Your PowerPoint slides may have multiple items, such as pictures, shapes, and text boxes. You can arrange the objects the way you want by aligning, ordering, grouping, and rotating them in various ways – helping you customise your design. Let’s explore these different functions in greater detail.

Aligning Objects

When you move objects in PowerPoint, alignment guides and spacing guides will appear as dashed orange lines and arrows around the objects to help you align them. If you have numerous different objects on a slide, it may be difficult and time consuming to get them perfectly aligned. Fortunately, PowerPoint provides several alignment commands that allow you to easily arrange and position them.

First select the object you want to align (to select multiple at once, hold the Shift key as you click each one). Under the Format tab, click the Align button to bring up a dropdown menu, select Align Selected Objects.

Align also offer six alignment options that are self-explanatory. Align Left align objects along their left edges. Align Centre aligns them vertically through their centres. Align Right aligns them along their right edges. Align Top aligns them along their top edges. Align Middle aligns them horizontally through their middles. Align Bottom aligns them along their bottom edges.

If want to align one or more objects to a specific location within the slide, such as at the top or bottom, you can do this by selecting the Align to Slide option before aligning them. Select the objects you want to align. From the Format tab, click the Align command, then select Align to Slide. Then select one of the previous six alignment options as it will now apply to the slide.

If you have arranged objects in a row or column, you may want them to be an equal distance from one another for a cleaner look, you can do this by distributing them horizontally or vertically. Select the ones you want to align. From the Format tab, click the Align command, then select Align to Slide or Align Selected Objects. Click the Align command again, then select Distribute Horizontally or Distribute Vertically from the drop-down menu, which will distribute them evenly in your chosen orientation.

Aligning helps you build designs without the need for grids and guides. Creating alignment on your master slide will ensure an object is always placed in the right place every time you create or add a new slide to your presentation. If you’re trying to align text – use the advanced paragraph settings to customise the look of your written text far beyond simple text colour and font settings.

Grouping Objects

If want to group multiple objects into one object, they will stay together when they are moved or resized, making it easier than selecting all of them each time you want to move them.

Pictures, shapes, clip art, and text boxes can all be grouped; however, placeholders cannot. If you are grouping pictures, use one of the commands in the Images group under the Insert tab to insert pictures instead of the picture icon inside the placeholder.

To group objects, select the ones you want to align. The Format tab will appear, click the Group command, then click Group. The selected objects will now be grouped. There will be a single box with sizing handles around the entire group to show that they are one group. You can now move or resize them simultaneously.

If you want to edit or move one of the objects in the group, double-click to select the object. You can then edit it or move it to the desired location. If you select the objects and the Group command isn’t working, it may be because one of them is inside a placeholder. If this happens, try reinserting the images by using the Pictures command under the Insert tab.

To ungroup, select the object group you want to ungroup. From the Format tab, click the Group command, then select Ungroup. Ungrouping allows you to move and edit objects individually.

Ordering Objects

PowerPoint also gives you the ability to arrange objects in a specific order, which is important when they overlap because it will determine what layer position they have.

When an object is inserted into a slide, it’s placed on a level according to the order in which it is inserted, essentially layering them sequentially like Adobe vectors.

Select an object and, from the Format tab, click Bring Forward or Send Backward to change the object’s ordering by one level. If there are multiple objects on the slide, you may need to click the command several times to achieve the desired order. If you want to move an object behind or in front of several, it’s usually faster to bring it to front or send it to back instead of clicking the ordering commands multiple times.

If you have numerous objects placed on top of each other, it may be difficult to select an individual object. The Selection pane allows you to easily drag an object to a new location. To access the Selection pane, click Selection Pane under the Format Tab.

Arranging objects in the Selection Pane is similar to organising vectors in Adobe, from here you can choose the order in which each object is layered, making it easier to show or conceal certain elements on the slide.

If you need to turn an object so it faces a different direction, you can rotate it to the left or right or flip it horizontally or vertically. Select an object. From the Format tab, click the Rotate command. A drop-down menu will appear. Select the desired rotation option and the object will rotate.

Need more assistance with your alignment? Check out our guide to PowerPoint use here. We also got some free grid and guide templates to help you design more consistently and conveniently. Download it here.