Aligning Objects in PowerPoint

By January 8, 2018Tech Tip
Aligning objects in PowerPoint: Using alignment options in Office

A key to achieving a professional, clean, and crisp looking presentation is aligning objects on your slides. Make sure they are well-placed and lined up! Rather than eyeballing the placement of your pictures and textboxes, you can make precise, subtle adjustments with PowerPoint’s alignment options. These tools can transform a higgledy-piggledy collection of objects into a neat arrangement in a flash!

Here we’ll show you how to select multiple objects on your PowerPoint slide and arrange and align them.

Note: These alignment options under the Arrange group on the Ribbon aren’t just available in PowerPoint. You can find the same options for aligning objects in other Microsoft Office products. Just select an object and find the Drawing Tools or Picture Tools tab highlighted on the Ribbon.

Aligning Objects to the Slide

The alignment tools let you do two things: align your selected objects respective to the slide or to each other. For example, aligning respective to the slide lets you quickly move an object to the horizontal center of the slide as well as its vertical middle.

In this example, an image has been randomly placed on a slide.

Aligning objects in PowerPoint

We want to move the image so that it is vertically centered, like the title box on the left.

  1. Select the image with your cursor.
  2. Select Format under the Picture Tools tab that appears on the Ribbon.
  3. Under the Arrange group on the right side of the toolbar, click the Align button and then choose Align Middle.

Aligning objects in PowerPoint: Align middle

Now the image is in the vertical middle, and it just needs to be moved directly to the right. To move something in an exactly straight direction, click the object or image, hold down the Shift key on your keyboard, and then drag the object with your cursor. Release when it is in the right place.

Aligning objects in PowerPoint: Correctly aligned to the middle of the slide

Aligning Objects to Each Other

To align objects to each other, all you need to do is select multiple objects at a time. To select multiple objects:

  1. Click on object or image, and hold down the Ctrl key on your keyboard.
  2. While holding down Ctrl, use your cursor to click on each additional object you want to select.

Then you can go on to align objects relative to each other. In this example, we have two images that we want to align so that they have the same middle.

Aligning objects in PowerPoint: Aligning objects to each other

  1. Select both images.
  2. Select Format under the Picture Tools tab that appears on the Ribbon.
  3. Under the Arrange group on the right side of the toolbar, click the Align. Notice that Align Selected Objects has a check mark next to it, and not Align to Slide.
  4. Choose Align Middle from the options.

Aligning objects in PowerPoint: Align Selected Objects to Middle

If you want to make sure that the two images and the slide all have the same middle, you could select Align to Slide instead of the automatically selected Align Selected Objects.

Evenly Distributing More than Two Objects

If you have three or more objects or images that you want to distribute evenly both vertically and horizontally – you can do this too! This is a great way to make sure that there is the same amount of space between objects. You can also use this option to achieve an even “grid layout”.

In this example, we have three staggered images.

Aligning objects in PowerPoint

We want to distribute them evenly both vertically (top to bottom) and horizontally (left to right).

  1. Select all the images.
  2. Select Format under the Picture Tools tab that appears on the Ribbon.
  3. Under the Arrange group on the right side of the toolbar, click the Align
  4. Choose Distribute Horizontally.Aligning objects in PowerPoint: Distribute horizontally
  5. Then, go back to the Align button again, and choose Distribute Vertically.Aligning objects in PowerPoint: Evenly distribute objects horizontally and vertically

And that’s it! You can play around with the other alignment options, which include aligning objects to the left, right, top, or bottom edges.


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