Selecting shapes that are covered by other shapes
If you have a complex drawing that layers shapes one over the other, it can be difficult to select shapes that are covered by others since you can't click on them.
You can cycle through all the shapes on the slide, selecting one at a time, using the TAB key. Each time you press TAB, PowerPoint selects the next shape on the slide. Press SHIFT+TAB to have it select the previous shape.
The PPTools Starter Set Plus toolkit for Powerpoint includes a layer manager tool you can use to select, move, reorder, hide, delete or copy any shape on a slide with a click.
There's also a very handy button you can customize onto any convenient toolbar (thanks to Luc Sanders for pointing this out):
- Choose View, Toolbars, Customize from the main menu bar to open the Customize dialog box.
- Click the Commands tab
- Click "Drawing" in the "Categories" list. The dialog box should look like this:
- Click and drag "Select Multiple Objects" from the "Commands" list to any toolbar you like. Release the mouse button when the "I-beam" insertion cursor appears where you want the button to be.
- Click Close to dismiss the Customize dialog box
Now when you click the new Select Multiple Objects button, you get a dialog box that looks like this in PowerPoint 2000:
(PowerPoint 2002/XP adds Select All and Select None buttons)
Any objects (shapes) that were selected when you clicked the button will have a checkmark next to them. You can see the text from text boxes, text in shapes or (if the shape has no text) the Alternative text assigned the shape in the Format AutoShape dialog, Web tab, which can help you distinguish one shape from another.
You can add or remove checkmarks to select or de-select additional objects. Click OK when you're done, and all of the checkmarked items will be selected and ready to work with.