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How to Draw Lines and Shapes in Office 2011 for Mac

Even with the plethora of prefabricated shapes to choose from in Office 2011’s Media browser, you may have a hankering for some good old-fashioned simple shapes, or maybe you want to try your hand at creating your own shapes. Mixed in with the shapes are three special tools that you can use to make your own lines and shapes: Curve, Freeform, and Scribble.

Try using the Curve tool first, and after you get the hang of that one, try Freeform and Scribble.

  1. Click the Media button on the Standard toolbar to display the Media browser, if it isn’t already visible.

  2. Click the Shapes tab and then choose Lines and Connectors from the pop-up menu.

  3. Click the Curve tool.

    The Curve tool is the one that looks like a handwritten S. When you select the Curve tool, the cursor changes into a plus sign (+) to signify it’s ready to start drawing a line as soon as you drag in the document, spreadsheet, or presentation.

  4. Click into your document and click the cursor as you move it; then move the cursor in another direction and click again.

    Your line continuously gets longer as you move the cursor around, until you double-click the mouse, which signifies the end of the line you’re drawing. Each time you click while you move the cursor, you create a point, which behaves as an axis for your line’s curves.

This sort of drawing creates Bézier curves. By doing a variation on the steps in the preceding section to create a curvy line, you can end at the same point you started and then double-click at the end of the line, which results in a closed path. When you create a closed path, you get a solid shape.

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You can format lines and the borders of solid shapes with great precision. For the ultimate in precision control of your lines and shapes, right-click or Control-click your line or shape and then choose Edit Points from the pop-up menu. Each click you made when drawing the line displays as a point. Right-click a point to display the Edit Points menu. You get the same menu when working with a line or a shape.

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When Edit Points is active, you can drag, add, and delete points as well as control exactly how the line behaves while it passes through each point. There’s still more! Right-click or Control-click right on top of a point. Notice the little handles that appear at the point. Drag the handles to control how the line passes through the point.

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It's often easier to work on small portions of a line by using the application's Zoom feature to zoom in and work closer.

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