Use PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts to Align Text or Objects
by Avantix Learning Team | Updated January 3, 2022
Applies to: Microsoft® PowerPoint® 2013, 2016, 2019 and 365 (Windows)
If you want to align text or objects in PowerPoint, you can use several keyboard shortcuts. Although there are built-in keyboard shortcuts to align text in placeholders or text boxes, you will need to do some customizing to create simple keyboard shortcuts to align objects.
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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 Drawing Tools Format tab may appear as Drawing Format or Shape Format. Screenshots in this article are from 365 but are similar in previous versions of PowerPoint.
Aligning text using keyboard shortcuts
To use keyboard shortcuts to align text in a placeholder or text box, select the text and then press the following keys:
- Ctrl + E to center text
- Ctrl + L to left align text
- Ctrl + R to right align text
Aligning objects using custom shortcuts
In PowerPoint, you can customize both the Quick Access Toolbar and the Ribbon and add commands to make it easier to edit presentations. Commands that are added to the Ribbon or the Quick Access Toolbar can be accessed via your keyboard. A great way to create keyboard shortcuts for aligning objects is to add an Align Objects command to the Quick Access Toolbar.
You may want to place the Quick Access Toolbar below the Ribbon so it's easy to view it. To do this, click the down arrow to the right of the Quick Access Toolbar (which is typically above the Ribbon) and select Show Below the Ribbon from the drop-down menu. If the Quick Access Toolbar is hidden, right-click in the Ribbon and select Show Quick Access Toolbar.
To customize the Quick Access Toolbar and add an Align Objects command:
- Click the arrow to the right of the Quick Access Toolbar.
- Choose More Commands. A dialog box appears. Note that Quick Access Toolbar is selected on the left.
- From the drop-down menu under Choose commands from, select All Commands.
- Click the command you want to add on the left. In this case, click Align Objects.
- Click Add.
- The command will be added to the Quick Access Toolbar commands on the right.
- With the command selected on the right, click the up arrow (and continue clicking) to move the button to the top of the list. You can also move it to the second, third, fourth or other position.
- Click OK.
The PowerPoint Options dialog box appears as follows with the Quick Access Toolbar category selected:
If you have added the Align Objects command to the first position in the Quick Access Toolbar, select one or more objects (typically by Shift-clicking each object) on a slide and then press Alt and then 1 to access the command (do not press Alt + 1 at the same time). You would press Alt and then 2 if you placed the command in the second position and so on. A drop-down menu will appear with key tips. Press the appropriate letter to apply the alignment you want. For example, press the letter c to center (you do not need to press Shift for capital c).
Below is the drop-down menu with key tips (which appear only if you have accessed the command using Alt):
Although you can access the Ribbon by pressing Alt and then the appropriate key tip letter, there would be several steps to align using this method.
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