A shape is an object such as a line, arrow, rectangle, circle, square, or callout. You can quickly insert basic shapes in your documents, but after you use Office for a little while, you’ll probably want to modify the default shape formats. Fortunately, Office offers a variety of shape-formatting options that enable you to quickly customize a shape to meet your exact needs.
If you want something a bit more sophisticated than a simple shape, consider SmartArt. SmartArt offers ready-made, color-coordinated designs that display lists, processes, organization charts, matrices, and more—in a way that makes the most of Office’s many design features.
Office offers dozens of ready-made shapes that you can add to your documents.
To insert a shape, follow these steps:
On the Insert tab, click the Shapes button. The Shapes gallery opens, as shown in Figure 5.1.
FIGURE 5.1. The Shapes gallery offers a variety of options.
- From the gallery, select the shape you want to insert. Gallery options include lines, rectangles, arrows, callouts, circles, and more.
- In your document, click where you want the shape to appear and then drag until the shape is the size you want. You can then format the shape as you would any other object.
Inserting Lines and Arrows
You can add lines and arrows to draw attention to something, show how things are connected, or show how one thing leads to another. For example, you might want to add a line to connect two shapes. Or you might use an arrow to point to text or an object of special importance. You can also create simple images with the line, rectangle, and oval shapes.
To draw a line or arrow, follow these steps:
- On the Insert tab, click the Shapes button to open the Shapes gallery (refer to Figure 5.1).
- Click one of the buttons in the Lines section of the Shapes gallery. The mouse pointer becomes a plus sign.
- Click and hold down where you want the line to begin and then drag to where you want the line to end.
If the line looks crooked or is the wrong length, you can adjust it. First, select the line. Then pause your mouse over one of the handles that appear at the ends of the line. The mouse pointer becomes a line with an arrowhead at both ends. Click and drag the circle to lengthen the line or adjust its angle.
If the line isn’t in the right place, you can move it. First, select the line. Then pause your mouse over the line. The mouse pointer becomes a cross with arrowheads at all four ends. Click and drag the line to move it.
Inserting Rectangles and Ovals
You can also draw rectangular and oval shapes. Using rectangular shapes enables you to emphasize important information, group information, or illustrate other ideas or concepts.
To draw a rectangle, click one of the buttons in the Rectangles section of the Shapes gallery. The mouse pointer becomes a plus sign. Click where you want the rectangle to appear and then drag to draw the rectangle.
To draw an oval, click the Oval button in the Basic Shapes section of the Shapes gallery. The mouse pointer becomes a plus sign. Click where you want the oval to appear and then drag to draw the oval.
You can then reshape and resize these images or apply other formatting to them.
Another option is to add text to a rectangular or oval shape. If you want to add only a word or two, select the shape and type the text you want to enter. Alternatively, click the Text Box button on either the Insert tab or the Drawing Tools – Format tab and create a text box inside the original object. Be sure, however, that the text box fits into the object without overlapping its borders.