How to draw in Microsoft PowerPoint to create custom designs on slides through the desktop app and online

insider@insider.com (Marissa Perino)
·4 min read
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Microsoft PowerPoint offers various shape and line tools on the app and web versions for drawing in your presentations.

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  • You may want to draw in PowerPoint to mark and edit slideshows, or create your own designs, especially if you're using a touchscreen.

  • It's easy to draw in Microsoft PowerPoint with the various shape and line tools like the pencil and highlighter available on the app and web versions.

  • You can access drawing tools in PowerPoint under the "Draw" menu in the "Insert" tab, or use the basic line functions available in the app's "Shapes" menu.

  • Visit Business Insider's Tech Reference library for more stories.

Learning how to draw in PowerPoint is easy with the program's library of art tools at your disposal.

The Microsoft app gives you access to pens, pencils, and highlighters in the "Draw" tab. You can also add new tools at any time, so your favorite colors are always available in your dock.

Drawing in PowerPoint is great for circling items or highlighting text. It's especially helpful for editing, so you can highlight important parts of a presentation you may have been sent. After marking the slideshow — like you would a physical document — you can then send it to recipients. 

While possible in all versions, drawing intricate designs may be easiest if you're using PowerPoint on a touchscreen computer or tablet, such as an iPad or Surface Pro.

In addition to the drawing tab, you can also use the essential line functions in the "Shapes" menu, found in the "Insert" tab. Unfortunately, these options are not available in the web version. 

PowerPoint Draw 1
Use the drawing tools to circle or highlight slideshow text.

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If you're looking to draw in PowerPoint, here's how to do it. 

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How to draw in PowerPoint

1. Open PowerPoint and load a new presentation or a previously saved project. 

2. Navigate to the "Draw" tab and click "Draw" on the far left.

3. You'll find several preloaded options, even if it's your first time using the drawing tools, including the pen, pencil, and highlighter options. Click on any tool to select it. 

4. Click the small arrow that appears in the lower right of your tool image to open a dropdown menu with options. Use this to adjust the size, color, and effects, or choose to delete the drawing.

PowerPoint Draw 2
Pencils and highlights do not have special effects, only solid colors.

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5. You can add another preset tool, so you'll always have it in the dock by clicking the "Add Pen" option to the right of the preset options bar. 

PowerPoint Draw 3
Here, you can set the new tool's style before adding to your presets.

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6. To erase any drawings or edits, navigate to the left side of the drawing dock, and select the eraser. 

7. To add something like a curve or scribble, or to freestyle draw using tools from the "Lines" section, navigate to the "Insert" tab. 

8. Click the "Shapes" button and select your tool. 

PowerPoint Draw 4
You can draw using lines instead of pre-made shapes.

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9. Online, the drawing menus are more limited. For example, when using pens, you'll choose from the colors provided instead of a color wheel or special effects.

PowerPoint Draw 5
Select a drawing tool in the condensed PowerPoint web version.

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10. If you opt to use the shape functions instead, the scribble and freeform lines are unavailable in the web version.

PowerPoint Draw 6
This is how PowerPoint's "Shapes" menu looks online.

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