Working with Shapes and Objects

Use Publisher 2010 shapes and objects to design your publication. Also learn how to navigate the Publisher 2010 objects toolbar.

Introduction

Publisher 2010

In Publisher, the components of any publication are called objects. You've already worked with text boxes, which are one type of object. Publisher offers decorative objects as well, including shapes and Building Blocks.

In this lesson, you'll learn how to create and modify shapes and Building Blocks. You'll also learn how to align, group, and arrange objects of all types.

Working with shapes

Video: Working with Shapes in Publisher 2010

Launch video!Watch the video (2:45).

Using shapes and objects is an easy way add graphic design elements to your publication. While you may not need shapes in every publication you create, they can add visual appeal.

To insert a shape:

  1. Select the Insert tab, then locate the Illustrations group.
  2. Click the Shapes drop-down command.
    The Shapes drop-down commandThe Shapes drop-down command
  3. Select a shape from the drop-down menu.
    Selecting a shapeSelecting a shape
  4. Click and drag the mouse until the shape is the desired size.
    Clicking and dragging to create a shapeClicking and dragging to create a shape
  5. Release the mouse button. The shape will be added to your publication.
    The added shapeThe added shape

To resize a shape:

  1. Select the shape.
  2. Click and drag one of the sizing handles on the corners and sides of the text box until it is the desired size. You can:
    • Drag the top or bottom sizing handles to modify shape height
    • Drag the side handles to modify shape width
    • Drag the corner handles to modify height and width at the same time
    Resizing a shapeResizing a shape
  3. To rotate the shape, click and drag the green handle.
    Rotating the shapeRotating a shape
  4. Some shapes also have one or more yellow handles that can be used to modify the shape. For example, with this sun shape you can adjust the diameter of the center circle and the length of the points.
    Modifying the shape with its yellow handleModifying a shape with the yellow handle

If you hold down the shift key while resizing a shape, the shape will keep its proportions instead of getting stretched out. For instance, if you hold down the shift key while you resize a square, the final shape will remain a perfect square with four equal sides.

Shapes that have been resized with the shift keyShapes that have been resized with the shift key

Modifying shapes

To change to a different shape:

  1. Select the shape, then click the Format tab and locate the Shape Styles group.
  2. Click the Change Shape drop-down command.
    The Change Shape drop-down commandThe Change Shape drop-down command
  3. A drop-down list will appear. Select the desired shape.
    Selecting a new shapeSelecting a new shape
  4. The shape will be changed.
    The changed shapeThe changed shape

To change shape style:

  1. Select the shape, then click the Format tab and locate the Shape Styles group.
  2. Click the More Shape Styles drop-down arrow.
    The More Shape Styles drop-down arrowThe More Shape Styles drop-down arrow
  3. A drop-down list of styles will appear. Move your cursor over the styles to see a live preview of the style in your publication, then select the desired style.
    Selecting and previewing a shape styleSelecting and previewing a shape style
  4. The style will be applied to the shape.
    The shape, with the style appliedThe shape, with the style applied

To change the shape fill color:

  1. Select the shape, then click the Format tab and locate the Shape Styles group.
  2. Click the Shape Fill drop-down command.
    The Shape Fill drop-down commandThe Shape Fill drop-down command
  3. A drop-down list of colors will appear. Select the desired fill color from the list. You can also choose No Fill to remove the fill from your shape or More Fill Colors to select a custom color.
    Shape fill optionsShape fill options
  4. The new fill color will be applied.
    The shape, with the new fill appliedThe recolored shape

To change the shape outline:

  1. Select the shape, then click the Format tab and locate the Shape Styles group.
  2. Click the Shape Outline drop-down command.
    The Shape Outline drop-down commandThe Shape Outline drop-down command
  3. A drop-down list of options will appear. Select the desired outline color from the list. You can also choose No Outline to remove the outline from your shape or More Outline Colors to select a custom color.
    Selecting and previewing an outline colorSelecting and previewing an outline color
  4. If desired, further modify your shape outline by changing the outline's weight (thickness) and whether or not it is a dashed line.
    Applying a thicker outlineApplying a thicker outline
  5. The shape outline will be modified.
    The updated shapeThe updated shape

To add a shadow:

  1. Select the shape, then click the Format tab and locate the Shadow Effects group.
  2. Click the Shadow Effects drop-down command.
    The Shadow Effects drop-down commandThe Shadow Effects drop-down command
  3. A drop-down menu with a list of shadow choices will appear. Move your mouse over a shadow effect to see a live preview of it in your publication.
    Selecting and previewing a shadow effectSelecting and previewing a shadow effect
  4. Click the desired shadow effect to apply it to your shape.
    The shape, now with a shadowThe shape, now with a shadow

You can select Shadow Options from the drop-down menu and click the Color button to select a different shadow color for your shape.

Applying a different shadow colorApplying a different shadow color

Working with Building Blocks

Building Blocks are another type of object in Publisher. They usually contain some combination of text, shapes, and images, and they're meant to enhance the appearance of your publication. Once you insert a Building Block, you can modify it to suit your needs.

