How to Draw and Edit a Freeform Shape in Microsoft PowerPoint

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PowerPoint gives you complete customization over shapes—merging shapes, changing the curvature of a shape’s lines, and even drawing your own. If you want to do the latter, here’s how.

Draw a Shape in PowerPoint

If you can’t find the shape you’re looking for, then you can draw your own. To do this, head over to the “Insert” tab and then click the “Shapes” button.

Select shapes in Illustrations group

A drop-down menu will appear. Head over to the “Lines” section and locate the last two options. These options are the freeform shape (left) and scribble (right) tools.

freeform and scribble in shapes

Freeform: Shape

Selecting the freeform shape option lets you draw a shape with straight and curved lines. To draw a straight line, click a point on the slide that you would like to start the line, move your cursor to the endpoint, and then click again.

Freeform straight lines GIF

To draw a curved line, click and drag your cursor.

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How to Create and Update a Table of Figures in Microsoft Word

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A table of figures is a list, sorted by page number, of the captions pulled from figures, images, or tables in your document. It’s like a table of contents, but it’s a table of anything to which you can add a caption.

Insert a Table of Figures

Adding a table of figures is a useful tool for allowing the reader to quickly navigate to specific parts of the document (or as a personal quick reference guide). This is especially true for longer documents with an excessive amount of media. It’s important to note, however, that adding a table of figures is only possible if you add captions (not to be confused with alternative text) to your figures, images, and tables. We’ll assume that you have already captioned the relevant material in your Word document in this example.

Once you’re ready to insert your table of figures, go ahead and click the location of the document in which you would like the table to be added. Next, head over to the “References” tab and select “Insert Table of Figures.”

Insert table of figures option in reference tab

Once selected, the “Table of Figures” window will appear, displaying the print and web preview of the table of figures. Here, you can also adjust several options and customize the format of the table.

Once you’ve tweaked your settings, click “OK.”

Edit the Table of Figures options

Your table of figures will now be inserted in your Word doc.

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How to Change a Shape Using Edit Points in Microsoft PowerPoint

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PowerPoint gives you pretty good editing control over shapes you insert into a presentation. Whether you want to merge two shapes or change a shape using its edit points, PowerPoint has a way.

First, open PowerPoint and select the shape that you want to change. If you don’t already have a shape inserted in your presentation, you can do so by going to Insert > Shapes > Select Shape. In this example, we’ll be using an isosceles triangle.

A green isosceles triangle in PowerPoint

Once you’ve selected your shape, you’ll notice a new “Shape Format” tab appear. Go ahead and select it.

Select the Shape Format tab

Next, head over to the “Insert Shapes” group and click the “Edit Shape” button.

edit shape in insert shape group

A drop-down menu will appear. From the menu, select the “Edit Points” command.

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How to Create and Manage a Table of Contents in Microsoft Word

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Using a table of contents in your document makes it easier for the reader to navigate. You can generate a table of contents in Word from the headings used in your document. Here’s how to do it.

Add a Table of Contents

Regardless of the size of your document, using a table of contents can direct the reader to exactly where they need to be. In addition to making the document more reader-friendly, a table of contents also makes it easier for the author to go back and add or remove content if necessary.

By default, Word generates a table of contents using the first three built-in heading styles (Heading 1, Heading 2, and Heading 3). To apply heading styles, select the particular style from the “Home” tab. If you’re not happy with the types of heading styles available, you can change the default heading style.

Apply heading styles

You can manage this in two different ways. You can either apply the heading styles to each section after you’ve finished the document, or you can add them as you go.

Once you’ve applied your heading styles, it’s time to insert your table of contents.  The first thing you need to do is put the cursor where you want the table of contents to appear. Once ready, head over to the “References” tab and select “Table of Contents.”

Select table of contents option in references tab

A drop-down menu will appear. Here, you can choose between the three different built-in tables.

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How to Zoom In and Out on Part of a PowerPoint Presentation

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Microsoft PowerPoint lets you zoom in and out on a specific part of your PowerPoint slideshow, which can be handy both while editing and for drawing attention to important objects or ideas during the presentation. Here’s how to do it.

Whether you’re in normal view or slideshow view, PowerPoint lets you zoom in and out as the need arises. There are a few ways you can do this, depending on which view you’re in.

The first method is by using the zoom bar at the bottom-right of the window (which isn’t available in the slideshow view). This method is convenient as the zoom bar is immediately accessible. To use the zoom bar,  click and drag the bar left or right to zoom out or in, respectively. You can also resize the slide to fit your current window by clicking the box to the right of the zoom bar.

Using the Zoom Bar gif

Another method is using the “Zoom” tool, found on the “View” tab.

zoom option found in view tab

In the “Zoom” window, you can select a zoom percentage from the list of available options or enter a precise percentage into the “Percent” box. Once ready, click “OK,” and your slide will zoom to the selected amount.

Select the zoom percentage from the dialogue box

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