Proper alignment and spacing of objects and text are two of the most fundamental aspects of good slide design.
A slide with misaligned items, or items with unequal spacing, can be quite distracting.
Even when items are just a few pixels out of alignment, you might not notice it… but your brain does.
This creates an impression of a sloppy presentation. You might think to yourself, “If the slide looks unprofessional, can I really trust the information on the slide?”
The Alignment Tools
The Alignment Tools in PowerPoint allow us to align objects with pixel-perfect precision (say that three times fast) with just a few clicks.
Take for example the following slide.
We would like to align all the circular graphics as if an imaginary vertical line were to cut each circle into equal halves.
Quick Tip – Selecting Objects
If you place your pointer on the slide canvas, click-and-hold the left mouse button, then drag the mouse, you will create a selection box. Any object that is 100% enclosed within the selecting box will be selected.
The Alignment controls are located on various ribbons (and even when right-clicking) to facilitate ease of use. Whichever you use will yield the same results.
When you select one of these controls (ex: Home (tab) -> Drawing (group) -> Arrange -> Align) you will be presented with six alignment options.
The first set of three options (Left – Center – Right) are for vertical alignment while the second set of three options (Top – Middle – Bottom) are for horizontal alignment.
If you select the image objects and click Align Center, all the selected objects are now aligned on a center line.
To further enhance the images, we can select the images for “Title Three” and align those images along an imaginary horizontal line. This would require the use of an Align Middle operation.
If we select all the text boxes, we can implement an Align Left to achieve a very professional look.
Distributing Empty Space Equally
Another feature that assists greatly in creating professional looking slides is the Distribution feature.
The idea behind this feature is that when you have multiple objects (i.e. 3 or more objects), you can select the objects and apply equal spacing between each object.
NOTE: When selecting multiple objects, the outer-most objects become the “anchor points”. These two objects remain fixed; the inner objects will move to produce the desired result.
In the below example, using the Distribute Horizontally feature will place equal spacing between each of the circle pairs.