Create illustrations, shapes and icons using PowerPoint

Create illustrations, shapes and icons using PowerPoint

Create illustrations, shapes and icons using PowerPoint

Images are a great way to spice up your materials. Everything from Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, NOW learning rooms and websites will benefit from a little image magic!

There are plenty of free images to be found on the web if you know where to look and if you look hard enough it is possible to find something suitable for most projects.

However, sometimes you want something a little more unique or the Creative Commons licence doesn’t permit modifications to the original image. In this case you might need to get creative and make your own images.

If you have access Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop and are comfortable using this software then this is one option for creating custom images and graphics although it may be overkill for many uses.

A simpler solution is to use a little known feature found in more recent versions of Microsoft PowerPoint (2013 onwards).

Here’s how I created the Rocket illustration

    1. Open a new presentation in PowerPoint and select the blank slide layout. Click Insert on the ribbon and select the Oval shape from the Shapes dropdown. Draw a vertical elipse for the body of the rocket.
    2. Now select the triangle shape from the shapes dropdown and draw a thin vertical triangle for the rocket’s nose.
    3. Select the Moon shape from the Shapes dropdown and draw this next to the rocket.
    4. With the moon shape selected, click and drag the rotation handle to rotate the moon through 90 degrees clockwise. Now drag the moon shape on top of the rocket body.
    5. Select all the parts of the rocket by clicking and dragging around them and then click Format on the ribbon. Now click the Merge Shapes drop down and choose Union.

PowerPoint shapes tool

  1. With the rocket shape selected we can change the fill colour and outline as required. Now click Shape Outline on the ribbon and change the outline colour and weight as required. If required, click and drag the rotation angle to re-position the rocket.
  2. Finally we need to save the shape as an image file so that we can use it in other applications. To do this, right click on the shape and click on Save as Picture…If you want to preserve the transparent background behind the rocket make sure that you save as a PNG file otherwise choose JPEG.

Save as picture screenshot

This is a very simple example of how you can use the Shapes tool in PowerPoint to create your own graphics. Using this tool it is possible to build quite complex illustrations – you can create pretty much any image, illustration, shape or icon you want, the only limit is your imagination. For example you can use built in icon fonts such as Webdings to create and format a wide range of shapes and illustrations.

Look out for my next post in this series for a tutorial on how you can do this.

Did you find this Tip & Trick useful?

Why not let us know using the comments? And feel free to share our post with your colleagues.


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