How Do I Use a Computer to Draw Geometric Shapes for Math?

by Kevin Lee
Save time by letting Microsoft Office create geometric shapes.

Save time by letting Microsoft Office create geometric shapes.

To solve mathematical equations, people often have to work with letters, numbers, symbols and special shapes. In geometry, you may need to explain how to compute a triangle's area and illustrate the process. You don't have to draw geometric shapes by hand if you have Microsoft Office. Office applications such as PowerPoint, Word and Excel, have built-in shapes you can add to documents instantly. You can also use an Office app to draw free-form shapes manually using your mouse.

Find the Built-in Shapes

If you click "Insert" while you're in Word, you'll see a Shapes button on the ribbon. Click that button to view shapes in categories such as Basic Shapes, Equation Shapes and Rectangles. The Basic Shapes category contains the largest number of geometrical shapes that you might find useful. The Rectangles category contains rectangles with different corner designs. You may find it easier to create shapes in Word instead of working on a spreadsheet in Excel or on a slide in PowerPoint.

Add a Built-in Shape

Review the built-in shapes and click one you'd like to use. Your mouse cursor changes into a crosshair letting you know that you're in drawing mode. Click a location where you want to place the shape. Move it anywhere by clicking and dragging it. If the shape is too big or too small, click the shape to select it and drag one of its handles to resize the shape.

Rotate and Duplicate Shapes

When you click a shape to select it, a rotation handle appears above the shape. Click that handle. Hold down the left mouse button and drag your mouse to the left or right to rotate the shape around its center axis. Click a shape and press "Ctrl-C" to copy it. Then press "Ctrl-V" to paste a copy of the shape at a new location.

Embellish With Colors and Text

Differentiate geometric shapes by changing their colors. Do that by right-clicking a shape and clicking "Fill" to view a menu containing colors. Click a color to apply it to the shape. You can also click "More Fill Colors" to view the Colors window that contains more colors you can choose. Descriptive text can explain geometric shapes. Add text by right-clicking a shape and selecting "Add Text." You can then type text inside the shape.

Draw Lines Effortlessly

Lines show relationships between geometric objects. Select a line by clicking a line in the Lines section of the menu that displays shapes. Draw the line by clicking a location on the page, holding your left mouse button down and dragging the mouse to draw a line. For instance, if you want to show that a triangle is related to a circle, draw a line between the two shapes.

Create Freeform Shapes

If you have a steady hand, you can click the free-form line after clicking "Shapes." Click a point in the document, move your cursor to a different location and click the document again to draw a line between those two points. Continue moving the cursor and clicking points to draw a shape. Double-click the document when you complete the shape and are ready to exit drawing mode.

Consolidate For Maximum Efficiency

If you group shapes, you can move and resize them as a group. Create a group by holding the "Ctrl" key and clicking shapes you wish to group. Right-click one of the shapes you clicked, click "Group" and then click "Group" again to group them. When you click any shape in the group, a rectangle appears around all the shapes in the group. You can drag one of the rectangle's handles to resize those shapes and drag the rectangle's rotation handle to rotate all shapes. Right-click any shape, click "Fill" and you can change the color of all shapes in the group by selecting a new color.

About the Author

After majoring in physics, Kevin Lee began writing professionally in 1989 when, as a software developer, he also created technical articles for the Johnson Space Center. Today this urban Texas cowboy continues to crank out high-quality software as well as non-technical articles covering a multitude of diverse topics ranging from gaming to current affairs.

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