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Select and Deselect Shapes in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows

Learn how to select and deselect single and multiple shapes in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows. You'll be surprised to know how you can use one of these techniques, or combine them to attain selection mastery.


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Product/Version: PowerPoint 2010 for Windows

OS: Microsoft Windows XP and higher






PowerPoint follows the process of selection, then action for any slide object on a slide. If you cannot select an object, then you can probably not modify it at all. Although this tutorial explains how you can select shapes on a slide, the process works the same way for any other slide object.

Select or Deselect a Single Shape

Just click a shape to select it. Figure 1 shows a single shape selected on the slide. To deselect the shape, click anywhere on the slide other than the shape, or even Ctrl + click (or Shift + click) on the selected shape.

A single shape selected
Figure 1: A single shape selected

Select a Shape that's Behind Another Shape

To select a shape that's behind some other shape and not easily selected or visible, press the Tab key to rotate between all the shapes on the slide until the shape you want is selected. If you pressed Tab quickly and missed selecting a shape, you can press Shift + Tab to reverse the entire tab selection process.

You can also use the Selection and Visibility Task Pane to select.

Select or Deselect Multiple Shapes

To select more than one shape, use any of these options:

  • Click a shape to select it and then Ctrl + click (or Shift + click) another shape to select it, repeat the same process to select more shapes on the slide. Figure 2 shows two shapes has been selected.
  • Two shapes selected
    Figure 2: Two shapes selected
  • Note: You can also use Shift + click to select the shapes, but the cursor won't show the "plus " sign (refer to Figure 2 above).
  • Place your cursor on an area that has no selectable content, or even click on an area outside the slide. Then click-drag to draw a marquee with your cursor over the shapes you want to select, as shown in Figure 3. This works best when the shapes you want to select are placed fairly close to each other.
  • Draw a marquee over the shapes to select them
    Figure 3: Draw a marquee over the shapes to select them
  • Press Ctrl + A to select all the shapes on the slide then deselect the shapes which you don't want to be the part of the selection. To do that press Ctrl + click (or Shift + click) on selected shapes to deselect them (see Figure 4). This works best if you have a slide with many shapes and a title. Since Ctrl + A also selects the title, you can thereafter deselect the title so that the selection is limited to shapes on the slide.
  • A deselected shape
    Figure 4: A deselected shape
  • You can use the Selection and Visibility Task Pane to make an accurate selection.

See Also:

Selecting Shapes: Select and Deselect Shapes in PowerPoint (Index Page)

Select and Deselect Shapes in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows
Select and Deselect Shapes in PowerPoint 2016 for Mac
Select and Deselect Shapes in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Select and Deselect Shapes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

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