Align Shapes, Images and Other Objects in PowerPoint

by Avantix Learning Team | Updated May 5, 2020

Applies to: Microsoft® PowerPoint® 2013, 2016, 2019 and 365 (Windows)

You can align objects on your PowerPoint slides in several ways. Objects you align may be shapes, images, placeholders or text boxes. However, you can also align charts, tables and SmartArt objects. The most common way to align objects is to use the Align command which appears on multiple tabs in the Ribbon.

Note: Buttons and Ribbon tabs may display in a different way (with or without text) depending on your version of PowerPoint, the size of your screen and your Control Panel settings. For PowerPoint 365 users, Ribbon tabs may appear with different names. For example, the Picture Tools Format tab may appear as Picture Format and the Drawing Tools Format tab may appear as Drawing Format or Shape Format.

Recommended article: How to Compress PowerPoint File Size (10 Ways to Reduce the Size of PowerPoint Presentations)

Aligning objects using the Align command

You can use the Align command in the Ribbon to align objects.

Below is the Align command in PowerPoint 365 on a 17 inch screen:

Alignment command on the Ribbon in PowerPoint.

To align objects using the Align command in the Ribbon:

  1. Select the objects by clicking the first object and then pressing Shift or Ctrl and clicking on the other objects. If you are selecting a text box or placeholder, Shift or Ctrl-click its edge. You can also select multiple objects by clicking in a blank area and dragging around them.
  2. Click the Format tab in the Ribbon. This tab may appear as Picture Tools Format, Picture Format, Drawing Tools Format, Drawing Format, Shape Format or Graphic Format depending on the objects you have selected and your version of PowerPoint. Alternatively, you can also click the Home tab.
  3. In the Arrange group, click Align. A drop-down menu appears. Align selected objects should be selected. If it is not selected, choose Align selected objects and then click Align again.
  4. Select Align Left, Align Center, Align Right, Align Top, Align Middle or Align Bottom.

The alignment options align selected objects as follows:

  • Align Left aligns objects along their left edges
  • Align Center aligns objects vertically through their centers
  • Align Right aligns objects along their right edges
  • Align Top aligns objects along their top edges
  • Align Middle aligns objects horizontally through their middles
  • Align Bottom aligns objects along their bottom edges

Note: Align is not available when you right-click and display the context or drop-down menu.

You can right-click Align in the Ribbon and select Add to Quick Access Toolbar from the drop-down menu to add it to the Quick Access Toolbar (which appears above or below the Ribbon).

In the following example, the objects in the middle of the slide have been aligned by their top edges:

Aligning objects by their top edges in PowrePoint.

Aligning an object or objects to the slide

You can also align an object or objects to the slide. It’s usually best to align one object (which could be a grouped object) to the slide.

To align an object or objects to the slide using the Align command in the Ribbon:

  1. Select the object or objects by clicking the first object and then pressing Shift or Ctrl and clicking on the other objects. If you are selecting a text box or placeholder, Shift or Ctrl-click its edge. You can also select multiple objects by clicking in a blank area and dragging around them.
  2. Click the Format tab in the Ribbon. This tab may appear as Picture Tools Format, Picture Format, Drawing Tools Format, Drawing Format, Shape Format or Graphic Format depending on the objects you have selected and your version of PowerPoint. Alternatively, you can also click the Home tab.
  3. In the Arrange group, click Align. A drop-down menu appears.
  4. Select Align to Slide if it is not selected.
  5. Click Align again.
  6. From the drop-down menu, select Align Left, Align Center, Align Right, Align Top, Align Middle or Align Bottom.

Aligning objects using guides

You can also display guides (static guides) and use them to align objects. Smart Guides may also appear when you drag objects.

