Shapes in PowerPoint 2010: Connector Lines

If you read my recent post about lines in PowerPoint, Shapes in PowerPoint 2010: The Line, you know there’s a lot you can do with the basic line. One thing I didn’t mention was that you can use most of the lines as connectors between other shapes. While this is most commonly used for creating flow charts, there’s nothing saying you can’t use it with any drawing.

When you connect a line to a shape, you’re anchoring the end of the line to a point on the shape. The really cool thing about this is that if you move the shape, the end of the line stays connected to that point (this is not the same as grouping shapes). You have three types of connector lines available: Straight, Elbow and Curved (with and without arrows).

Create Connector Lines

You can draw objects in a different order, and create connections “after the fact”. However, the easiest way to see how this works is to start with a couple of shapes and then make the connection:

  1. Draw a couple of filled shapes (your choice) on a new blank slide (the Blank layout is easiest to work with).
  2. Select one of the connector lines (I used the first Elbow Connector), and move the mouse pointer over one of the shapes. Connector points will appear in red on the shape.
  3. Click on one of the connector points, and drag the connector line to the second shape. Red connector points will appear on the second shape. Select a connector point on the second shape.
  4. Click on the connector line. If the line is connected, the end of the line will appear as a red disc. If an end is not connected, it appears as a white disc.
  5. If you have connections, move the shapes around and see how the lines stay anchored to the shapes.
  6. If you decide you want a different type of connector line, right click on the connector line, and in the Connector Types fly out, select the type you want.

You can edit connector lines the same way you’d edit any line:

  • Add or remove arrow ends
  • Change thickness
  • Add shape effects

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