Add and precisely position graphics on a PowerPoint slide

Applies to
Microsoft Office PowerPoint® 2003
Book cover This article was adapted from Microsoft Office System Inside Out by Michael J. Young and Michael Halvorson. Visit Microsoft Learning to buy this book.

The techniques for adding graphics to slides in PowerPoint are basically the same as those used for adding graphics to documents in other Microsoft Office 2003 programs, although PowerPoint does have a few unique graphics features, such as grids, drawing guides, and photo albums. In this article, the term graphics is meant to include pictures (inserted clip art or graphics files), AutoShapes (individually drawn objects), Office diagrams, WordArt objects, charts, and other linked or embedded objects.

Adding graphics

You can enhance a PowerPoint presentation by using the shared Office 2003 graphics tools to add any of the following types of graphic objects to a slide:

  • Pictures    You can insert a picture into a slide using the Microsoft Clip Organizer program, which allows you to locate pictures stored on a local or network disk or to download pictures from the extensive collection of clip art on the Office Online Web site. You can also import a picture into a slide directly from a graphics file stored on a local, network, or Internet location.
  • AutoShapes     You can create your own drawings in a slide by using AutoShapes. An AutoShape is a predefined or free-form figure—such as a line, oval, cube, flowchart symbol, banner, or free-form scribble—that you can quickly insert into a document and then customize.
  • Conceptual drawings    You can add a conceptual drawing—such as an organization chart or a Venn diagram—to a slide by inserting a ready-made Office diagram.
  • WordArt    You can create special text effects in a slide—such as curved, slanted, or three-dimensional text—by inserting a WordArt object.
  • Charts    You can build a chart that graphically represents numerical data in a slide by using the Microsoft Graph program.
  • Linked or embedded objects     You can link or embed data from another Office application in a PowerPoint slide. For example, you could link or embed a Microsoft Excel worksheet range or an Excel chart.


Grids and Guides

The grids and drawing guides are viewable, nonprinting guidelines that you can use to help position objects on a slide. To view the grid or the drawing guides on all slides, follow these steps:

  1. On the View menu, click Grid and Guides.
  2. In the Grid and Guides dialog box, select the Display grid on screen check box, the Display drawing guides on screen check box, or both options.

A slide with both the grid and the drawing guides turned on looks like this:

Slide showing grids and drawing guides

The drawing guides, consisting of a horizontal and a vertical line that initially intersect in the middle of the slide, are helpful in arranging objects evenly on a slide. To manipulate the drawing guides, perform the following steps:

  • To move a guide, select it and then drag it to another location on the slide. When you drag a guide, a measurement appears, telling you where on the vertical or horizontal ruler you are moving the guide.
  • To add a new guide, press Ctrl while dragging the guide.
  • To delete a new guide that you added, drag it off the slide.

The grid, which consists of a set of many intersecting lines, helps you position objects precisely on a slide. To manipulate the grid, perform the following steps:

  1. On the View menu, click Grid and Guides. The Grid and Guides dialog box will appear, as shown below:

Grid and Guides dialog box

  1. In the Grid and Guides dialog box, under Grid Settings, enter the spacing you want to use between gridlines in the Spacing drop-down box.
  2. By default, Snap objects to grid is selected, which causes PowerPoint to align an object on one of the grid dots—or halfway between dots—when you drag it on the slide. If you want to be able to drag an object to any position, clear this option or override it on an ad hoc basis by pressing Alt as you drag the object.
  3. To align objects with each other when you drag them, select the Snap objects to other objects check box.

In addition to positioning objects by using the grid or the drawing guides, you can align or evenly distribute several objects by selecting them, clicking the Draw button on the Drawing toolbar, and then choosing an appropriate command from the Align Or Distribute submenu. Or, you can choose a command from the Nudge submenu to move the selected object(s) in small increments.

Applies to:
PowerPoint 2003