To use guides to align objects:

  1. Right-click in a blank area of the slide.
  2. Select Grids and Guides from the drop-down menu.
  3. Select Guides from the sub-menu to show the guides. Note that these guides are different from gridlines or Smart Guides. PowerPoint displays a horizontal and vertical guide by default.
  4. Drag the guides to the desired location. You can also right-click a guide and add a new guide.
  5. Select each object and drag it to the guide to align it.
  6. Repeat for other objects.
  7. Right-click in a blank area of the slide.
  8. Select Grids and Guides from the drop-down menu.
  9. Select Guides from the sub-menu to hide the guides.

You can also show and hide guides using the View tab in the Ribbon.

In the example below, we’ve displayed guides and used them to align icons by their top edges (guides may be difficult to see because they are a light grey by default):

Guides used to align objects in PowerPoint.

In PowerPoint 2013 and later versions, you can right-click a guide and change its color.

When an object is close to a guide, it will normally snap to the guide. Objects may also align to an invisible grid when you are moving them. To turn this off, check out How to Turn Off Snap to Grid in PowerPoint.

Copying and aligning objects

When you copy multiple objects, you can align them as well.

To copy an object and align it with the first object:

  1. Select an object. If the object is a text box or placeholder, click its edge.
  2. Press Ctrl and Shift and drag the object to a new location to make a copy. If you press Ctrl while you drag an object, PowerPoint makes a copy of the object. If you press Shift as well as Ctrl, the object will stay aligned with the previous object. Do not perform any other actions.
  3. Press Ctrl + Y to repeat. Another object will be created to the right or below the second object and aligned with the previous object.
  4. Continue pressing Ctrl + Y to make more copies of the object.

Use alignment to align PowerPoint objects and create well-designed slides. Unfortunately, there is not a built-in keyboard shortcut to align objects so consider adding Align to your Quick Access Toolbar.

Subscribe to get more articles like this one

Did you find this article helpful? If you would like to receive new articles, join our email list.

Recommended Microsoft Office courses

Microsoft PowerPoint: Intermediate / Advanced

Microsoft PowerPoint: Design for Non-Designers

Microsoft PowerPoint: Animations Bootcamp

Microsoft Excel: Intermediate / Advanced

VIEW MORE COURSES >

Avantix Learning instructor-led classroom courses are held in downtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Contact us if you’d like to arrange custom training at your site or ours.

To request this page in an alternate format, contact us.

Copyright 2020 Avantix® Learning Inc.

You may also like

How to Group by Month and Year in a Pivot Table in Excel

How to Group by Month and Year in a Pivot Table in Excel

You can group by month, year or other date period in a pivot table in Excel. One option is to group by date periods in a pivot table using the Grouping feature. Alternatively, you can also create calculations in source data to extract the month name and the year from a date field and use the fields in your pivot table.

How to Rotate Objects in PowerPoint (4 Ways)

How to Rotate Objects in PowerPoint (4 Ways)

You can rotate objects in PowerPoint by dragging the rotation handle, entering an exact rotation amount or by using keyboard shortcuts. To rotate an object means to turn it around its center. Shapes, images and other objects can be rotated in Normal View or Slide Master View.

How to Compress Images in PowerPoint to Reduce File Size

How to Compress Images in PowerPoint to Reduce File Size

There are many strategies you can use to compress images in PowerPoint presentations to reduce file size. It’s common to use built-in compression features in PowerPoint to make large files smaller but you can also reduce image size before you insert pictures on your slides.

Microsoft, the Microsoft logo, Microsoft Office and related Microsoft applications and logos are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in Canada, US and other countries. All other trademarks are the property of the registered owners.

Avantix Learning | 1 Yonge Street, Suite 1801 (Toronto Star Building), Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5E 1W7 | info@avantixlearning.ca

Summary
How to Align Objects on PowerPoint Slides
Article Name
How to Align Objects on PowerPoint Slides
Description
You can align objects on your PowerPoint slides in several ways. Objects you align may be shapes, images, placeholders or text boxes. However, you can also align charts, tables and SmartArt objects. The most common way to align objects is to use the Align command which appears on multiple tabs in the Ribbon.
Author
Publisher Name
Avantix Learning Inc.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This