Shapes in PowerPoint 2010: The Line

When you work with the program long enough, you forget that a lot of people don’t know everything you know about what’s going on with certain things. So I wanted to look at some of the basics, or at least to me, the basics of drawing shapes in Microsoft PowerPoint (this is also true in any of the Microsoft Office applications you want to draw in).

The simplest shape is the line. Up, down, left, right, or whatever angle you want. Not a big deal. Or is it? Every line you draw can have a different color, thickness, style, and effect (don’t even ask about freeform lines).

So you draw a line: you click the mouse, drag and let go the mouse button. If you hold down the Shift key while you drag your line, it will be constrained to a 45° angle. You end up with a basic line of the default width and color.

Below, I drew a line, duplicated it four times, and applied some changes:

  1. The original line, a solid line with three-quarter point thickness.
  2. A dashed 3 point line with gradient fill and shadow (Notice the gradient goes the length of the line. This is because I have the gradient going left to right).
  3. An 8 point line with glow applied, and different arrows on either end (yes, circles and diamonds are considered to be arrowheads).
  4. A 10 point compound line with rounded ends (Compound lines will have two or more parallel lines that make up the actual line. How this shows up depend on the thickness of the original line.).
  5. A 20 point line with bevel applied.

You can apply a lot of settings using the Shape Outline drop-down and the Shape Effects drop-down on the Format tab. You can also have a lot more control if you open up the dialogue box for formatting the shape. You can right-click on the line and select Format Shape.

Here you can set line widths (up to 1,584 points), select different compound types and end caps, and adjust arrow settings. The Line Color options allow you to set a gradient, and adjust the line’s transparency.

So, there are a lot of options for the humble line, and plenty of things worth exploring. And remember, a lot of these settings can be applied to the outlines of the other shapes you draw.

Want to learn more? Check out some of our upcoming PowerPoint classes.

Get the latest tips, tutorials, and news about our classes by email! Click here to sign up for our newsletter!

About Webucator

Webucator provides instructor-led training to students throughout the US and Canada. We have trained over 90,000 students from over 16,000 organizations on technologies such as Microsoft ASP.NET, Microsoft Office, Azure, Windows, Java, Adobe, Python, SQL, JavaScript, Angular and much more. Check out our complete course catalog.