Arranging Objects

In PowerPoint align objects so they look more appealing and use the PowerPoint order of objects feature to rearrange them how you want.

Introduction

Video: Arranging Objects

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In PowerPoint, each slide may have multiple items, such as pictures, shapes, and text boxes. You can arrange the objects the way you want by aligning, ordering, grouping, and rotating them in various ways.

Optional: Download our practice presentation.

Aligning objects

When you move objects in PowerPoint, alignment guides and spacing guides will appear around the objects to help you align them. However, if you have many different objects on a slide, it may be difficult and time consuming to get them perfectly aligned. Luckily, PowerPoint provides you with several alignment commands that allow you to easily arrange and position objects.

Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013The alignment and spacing guides

To align two or more objects:

  1. Click and drag your mouse to form a selection box around the objects you want to align. The Format tab will appear.


    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Selecting multiple objects
  2. From the Format tab, click the Align command, then select Align Selected Objects.


    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Choosing Align Selected Objects
  3. Click the Align command again, then select one of the six alignment options.


    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Choosing an alignment option
  4. The objects will align based on the option you selected.


    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013The aligned objects

To align objects to the slide:

Sometimes you may want to align one or more objects to a specific location within the slide, such as at the top or bottom. You can do this by simply selecting the Align to Slide option before you align the objects.

  1. Click and drag your mouse to form a selection box around the objects you want to align.
  2. From the Format tab, click the Align command, then select Align to Slide.


    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Selecting Align to Slide
  3. Click the Align command again, then select one of the six alignment options.


    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Aligning objects to the bottom of the slide
  4. The objects will align based on the option you selected.


    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013The aligned objects

To distribute objects evenly:

If you have arranged objects in a row or column, you may want them to be an equal distance from one another for a neater appearance. You can do this by distributing the objects horizontally or vertically.

  1. Click and drag your mouse to form a selection box around the objects you want to align.
  2. From the Format tab, click the Align command, then select Align to Slide or Align Selected Objects.


    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Choosing Align Selected Objects
  3. Click the Align command again, then select Distribute Horizontally or Distribute Vertically from the drop-down menu that appears.


    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Choosing a distribute option
  4. The objects will distribute evenly.


    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Objects distributed evenly

Ordering objects

In addition to aligning objects, PowerPoint gives you the ability to arrange objects in a specific order. The ordering is important when two or more objects overlap because it will determine which objects are in the front or the back.

Understanding levels

When objects are inserted into a slide, they are placed on levels according to the order in which they were inserted into the slide. In the image below, the rectangle is on the top level, but we can change the level to put it behind the other objects.

Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013The top level

To change the ordering by one level:

  1. Select an object. The Format tab will appear.


    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013The selected object
  2. From the Format tab, click the Bring Forward or Send Backward command to change the object's ordering by one level. If there are multiple objects on the slide, you may need to click the command several times to achieve the desired ordering.


    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Sending an object backward
  3. The objects will reorder.


    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013The reordered objects

To bring an object to the front or back:

If you want to move an object behind or in front of several objects, it's usually faster to bring it to front or send it to back instead of clicking the ordering commands multiple times.

  1. Select an object.
  2. From the Format tab, click the Bring Forward or Send Backward drop-down box.
  3. From the drop-down menu, select Bring to Front or Send to Back.


    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Sending an object to the back
  4. The objects will reorder.


    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013The reordered objects

If you have several objects placed on top of each other, it may be difficult to select an individual object. The Selection Pane allows you to easily drag an object to a new location. To access the Selection pane, click Selection Pane on the Format Tab.

Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Arranging objects in the Selection Pane

Rotating objects

If you need to turn an object so it faces a different direction, you can rotate it to the left or right or flip it horizontally or vertically.

To rotate an object:

  1. Select an object. The Format tab will appear.
  2. From the Format tab, click the Rotate command. A drop-down menu will appear.
  3. Select the desired rotation option.


    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Selecting a rotation option
  4. The object will rotate.


    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013The rotated image

Grouping objects

You may want to group multiple objects into one object so they will stay together if they are moved or resized. This is often easier than selecting all of the objects each time you want to move them.

Pictures, shapes, clip art, and text boxes can all be grouped together; however, placeholders cannot be grouped. If you will be grouping pictures, use one of the commands in the Images group on the Insert tab to insert pictures instead of the picture icon inside the placeholder.

Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013The Images group on the Insert tab

To group objects:

  1. Click and drag your mouse to form a selection box around the objects you want to group. The Format tab will appear.


    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Selecting multiple objects
  2. From the Format tab, click the Group command, then select Group.


    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Grouping objects
  3. The selected objects will now be grouped. There will be a single box with sizing handles around the entire group to show that they are one group. You can now move or resize all of the objects at once.


    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013The grouped objects

If you want to edit or move one of the objects in the group, double-click to select the object. You can then edit it or move it to the desired location.

Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Selecting an object within a group

If you select the objects and the Group command is disabled, it may be because one of the objects is inside a placeholder. If this happens, try reinserting the images by using the Pictures command on the Insert tab.

Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013The Pictures command

To ungroup objects:

  1. Select the grouped object you want to ungroup.
  2. From the Format tab, click the Group command, then select Ungroup.


    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013Ungrouping objects
  3. The objects will be ungrouped.


    Screenshot of PowerPoint 2013The ungrouped objects

Challenge!

  1. Open an existing PowerPoint presentation. If you want, you can download our practice presentation.
  2. Practice using the align options from the Align command. If you're using the example, align the images in slide 3.
  3. Practice using the rotate options.
  4. Create a new shape, and practice using the rotate options.
  5. Send the shape behind the other objects.
  6. Group the objects into one object.
  7. Move the grouped object to a new location on the slide.
  8. Ungroup the object.