Have you ever realized that PowerPoint can be used for graphics editing? Well, actually there are several features that are similar with other graphics editing application. Here we’ll talk about some of PowerPoint’s features that you can use for graphics editing.

Believe or not? The picture above were made using PowerPoint!
Believe or not? The picture above were made using PowerPoint! Learn how to make it here.

I mostly use PowerPoint for editing pictures, making icons, logos, brochures, banners, posters, ID cards, and many more. Yeah, I know it’s strange 😀. But this is it! This is the power of PowerPoint. Apart we usually use it for presentation, we can also use it for graphics editing software. All things that you usually do in Photoshop or CorelDraw, are made possible by just using PowerPoint! The reason I use PowerPoint is because it has familiar appearance and user friendly (if we compare it with other software).

1. Edit Points Tool

One of the useful features for graphics editing is we can insert various kinds of shapes such as star, rectangle, square, lines, curved lines, arrows, and so on.

Figure 1. Find various kinds of shape.
Figure 1. Find various kinds of shape.

But when we want to insert a shape within PowerPoint, the default appearance is related to it’s default points. For example when you want to insert a square shape, it has 4 points, which are located on each corner of this shape, and thus actually you can change the actual shape to anything you want.

In this way, you can use Edit Points feature. This tool makes it almost like a drawing application that provides you to play with handles, vertexes (points), etc. PowerPoint is an alternative software for graphics editing that is similar with Photoshop, Illustrator and CorelDraw. By using this tool, you can change your inserted shapes to a rhombus, or even edit a curved or freeform line differently.

Figure 2. Edit Points tool.

But hey, do you know what vertexes and handles are? Vertexes are points within the outline of any kinds of shape that can be dragged, added or deleted to change the appearance. Vertexes are formed in small black squares. Notice that when you select a vertex, one or two handles will appear. It can be dragged to reorient the structure of the selected shape. It’s used to make curved line. You can learn more about how to get to this Edit Points interface here.

Figure 3. Vertexes are shown in the purple circles - Handles in the red circles.
Figure 3. Vertexes are shown in the purple circles – Handles in the red circles.

2. Selection Pane

PowerPoint also includes a Selection and Visibility task pane that keeps track of all components (shapes, objects, and placeholders) that might reside on a slide. Sometimes when slide components are stacked on top of each other, it is difficult to select each one. Selection pane a handy little tool to organize and manage the objects on a slide, such as shapes, textboxes, and images.

Figure 4. List of objects on selected slide.
Figure 4. List of objects on selected slide.

This feature is similar with Layer feature in Photoshop and other graphics editing application. Apart we can use it for tracking all objects or components, we can also use it for renaming the components, set the component’s visibility, and you can easily rearrange the component’s layers. Drag and drop to the upper position to bring the component to front or drag and drop to the bottom position to send the component backward.

Figure 5. (1) Arrange the component's layer; (2) Rename the component's name; (3) Set component's visibility.
Figure 5. (1) Arrange the component’s layer; (2) Rename the component’s name; (3) Set component’s visibility.

You can learn more about how to use selection pane tutorial here.

3. Merge / Combine Shapes

Sometimes, the shape you want isn’t included in the built-in or default shapes. When that happens, you can merge shapes to get a new shape. You can also use Edit Points (that I’ve mentioned above in point 1) to change a shape into the shape you want. You can learn more about how to use Merge Shapes feature tutorial here.

Figure 6. You can find this tool at the bottom of Edit Shape button.
Figure 6. You can find this tool at the bottom of Edit Shape button.

To see how Combine Shapes works, add and select two or more overlapping shapes on the slide.

Then click on Combine Shapes and select one of the following options:

  • Shape Union: Merges the shapes into one shape that covers the entire area of the original objects.
  • Shape Combine: Merges the shapes, but leaves out the intersection area.
  • Shape Fragment: Will combine them but give you a separate area to work with within these three compartments.
  • Shape Intersect: Leaves only the intersection where the selected shapes overlap.
  • Shape Subtract: Cuts out the area of the last selected shapes from the first selected one.

4. More Custom Colors + Eyedropper

In graphics editing, coloring is the most important thing. Interestingly we can use More Custom Colors or Eyedropper tools in PowerPoint. This tools allow you to customize object’s color (eg. shapes, fonts, and slides). In shapes and fonts, you can customize shape’s fill and outline colors. And in slides, you can only customize the slide’s fill color.

Figure 7. Customize your object's color with More Custom Colors tool.
Figure 7. Customize your object’s color with More Custom Colors tool.

This tool is very similar with other graphics editing application. As you can see in Figure 7 (above), we can customize the colors using RGB (Red, Green, Blue) or HSL (Hue, Sat, Lum) color model. Notice that you can also set the transparency.

If you already have color palette, you won’t have to enter all RGB or HSL values. You just need to use Eyedropper tool. This tool allows you to pick the color that you’ve already have, such as from picture, screenshots, and so on.

Figure 8. Eyedropper tool.
Figure 8. Eyedropper tool.

Learn more about customizing object’s color tutorial here.

5. Shape and Picture Effects

Shape and Picture Effects tool allows you to give some effects to your shapes or pictures. You can set shadow, reflection, glow, soft edges, bevel, and 3D rotation on it. Learn more about shape and picture effects tutorial here.

Figure 9. As usual, you can find them in Format tab. It will appear, once you've clicked the object/s.
Figure 9. As usual, you can find them in Format tab. It will appear, once you’ve clicked the object/s.

Well, those are some of great features of PowerPoint. Actually, there are so many other great features than you can use for editing graphics. I hope that this information is useful for all of you. Thank you…

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