Points on the Format tab
  2. Click and drag any point to manipulate the shape
  3. Add or remove points as needed


  • Removing points simplifies the overall shape
  • Adding points increases control over shape details

Copy a Shape’s Format

Quickly copy a shape’s fill, outline, and effects:

  1. Select the shape with desired format
  2. On the Home tab, click the Format Painter button
  3. Click the shape you want to apply the copied format to


  • Double-click Format Painter to apply format to multiple shapes
  • Press Esc to exit Format Painter mode

Set Default Shape Format

To set the default format for shapes:

  1. Add a shape and customize its look
  2. Right-click the shape and select Set as Default Shape

Now any new shapes will have that default format applied automatically.

Position, Rotate and Flip a Shape

Transform shapes as needed on the slide:

  • Move: Click and drag the shape to reposition it
  • Resize: Drag the round handles on the shape border
  • Rotate: Drag the green circle above the shape
  • Flip: Click Rotate on the Format tab and select flip option

Align and Distribute Multiple Shapes

Align and evenly space out several shapes relative to each other:

  1. Ctrl + Click to select the shapes
  2. On the Format tab, click Align and choose an alignment option
  3. Click Distribute to evenly space shapes


  • Use alignment guides that appear when moving shapes
  • Choose Align to Slide to align shapes to the slide borders

Add Text to a Shape

To add text inside a shape:

  1. Double-click the shape to add default placeholder text
  2. Type over the placeholder text to add your text


  • Click outside the shape and double-click again to edit the text
  • Format the text inside shapes just like normal text boxes

Shapes allow for endless customization and creativity in your PowerPoint slides. With a bit of practice, you can leverage shapes to bring your presentations to the next level.