How to Swap Shapes in PowerPoint

In the fast-paced world of finance, creating compelling presentations is essential for effectively communicating complex ideas to clients, stakeholders, and colleagues. Swapping out shapes is one simple yet powerful way to enhance your PowerPoint slides’ visual appeal and clarity.

PowerPoint offers a wide array of shapes that can be used to visually represent data, processes, and concepts in financial presentations. These shapes include primary geometric forms like rectangles, circles, and triangles and more complex shapes like arrows, stars, and callouts. Each shape has a specific purpose and can be strategically used to direct your audience’s attention and reinforce your message.

In this blog post, we’ll explore how finance professionals and investment bankers can easily swap shapes in PowerPoint to take their presentations to the next level. We’ll be referencing a sample dataset that showcases how different shapes can be utilized across various slides to enhance the presentation.


Why You Might Want to Swap Shapes

Swapping shapes in PowerPoint can significantly improve the visual appeal of your financial slides. You can enhance your professional appearance by choosing shapes that align with your content and brand guidelines, creating a cohesive look.

Moreover, suitable shapes can help clarify complex financial concepts and processes. For instance, changing a rectangle to an arrow can effectively indicate the flow of financial data, making it easier for your audience to follow.

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Swapping Shapes in PowerPoint: A Step-by-Step Guide

A. Basic Steps

Step 1: Choose the shape you want to change.

Step 2: Navigate to the ‘Shape Format’ tab.

Step 3: Click ‘Edit Shape’ in the ‘Insert Shapes’ group.

Step 4: Select ‘Change Shape’ and choose your desired shape from the dropdown menu.

In Slide 1, we can see a rectangle representing financial data. Replacing the rectangle with an ellipse can create a more visually appealing representation that captures the audience’s attention.

B. Advanced Techniques

In addition to the basic steps outlined above, there are several advanced techniques you can use to streamline the shape-swapping process, such as:

  • Grouping Shapes: When working with multiple shapes that need to be swapped simultaneously, group them first. Select all the shapes you want to group, right-click, and choose ‘Group.’ Then, follow the basic steps to swap the shapes within the group.

  • Using Shape Styles: Using PowerPoint’s built-in shape styles, ensure that your swapped shapes maintain a consistent style. After swapping a shape, right-click on it and select ‘Format Shape‘. From there, you can apply pre-designed styles or create your own.

Whatever technique you use, always remember that consistency is vital in financial presentations, where clarity and precision are paramount. Maintaining a consistent design across all your slides ensures effective message communication and engages your audience.

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How to Swap Shapes in PowerPoint

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Tips for Effective Shape Swapping

To make the most of shape-swapping in your financial presentations, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Maintain Consistency: Ensure that your replaced shapes match your presentation’s overall look and feel. Use colors, fonts, and styles that harmonize with your brand guidelines to establish a unified visual experience.
  • Align and Distribute: Use PowerPoint’s alignment and distribution tools to keep your slides clean and professional. Such tools ensure that your shapes are evenly spaced and aligned, creating a polished appearance.
  • Animation and Transition: Be mindful of how changing shapes can affect animations and transitions in your presentation. You may need to adjust your animations when swapping shapes to ensure a smooth flow from one slide to the next.

In Slide 4 of our dataset, a hexagon is swapped with a pentagon to align with brand guidelines, ensuring consistency across the presentation.

Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

While shape swapping can significantly enhance your financial presentations, there are a few common mistakes to watch out for, including:

  • Overuse of Shapes: Avoid cluttering your slides with too many shapes, as it can overwhelm your audience and detract from your core message. Use shapes strategically to highlight key points and guide your audience’s attention.
  • Inconsistent Styling: When swapping shapes, ensure the new shape matches the presentation’s overall design. Inconsistent styling can make your slides appear unprofessional and distract from your content.
  • Neglecting Content: While visuals are important, remember that your presentation’s content should always take center stage. Use shape swapping to enhance your message, not to overshadow it.

Slide 5 in our dataset demonstrates how a triangle is swapped with a diamond to enhance the clarity of a critical metric without overwhelming the slide.

Using Shape Tools by Macabacus

Want more powerful tools for arranging and sizing shapes in PowerPoint? Macabacus offers a set of helpful tools on its ‘Shapes’ group. The tools go beyond what PowerPoint itself provides, giving you more control and making the process more user-friendly. While some of Macabacus’s tools might seem familiar, they offer extra features or a more intuitive way to work compared to PowerPoint’s built-in options.

In the ‘Macabacus’ > ‘Swap Positions’ menu, you can swap the position of two shapes using one of the options below:

  • Center Anchor: Swap the center positions of two selected shapes.
  • Top Right Anchor: Swap the top right positions of two selected shapes.
  • Top Left Anchor: Swap the top left positions of two selected shapes.
  • Bottom Right Anchor: Swap the bottom right positions of two selected shapes.
  • Bottom Left Anchor: Swap the bottom left positions of two selected shapes.


Swapping shapes in PowerPoint is a simple yet effective way to elevate your financial presentations. By understanding the different types of shapes available and how to use them strategically, you can create more visually appealing, clear, and engaging slides.

As we’ve seen throughout this post, the key to successful shape swapping is maintaining consistency, using shapes to clarify your message, and avoiding common mistakes like overusing shapes or neglecting content.

Leveraging the appropriate tools can significantly impact the productivity and quality of presentations for finance and banking teams. Macabacus offers a suite of solutions tailored for Microsoft Office, helping users quickly format spreadsheets, audit formulas, create presentations, and ensure accuracy and consistency across documents. Trusted by professionals worldwide, Macabacus is designed to save time on routine tasks, ensure reliable linking between Excel, PowerPoint, and Word, and maintain brand compliance.

We encourage you to experiment with shape-swapping in your presentations and share your tips and experiences with the finance community. By continuously refining your PowerPoint skills and staying attuned to best practices, you can craft presentations that effectively convey your ideas and make a lasting impression on your audience.

Create Financial Models 10x Faster with Macabacus

Gain access to 100+ shortcuts, formula auditing visualizations, easy Excel-to-PowerPoint linking and productivity tools to help you accelerate financial modeling and presentations.

Start your Free Trial

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