PowerPoint 2013 For Dummies
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Whenever you have more than one object on a PowerPoint 2013 slide, the potential exists for objects to overlap one another. Like most drawing programs, PowerPoint handles this problem by layering objects like a stack of plates. The first object that you draw is at the bottom of the stack; the second object is on top of the first; the third is atop the second object; and so on.

If two objects overlap, the one that’s at the highest layer wins; objects below it are partially covered. (Note that PowerPoint’s layers aren’t nearly as powerful as layers in other programs, such as Adobe Illustrator or AutoCAD. All they really do is set the stacking order when objects are placed on top of one another.)

So far, so good — but what if you don’t remember to draw the objects in the correct order? What if you draw a shape that you want to tuck behind a shape that you’ve already drawn, or what if you want to bring an existing shape to the top of the pecking order?

No problem. PowerPoint enables you to change the stacking order by moving objects toward the front or back so that they overlap just the way you want.

The Drawing Tools tab provides two controls that let you move an object forward or backward in the layer order:

  • Bring to Front: Brings the chosen object to the top of the stack. Note that this button has a down arrow next to it. If you click this down arrow, you reveal a menu with two subcommands: Bring to Front and Bring Forward. The Bring Forward command moves the object just one step closer to the top of the heap, whereas the Bring to Front command moves the object all the way to the top.

  • Send to Back: Sends the chosen object to the back of the stack. Again, this button has a down arrow next to it. You can click this down arrow to access the Send Backward subcommand, which sends the object one level down in the layer order.

Layering problems are most obvious when objects have a fill color. If an object has no fill color, objects behind it are allowed to show through. In this case, the layering doesn’t matter much.

To bring an object to the top of another, you might have to use the Bring Forward command several times. The reason is that even though the two objects appear to be adjacent, other objects might occupy the layers between them.

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Doug Lowe is the bestselling author of more than 40 For Dummies books. He's covered everything from Microsoft Office to creating web pages to technologies such as Java and ASP.NET, and has written several editions of both PowerPoint For Dummies and Networking For Dummies.

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