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Expert Tip: PowerPoint’s Combine Shapes Command

May 21, 2012

PowerPoint has over 100 different shapes that can be inserted into a presentation. Using PowerPoint 2010’s new Combine Shapes command, shapes can be joined, combined, intersected and subtracted to produce even more unique shapes and drawings. The Combine Shapes command uses the principles of Boolean geometry (TRUE, FALSE, NOT, etc.) to determine how combining shapes works. For example, draw a triangle and overlay with a circle. Depending on the logic condition that is “true” differences occur with the shapes.

Union – Joins the triangle and circle.

Combine – Combines the triangle and circle but eliminates the overlap.

Intersect – Leaves only the section where both shapes overlap.

Subtract – Eliminates the circle and the overlap on the triangle.

Accessing the Combine Shapes Command

The Combine Shapes command is not available on the ribbon. To access this command, it must be added to the Quick Access Toolbar. Click the Customize Quick Access Toolbar… button on the Quick Access Toolbar and select More Commands. In the Choose commands from: drop down, select Commands Not in the Ribbon. Scroll down and select Combine Shapes. Click Add and OK.

Once you have added the Combine Shapes command, start experimenting with various shapes and the shape effects tools to add interesting designs to your presentation. The shapes below were created using circles, triangles and rectangles, Combine Shapes and Shape Effect tools.

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