PowerPoint 2010: Adding Callouts to Images

Callouts are useful tools in PowerPoint presentations to draw attention to specific parts of an image or diagram. They function similarly to arrows, circles, or boxes that you may draw on a whiteboard when giving a lecture.

Here are some key things to know about working with callouts in PowerPoint 2010:

What Are Callouts?

Callouts are shapes that you can add to PowerPoint slides to highlight or annotate parts of an image, chart, diagram, etc.

Some common examples of callout shapes include:

  • Speech bubbles
  • Arrows
  • Circles
  • Rectangles
  • Triangles

When you insert a callout shape onto an image, PowerPoint will automatically add a callout line that connects the callout textbox to the image area you want to highlight.

Key Benefits:

  • Draw attention to important details
  • Provide additional context or explanations
  • Improve clarity for your audience

How to Insert a Callout

Adding callouts in PowerPoint 2010 is easy:

  1. Select the Insert tab
  2. Click the Shapes button
  3. Choose a callout style from the menu
  4. Click and drag on the slide to draw the callout shape
  5. Enter text into the callout textbox

You can insert callouts onto any type of slide, including title slides, content slides, image slides, etc.

Pro Tip: Hold down the SHIFT key while dragging to lock the callout shape’s aspect ratio and prevent distortion.

Formatting Callouts

Once you’ve inserted a callout, you can format it like any other shape in PowerPoint. Some formatting options include:

Resize Callout Box

Click and drag the sizing handles on the edge of the callout shape. Hold SHIFT to maintain aspect ratio.

Reposition Callout

Click and drag the yellow handle on the callout line to move the entire callout as one object.

Change Callout Fill Color

Select the callout shape and pick a new fill color from the ribbon.

Edit Callout Text

Click inside the callout textbox and edit the text like normal. Change font, size, color, etc.

Add Callout Effects

Apply visual effects to the callouts from the ribbon, e.g. shadows, 3D rotation, bevels, glows.

Callout Tips and Ideas

Here are some useful ways you can use callouts to enhance your PowerPoint slides:

  • Explain parts of a complex diagram
  • Highlight key data points in a chart
  • Draw attention to people in photos
  • Annotate screenshots to point out features
  • Provide definitions for technical terms/acronyms
  • Translate text into other languages
  • Link related points across a slide
  • Number items you want the audience to view sequentially
  • Blur sensitive info rather than removing it entirely

With a bit of creativity, callouts can significantly improve the clarity of your slides and presentations. They help steer your audience’s focus to what matters most.

Overusing callouts can make slides feel too busy, so apply them judiciously. As a general rule, limit to 1-2 callouts per slide.

Alternatives to Built-In Callouts

PowerPoint’s default callout shapes don’t always fit what you need. Here are some alternatives:

  • Draw your own callouts using lines, arrows, basic shapes
  • Use icons instead of text for a clean and simple look
  • Screenshot editor to annotate images before bringing them into PowerPoint
  • Download callout packs with more shape varieties

At the end of the day, the exact callout style doesn’t really matter. Pick whatever communicates your message clearly and draws your audience’s attention to the right place.


  1. Callouts highlight parts of a slide, like diagrams or images
  2. Insert them from the Shapes menu in the Insert tab
  3. Format callouts just like any other shape or text box
  4. Use sparingly, limit to 1-2 per slide
  5. Get creative with callout styles – make your own or use icons!

Adding well-designed callouts to your PowerPoint slides can really take your presentations to the next level. Use them to call attention to key elements and provide additional context when needed.