Drawing shapes is drop-dead easy with the vast repertoire of ready-made shapes available in PowerPoint. You can easily insert these shapes with a click or two, but once in a while you may get stumped. One such scenario is when you need to draw a circle – you’ll find that PowerPoint’s Shape gallery has no Circle shape! Don’t worry – all is not lost, because there is an Oval shape, and that can be used to draw a perfect circle.

Follow these steps to explore how:

  1. Launch PowerPoint. Most of the time, PowerPoint will open with a new slide in a presentation. You can change the slide layout to Blank by selecting Home tab > Layout > Blank.
  2. Within the Home or Insert tab of the Ribbon, click the Shapes button to bring up the Shapes drop-down gallery that you can see in Figure 1. Select the Oval shape (highlighted in red within Figure 1). 
The Shapes gallery in PowerPoint

Figure 1: Oval shape selected

Use any of these two options to place a perfect circle shape on your slide: Click anywhere on the slide to add the Oval shape in a predefined size (typically 1 inch x 1 inch), as shown in Figure 2. Since the height and the width are the same, this oval is already a circle!

For resizing, hold down the Shift key while dragging any of the four corner handles to retain the circle proportion (preventing the circle from becoming an oval).

Circle shape placed on a PowerPoint slide

Figure 2: Circle shape placed on the slide

Alternatively, click and drag on the slide along with the Shift key held down, while dragging to constrain the height and width proportions to be equal, as shown in Figure 3. Optionally, you can hold the Ctrl key (in addition to the Shift key) to draw a circle from the center.

 Drawing a circle in PowerPoint

Figure 3: Drawing a circle while holding the Shift key

The resultant circle can also be resized as required.

  1. Save your presentation.

Hint: If you wish to draw a perfect square in PowerPoint, within the Home or Insert tab of the Ribbon, click the Shapes button to bring up the Shapes drop-down gallery that you can see in Figure 1. Select the Rectangle shape. Then perform the same steps as for drawing a perfect circle :)

Do you have any other nifty PowerPoint tricks to share with the class? Tell us in the comments below!

Geetesh Bajaj is an internationally acclaimed PowerPoint, storyboarding, info-diagramming and presenting expert who has been awarded the Microsoft PowerPoint MVP (Most Valuable Professional) every single year for 15 years now. Based out of Hyderabad in India, Geetesh believes that any presentation is a sum of its elements—these elements include abstract elements like story, concept, color, interactivity, and navigation–and also slide elements like shapes, graphics, charts, text, sound, video, and animation. He runs the popular site.

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