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How to create custom shapes in PowerPoint

Updated: Apr 8, 2021

Although PowerPoint comes loaded with a whole range of pre-defined shapes you can use with your slide decks, sometimes you need something a little bit different.

Here I'll share with you a few tips and tricks to help you create your own custom shapes.

First, we'll look at editing shape points

Draw the shape on the slide (I’ve used the sunburst shape here).

Now I want the circle in the middle to be a bit smaller, so just drag the adjustment handle inwards. Notice as you drag, the shape itself doesn’t change size, just the elements within it.

OK now for the fun stuff - click the Shape Format tab on the ribbon.

Click Edit Shape in the Insert Shape group and select Edit Points.

You’ll see small black squares at each end point.

Drag an endpoint to change the shape. We'll make the top shape a bit longer here.

You’ll also see a couple of white square edit points – drag these around to change the curvature of the line.

When you’ve finished editing the shape, just click away.


Next we’ll look at merging shapes.

You can also create some interesting shapes and effects by using the Merge Shapes command.

On this slide I’ve drawn two squares that overlap. You can use more shapes, but for now we’ll keep it simple.

Select both shapes (hold down the SHIFT key and select each shape). In this example, I’ve selected the blue one first, followed by the orange one. Now the order in which you select the shapes may have a bearing on the finished result as we’ll see next.

Click the Shape Format tab.

In the Insert Shape group, click Merge Shapes. We’ve got a few options here so we’ll try each one in turn to see what effect they will have on our two shapes.

Click Union.

What this will do is merge the second shape with the first shape. The second shape will take on the colours of the first shape, so in our case, we’ve now got a blue shape (if you wanted to make it orange, you’d just select the orange shape first, then the blue one). However, now it’s merged into one shape, you can use the Shape Fill options to change it.

Let’s just click undo so we’ve got out two separate squares back.

Make sure they’re both selected, then click the Merge Shapes button again. This time we’ll try Combine.

Again we’ve created one shape, but now where the two shapes overlap, we’ve got a hole cut out of the middle. Let’s undo that again.

Now we can create the opposite effect by using Intersect. This time, the only part that’s left is where the two shapes overlap. OK undo again

Next we’ll see what happens when we use Subtract.

This subtracts the second shape from the first one – this time the orange square disappears, together with the part of the blue square where the shapes overlapped. One final undo!

OK last option. Lets’ select Fragment.

Although it doesn’t look like much has changed, we’ve actually broken it up into separate shapes – let’s drag them apart slightly so you can see the effect. See what I mean?


So there you are we’ve created a whole range of custom shapes with a few quick commands. Why not try it for yourself and see what you can create?

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