Types of Building Blocks:

There are four types of Building Blocks:

To insert a Building Block:

  1. Select the Insert tab, then locate the Building Blocks group.
  2. Click one of the four Building Block drop-down commands.
    The Building Blocks group of commandsThe Building Blocks group of commands
  3. A drop-down menu will appear with Building Block styles and options. Select the desired Building Block.
    Building Blocks optionsBuilding Blocks options
  4. The Building Block will be inserted.
    The inserted Building BlockThe inserted Building Block
  5. If desired, modify the Building Block's text and formatting until you are satisfied with its appearance.
    The modified building blockThe modified building block

Arranging objects

Video: Arranging Objects in Publisher 2010

Launch video!Watch the video (3:07).

Publisher offers a number of tools to help you arrange and order your objects. These tools work for any object, and they can help you lay out your pages quickly and precisely.

Aligning

You can click and drag objects to align them manually, but this can be difficult and time consuming. Publisher includes several commands that allow you to align your objects quickly and precisely. Objects can be aligned to each other or to the page.

To align two or more objects:

  1. Click and drag your mouse to form a selection box around the objects you want to align. All of the objects will now have sizing handles to show that they are selected.
    Selecting multiple objectsSelecting multiple objects
  2. Click the Format tab, then locate the Arrange group.
  3. Click the Align drop-down command.
    The Align drop-down commandThe Align drop-down command
  4. Select one of the six alignment options.
    Alignment optionsAlignment options
  5. The objects will align to each other based on the option you have selected.
    The objects, now alignedThe objects are now aligned

Another way to select multiple objects at once is to simply hold down the shift key and click each object you wish to select.

Hold down the shift key to select multiple objects at onceSelecting multiple objects at once

To align objects to the page:

  1. Select the object or objects you want to align.
  2. Click the Format tab, then locate the Arrange group.
  3. Click the Align drop-down command.
    The Align drop-down commandThe Align drop-down command
  4. From the drop-down list that appears, select Relative to Margin Guides.
    Choosing to align to the page marginsChoosing to align to the page margins
  5. Select one of the six alignment options.
    Alignment optionsAlignment options
  6. The objects will align to the page based on the option you have selected.
    The object, now aligned to the middle of the pageThe object, now aligned to the middle of the page

Distributing 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.

To distribute objects:

  1. Select the objects you want to align.
  2. Click the Format tab, then locate the Arrange group.
  3. Click the Align drop-down command.
    The Align drop-down commandThe Align drop-down command
  4. From the drop-down menu that appears, select Distribute Horizontally or Distribute Vertically.
    Distribution optionsDistribution options
  5. The objects will be distributed evenly.
    The objects, now distributed evenlyThe objects, now distributed evenly

Grouping

At times, you may want to group multiple objects into one object so they will stay together if they're moved. This can be easier than selecting all of the objects each time you want to move them.

To group objects:

  1. Select the objects you wish to group.
  2. Click the Format tab, then locate the Arrange group.
  3. Click the Group command.
    The Group commandThe Group command
  4. The selected objects will now be grouped. There will be a single box with sizing handles around the entire group to show that they're one object.
    Grouped shapesGrouped shapes

You can ungroup grouped objects at any time. Simply select the group, then click the Ungroup command.

The Ungroup commandThe Ungroup command

Moving objects backward and forward

In addition to aligning and grouping objects, Publisher gives you the ability to arrange objects in a specific order. Ordering is important when two or more objects overlap, as it will determine which objects are in the front or the back.

To change the ordering by one level:

  1. Select the object you wish to move.
  2. Click the Format tab, then locate the Arrange group.
  3. Click the Bring Forward or Send Backward command to change the object's ordering by one level. If the object overlaps with more than one other object, you may need to click the command several times to achieve the desired ordering.
    The Bring Forward and Send Backward commandsThe Bring Forward and Send Backward commands
  4. The objects will reorder themselves.
    The shape has been moved forward one levelThe shape has been moved forward one level

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 rather than clicking the ordering commands multiple times.

  1. Select the object you wish to move.
  2. Click the Format tab, then locate the Arrange group.
  3. Click the Bring Forward or Send Backward drop-down command
    The Bring Forward and Send Backward drop-down commandsThe Bring Forward and Send Backward drop-down commands
  4. From the drop-down menu, select Bring to Front or Send to Back.
    The Send to Back commandThe Send to Back command
  5. The objects will reorder themselves.
    The shape has been moved to the backThe shape has been moved to the back

Challenge!

  1. Open a publication. If you want, you can use this example.
  2. Insert a shape, then rotate it. If you're using the example, rotate an existing shape.
  3. Insert another shape, then change the fill and outline color of the shape. If you're using the example, add an outline to the green box on the front of the card.
  4. Change the order of the two shapes you inserted. If you're using the example, select the dark gray rectangle on the front of the card and send it to the back.
  5. Align two shapes. If you're using the example, select the green circle and the brackets Building Block on the back of the card and align them to middle.
  6. Group the shapes you just aligned, then align the group to the center of the page.