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Because PowerPoint is a visual tool, combining content and layout, it's important that the elements on your slides line up nicely. This is partially an aesthetic so your slides look good. Our brains are wired for symmetry and balance. If your elements are off center, it takes extra mind power to process the layout before turning to the content. You have some tools to help you line up your slides. Go to the View tab and over here in the Show group you have Ruler, Gridlines and Guides. It's nice to know that you can activate these from the keyboard as well. Shift+F9 turns on and off your Gridlines; Alt+F9 turns on and off your Guides; and Alt+Shift+F9 turns on and off your Ruler.
Now let's click on the Launch button in the Show group and we have a dialog box. First there is checkmarks for Snap objects to grid and Snap objects to other objects. Let me show you what happens when I turn these off. When they're both off, I can pick up my images and they are just kind of move slowly wherever I move them on the slide. I have full control over their position. When I turn these on, notice that as I drag they jerk a little bit. They are automatically snapping to the dots in the guidelines. They'll also try and snap to other objects as well.
Now let's refine these further. You can adjust your Grid settings, the dots in the gridlines, so that they are closer together or further apart. I'll go ahead and put these back to 1/24th of an inch. This checkmark simply displays the grid on the screen. Under Guide settings, here you can turn on and off the guide, and this last checkmark, displays smart guides when shapes are aligned, so that when I drag a shape, when the centers or the right or left or top or bottom edges line up, you'll see a marker.
If you have particular settings that you like, you can use the Set as Default, so that every new PowerPoint presentation has these settings. I'll go ahead and click OK. So I've already shown you how you can pick up the images and they will snap to aesthetic positions. I'm going to go down to Slide 6, and watch what happens when I drag the star. When I drag it up or down, as soon as the centers match up, you see that little line up here, that's telling me that my center dots in the image are lined up with the center dots right here.
Now let's take a look at the Guides. These are the two lines bisecting your slide both vertically and horizontally. Notice on the ruler that they start at zero, the origin. When I click on one of the guide lines and hold the mouse down, I can see my exact position from center. I can move it up; it will show me how far from the center I am. It will show me again, how far down from the center I am. The reason why I like these guides, if I have a shape that I need to position in an exact location on my slide, I can make an intersection where I want it to go, and then, for example, if I wanted to insert, let's say an action button, which we'll talk about later in the course, I can use these guides as an intersection to make sure that I have my button positioned exactly where I want it to be.
By taking advantage of gridlines and guides and snapping to objects as you drag, you can save a lot of time in aligning your objects on screen. It also does your audience a favor, since they can spend their time focusing on your content, instead of noticing objects that are just slightly out of alignment.
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