If you use Adobe Illustrator, or other vector art programs, you are familiar with Bezier curves. Vector art is scalable, without resolution loss, and is editable in both appearance and in shape. PowerPoint shapes are vector graphics and can be edited directly in PowerPoint just like editing vector art in Illustrator (but with a simplified set of options). For example, Christie on the TLC Creative design team created this example showing how a rectangle can be edited into a purple jelly bean shape – all inside PowerPoint, using native PowerPoint features.
1. Create any shape in PowerPoint, mine is a purple rectangle
2. Right click on the shape and select EDIT POINTS
3. A rectangle is a simple vector shape with just 4 points, one for each corner. Click and select any of the points. The Bezier handles will display. Right-click the selected point and from the pop up menu we can change the type of Bezier corner.
PowerPoint points can be SMOOTH, STRAIGHT, or CORNER points. For a rectangle, with all straight edges, the points are CORNER points which keeps the Bezier handles straight and 90 degrees to each other. But to create my purple jelly bean I do not want the 90 degree corner and change its properties to SMOOTH.
4. The Bezier handles move outside the shape and it becomes a radius corner.
5. My purple jelly bean has no straight lines, so all 4 points are changed to SMOOTH points. The rectangle is now a “blob” with no straight edges.
6. This next step has nothing to do with shape edit points, but I cannot leave a slide with an ugly shape, so I am adding a cast shadow.
7. Back to editing shape points, and some design – duplicate the shape, change the color to a lighter shade of purple and then right-click and select EDIT POINTS.
8. Through a combination of adding a few new points (also SMOOTH points) and moving the position of points and Bezier handles, it was pretty quick and easy to create a new custom shape that is now a highlight accent.
9. To make the large blob shape more like a jelly bean, right-click > edit points > add a new point in the top center (make it a SMOOTH point) and drag it down a bit.
10. Done – at least enough for this tutorial, and we never left PowerPoint. Think of it as working in a legacy version of Illustrator, maybe 2.0.