How to Edit AutoShapes in PowerPoint

By Filonia LeChat

Inserting Microsoft PowerPoint shapes, which the software calls autoshapes, into your next presentation may help break up text heavy slides or even help you illustrate diagrams such as your corporate organizational chart. With the shapes collection, you’ll never be restricted to a certain color, number of edges or even the style of the shape as it initially appears. PowerPoint lets you edit all of the autoshapes to better fit your presentation, corporate image and style, or a design template. Even if you use one of PowerPoint’s box shapes, you’re still able to think outside of it.

Start PowerPoint. Click the “Insert” tab to reveal the accompanying ribbon.

Click the “Shapes” button on the ribbon. Choose a shape to edit from the button’s drop-down menu such as an arrow or starburst. All autoshapes on this menu are editable.

Position the cursor on the slide. Press and hold down the left mouse button. Drag to form the size of the autoshape. Release the left mouse button. The autoshape appears on the slide in the default PowerPoint blue hues.

Check the top of the workspace for the new orange “Drawing Tools” tab, which has many options to help edit an autoshape. Click the tab to reveal the new ribbon.

Scroll through the options in the “Shape Styles” portion of the ribbon. Hover over a style to see it on the autoshape or click to commit the change, such as going from the dark blue border and blue middle to a dark red border and red middle.

Click the “Shape Fill” menu on the ribbon. Choose a new color for the middle of the autoshape, such as one that goes with your corporate branding scheme.

Click the “Shape Outline” menu on the ribbon. Choose a new color for the border of the autoshape.

Click the “Shape Effects” menu. Hover over the different options to see different effects you can give to the autoshape, such as a shadow or a glow. Click an effect to commit the change.

Click once on the autoshape to select it. Press and hold down the “Shift” key. Click a corner of the autoshape and drag in to the middle to reduce its size or drag out to the edge of the slide to enlarge the autoshape.

Click the small green dot at the top middle of the autoshape to rotate the autoshape’s placement on the slide.

Click the “Edit Shape” menu on the left side of the ribbon. Click “Change Shape.” Choose a completely new autoshape to instantly convert your existing shape into. This can be helpful if you’ve already picked colors or effects and don’t want to start from scratch.