What Is AutoShapes?

AutoShapes is a Microsoft Office feature that lets users draw graphics of different shapes and sizes as an alternative to importing them from another software application. The feature applies to MS Excel, MS FrontPage, MS Power Point and MS Word. A user can draw straight lines, flow chart elements, call-outs, stars and banners.

A user accesses the Drawing toolbar of any document that supports the feature and clicks the AutoShapes icon. Then he clicks a preferred shape, such as a circle or square, and clicks the position in the document where he wants to draw the shape. The document displays the graphic with its default settings for size and other features after the user holds down the mouse button and drags at the point of insertion.

It’s possible to organize several AutoShapes into a canvass, a rectangular area that an MS Word document creates once a user clicks a button to insert an AutoShape. The canvass preserves any drawn graphics in their relative positions even when a user introduces a page break or intervening text. A user can move as a set all graphics put in a drawing canvass. A user can add text to all AutoShapes except a line or freeform. It’s also possible to reshape or rotate AutoShapes.