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Change a Diagonal Line to a Horizontal or Vertical Line in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows

Learn how to change a diagonal line to a horizontal or vertical line in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows. You'll have to change either the height or width value to zero.


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Product/Version: PowerPoint 2013 for Windows

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 and higher






In PowerPoint 2013 for Windows, you rotate shapes using the white rotation handle that appears when you select a shape. However, have you ever noticed that the open line shape in PowerPoint doesn't show a white rotation handle? Look at Figure 1, where you can see a diagonal, straight line on the left and a rectangle shape on the right. Both are selected, yet notice that the rectangle shape includes a white rotation handle whereas there is no such handle on the Line shape.

An open line shape doesn't have a rotation handle
Figure 1: An open line shape doesn't have a rotation handle

Now, if you want to rotate any diagonal line such as the one shown in Figure 1 above to make it either a perfectly horizontal, or vertical line, how would you do that? Yes, you can right-click the line to bring up a contextual menu. Within this menu, select the Format Shape option to bring up the Format Shape Task Pane as shown in Figure 2. Here you can find the Rotation option (highlighted in red within Figure 2), and type in a value.

Rotation option within the Format Shape Task Pane
Figure 2: Rotation option within the Format Shape Task Pane

But as you can notice, the selected diagonal line has an initial Rotation value of 0°. So, you really have no clue at this time to determine how much you have to rotate to create a line that's standing vertically or sleeping horizontally! Even though it looks like impossible, there is a workaround which can help you to make a Line shape a perfect horizontal, or vertical line using the Width and Height options that you see highlighted in blue within Figure 2, above. Follow these guidelines to learn more:

Rotate a Line to make it Horizontal

  1. Select your diagonal line and access the Drawing Tools Format tab of the Ribbon. Within the Drawing Tools Format tab, locate the Width and Height options as shown highlighted in red within Figure 3.
  2. Height and Width options within the Drawing Tools Format tab
    Figure 3: Height and Width options within the Drawing Tools Format tab
  3. Alternatively, right-click the line to bring up a contextual menu. Within this menu select the Format Shape option to bring up the Format Shape Task Pane as shown in Figure 2, previously on this page. Click the Size & Properties button (highlighted in green within Figure 2) to access the same Height and Width options, as shown highlighted in blue within Figure 2, previously on this page.
  4. With the line still selected, change the Height value to zero, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 4. You will notice that this will turn the selected diagonal line on the slide into a horizontal line, as shown in Figure 4.
  5. Zero Height value turns the diagonal line into a horizontal line
    Figure 4: Zero Height value turns the diagonal line into a horizontal line
  6. Note: Remember that this option will actually reduce the length of your line. To counter this reduction of length, you should first calculate the length so that you can increase it thereafter. Learn more in our Finding Length of a Diagonal Line in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows tutorial.

Rotate a Line to make it Vertical

  1. Select your diagonal line and access the Width and Height options as explained in the preceding section on this page.
  2. With the line selected, change the Width value to zero (highlighted in red within Figure 5). You will notice that this will turn the selected diagonal line on the slide into a vertical line, as shown in Figure 5.
  3. Zero Width value turns the diagonal line into a vertical line
    Figure 5: Zero Width value turns the diagonal line into a vertical line

Yes, now you have rotated your diagonal line. But have you noticed something? Is your line shape retaining its original length even after getting rotated? Unfortunately, it is not! Look at Figure 6 which shows a PowerPoint slide containing 3 Line shapes.

  • The line marked A is our original line.
  • The line marked as B is the copy of the same diagonal line that resulted from changing the Height to zero.
  • And finally, the line marked as C is the copy of the same diagonal line A, that resulted from changing the Width to zero.
  • Diagonal line and its copies rotated horizontally and vertically
    Figure 6: Diagonal line and its copies rotated horizontally and vertically

Look closely at Figure 6, and you will notice that both of the rotated lines have lost some length. None of them is of the same length as the original line A is. To overcome this drawback, you should know the length of your diagonal line in the first place. But again, there is no specific option in PowerPoint to achieve this! The good news is that we have a workaround for this too!

Find out the length of your diagonal line by following our Finding Length of a Diagonal Line in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows tutorial. Once you have noted down the length value, you can get back the original length of the rotated lines by following these guidelines:

  • Once your line is horizontal, select it, and change its Width value to match the length value you have noted down.
  • Once your line is vertical, select it, and change its Height value to match the length value you have noted down.

See Also:

Change a Diagonal Line to a Horizontal or Vertical Line in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

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