How to Merge Shapes in Microsoft PowerPoint 2013 (and Higher Versions)

Chaitanya Tapase

Design is a key element when explaining things to a large audience. They say a picture is worth a thousand words and adding such images in PowerPoint can always make a big impact. Before Office 2013, you could edit shapes individually but not as a group.

Shapes Merging
Shapes can be merged easily on MS Office | Shutterstock

But now you can.

Merging is Easy

As soon as you load the shapes onto your PowerPoint presentation, you can club them together the way you want. So, if you want to three spheres to show the growth of three different sections of your company, plus the place where they intersect, you can do that. Earlier, you could only edit these spheres individually.

Merging Shapes on PPT

But now, using the Merge Shapes option in the FORMAT sub-menu, you can do just that. Hit that drop-down under Merge and you’ll see various options on the way you can merge the shapes. Here’s a gif file to show you how exactly these 3 spheres will look with each option.

Let’s say you choose Combine but want the image to be more refined. Easy – click on Shape Effects then Shadows and then add the kind of shadow that you want to add to the overall image. Don’t like the color? Click on Shape Fill and choose the one you like most.

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Editing isn’t Hard Either

In fact, when it comes to editing, there are a whole bunch of things you can do now that you can work with a merged object. Right from giving it a shadow, making its perspective more natural or even playing around with cool 3D effects. It’s all under the FORMAT menu and you can play around with these options the way you want.

A cool trick I discovered was to easily create clouds if you’re presenting on Cloud Computing. Take a whole lot of ovals on your presentation file, select all of them and under FORMAT click on Merge Shapes and then on Union. This will instantly give you a nice cloud looking shape to play around with.

Want it to look more natural? Go to Shape Effects then Presets and select Preset 2. I’ve found this makes the cloud appear more presentation-worthy than the other options.

Screenshot 2015-11-05 18.07.56

This is another cool effect that I achieved by only using the Merge effect. Take a bunch of oval shapes and arrange them horizontally. Then again go to Merge Shapes, but select Combine this time and change the color to what you’d like. Then go to Shape Effects and click Reflection and add the kind of reflection you think would suit your presentation the best.

Merging Already?

Let us know some other cool tricks that you’ve known for a while or would like us to cover in the future? It’s easy to do that, by dropping in on our forums. See you there.

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Chaitanya Tapase has varied interests in Technology from Android to Windows to DSLR Photography. On weekends, you'd find him catching up on TV Shows like Game of Thrones and enjoying House Music.