Edit Clipart in PowerPoint

In a previous post I shared some tips for editing image files and photographs in PowerPoint.  This post is about editing clipart imported from Microsoft.  Clipart is composed of shapes of different sizes and colors that are grouped together.  Once you ungroup those shapes, the opportunities for editing are endless!

clipart of a sad goldfish

For instance, let’s say you need a fish image, and this poor little goldfish is close to what you want.  But he’s so sad looking and you want to add something to him.  No problem!

How to do it:

  1. Begin by right clicking the clipart and selecting Ungroup
    If the clipart is the type that can be edited it will either ungroup or you will get a message asking if you want to convert it to a drawing object.
  2. If asked, answer Yes, then right click again to select Ungroup.
    Tip: The image may be composed of more than one grouping of images, so you may need to ungroup more than one group of images.

Now you can start changing, moving or deleting each shape to create the clipart you want.

  1. Select a shape to change
  2. Select the Format tab on the top ribbon
  3. Use any of the formatting options to change the shape

Here’s how I edited the goldfish after ungrouping:

A.  I changed the size, shape and placement of the eyes.
Tip:  When moving shapes use the arrows on your keyboard rather than your mouse.  Make smaller, more precise movements by holding down the CTRL button while using the arrows.

B.  I changed the frown to a smile.

screen print of Edit Points option

  1. Right click and select Edit Points
  2. Drag the points to create the look you want

C.  I inserted clipart of a drink with a straw, then arranged the order of the fish shapes so it looks like the fish is holding the drink.Screen print of arrangement of shapes

  1. Select a shape or shapes (if selecting multiple shapes hold down the SHIFT key while selecting with the mouse)
  2. Right click and select one of the arrange options (Bring to Front, Bring Forward, Send to Back, Send Backwards)
    Tip:  Look for the simplest way to arrange the order so you don’t have to arrange too many pieces, which can get complicated.  In this instance I only needed to move the right fin to the front to get the look I wanted.

D.  I selected all the shapes to group them into one image.Screen print of all shapes selected to group

  1. Click in the white space in one corner of the canvas and drag to the other corner
  2. Right click anywhere on the lines (be sure the pointer looks like a plus sign with arrows before you click)
  3. Click Group
    Tip:  If you select Regroup by mistake, the images will revert to the original grouping. 

Final result is a happy goldfish drinking a soda

If you want to use your edited clipart in another application, right click and select Save as Picture to save it as an image file.  It will save in .png format which can be used in almost any application.

Here’s another quick example:

I used parts of multiple clipart to create the final image.

Screen shot of clipart used to create final image

By removing the backgrounds and unwanted objects, then placing the leftover parts over a single background, I was able to create an image that included several people and objects with the same background.  And because these people are made up of lots of parts, I can change their skin and hair color, their clothes or even how their arms and legs are positioned!

Final image of people cleaning up a park

The possibilities are truly endless once you start playing with these images.  You don’t have to be an artist or even the creative type to make the clipart you need for your publications.

Play around, have fun!  Take advantage of all the art included with your Microsoft Office applications and make them work for your purposes.

Happy communicating!

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