Title of article written as text fitted into a circle, triangle and hexagon respectively
Title of article written as text fitted into a circle, triangle and hexagon respectively

How to make text fit into a shape in PowerPoint

Circles are great shapes for making bold points on a slide. But when you start typing in them, you’ll discover that PowerPoint only lets you put text in a virtual square within it. So you can’t go the full width of the circle, or create text in a roughly circular shape.

It’s the same for all shapes that aren’t rectangles.

A circle, a triangle and a rounded-corner rectangle, each shown with an overlaid placeholder illustrating the available text area.

Perhaps you’ve tried to get around this by putting a text box on top of the shape. That can work, but you’ve made a lot of extra work for yourself.

Try this simple method instead

Before you start, get rid of the padding around your text by reducing the text margins to zero.

Screen shot of text margin settings
Right-click on the shape and choose Size and Position
In the pane on the right, expand the Text Box section
Set all the margins to zero. The quickest way to do this is to type a 0 in the Left Margin, then type Tab, 0, Tab, 0, Tab, 0. Much faster than clicking in and out or using the little arrows to decrease them all to zero.

Reducing the margins might actually give you the extra space that you need. If it doesn’t, read on.

Step 1

Screen shot of Do not Autofit and Wrap text options
In the same Text Box section of the pane, Make sure that Do No Autofit is checked.
Now uncheck Wrap text in shape. Don’t worry if your text now sticks out either side of your shape, you’ll fix that in the next step.

Step 2

Simply place manual line breaks to make the text fit your shape.
Use SHIFT + Return to create the line breaks so that you don’t get any unwanted line spacing that a simple Return may give.
Adjust the alignment of your text according to your shape; circles should be middle-aligned, whereas a triangle might make more sense bottom-aligned.
Screen recording of the steps outlined above

It will take a little trial and error to find the combination of line breaks that works for you. You may want to try a different font size or line spacing. Or maybe even change the words. But try to avoid hyphenating words to make them fit, except as a very last resort.

I only recommend using this technique on very short phrases. Not whole paragraphs – it’s not easy for people to read without a straight boundary. And it is also very hard for you when it comes to editing the text.

Do you want to learn how to improve the quality of your documents so that they reflect the quality of your thinking? Talk to us to discuss how we can help.
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May 25, 2021

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