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Select, Deselect, View, and Hide Shapes Using the Selection Pane in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows

Learn how to select, deselect, view, and hide shapes using the Selection pane in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows. The Selection Pane can also be used to deselect, view, and hide shapes and other slide objects.


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Product/Version: PowerPoint 2016 for Windows

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 and higher






To format any slide object in PowerPoint, you must select it. There are a couple of ways with which you can select any slide object. Other than the obvious way of clicking the slide object to select, you can also use the Selection Pane. It's always more difficult to select overlapping slide objects or objects placed behind a larger object in busy, populated slides. To select slide objects that are difficult to locate, you can use the Selection Pane.

Follow these steps to select shape(s) using the Selection Pane in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows:

  1. Select the Home tab of the Ribbon, and within the Drawing group click the Arrange button to bring up the drop-down menu shown in Figure 1. From the Arrange drop-down menu choose the Selection Pane option, as shown highlighted in red with Figure 1.
  2. Selection Pane option
    Figure 1: Selection Pane option
  3. This brings up the Selection Pane (highlighted in red within Figure 2).
  4. Selection Pane
    Figure 2: Selection Pane
  5. The Selection Pane lists every single object on the active slide—be it shapes, WordArt, sound, movies, etc. If any particular object on the slide doesn't show up in the Selection Pane, that object must be part of either the Slide Master or the slide background.
  6. Follow these guidelines to use the Selection Pane:
  • Click the shape in the Selection Pane to select it on the slide. Figure 3 shows “Oval 6” selected in the Selection Pane as well as on the slide.
  • Shape selected in Pane and on the slide
    Figure 3: Shape selected in Pane and on the slide
  • Ctrl + click to select more shapes in the Pane (and on the slide). See Figure 4 with two shapes selected in the Pane and on the slide.
  • Two shapes selected in Pane and on the slide
    Figure 4: Two shapes selected in Pane and on the slide
  • Click any shape twice (not quickly) in the Pane. This enables you to rename the shape, as shown in Figure 5. As you can see, PowerPoint names objects in ways that are not too intuitive. So, probably “Blue Oval” is a better name than “Oval 6”.
  • Rename shape(s)
    Figure 5: Rename shape(s)
  • Reorder any selected shape(s) in the Pane by clicking the up and down arrow buttons, located at the top-right of the list within the Selection Pane (see Figure 6).
  • Reorder shape(s)
    Figure 6: Reorder shape(s)
  • Click the eye icon next to a shape(s) listing on the Pane to make it invisible, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 7. Click it again to toggle the visibility.
  • Hide/show the shape in the Pane
    Figure 7: Hide/show the shape in the Pane
  • Click the Show All / Hide All buttons located at the top-left of the list within the Selection Pane (see Figure 8) to show / hide all the shapes on a slide.
  • Show All/Hide All buttons
    Figure 8: Show All/Hide All buttons

See Also:

Select, Deselect, View, and Hide Shapes Using the Selection Pane in PowerPoint 2016 for Mac
Select, Deselect, View, and Hide Shapes Using the Selection Pane in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Select, Deselect, View, and Hide Shapes Using the Selection Pane in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows

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