Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Changing an AutoShape.

Changing a Shape

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 28, 2017)

Word has a feature that allows you to insert pre-defined drawing shapes in your documents, such as rectangles, ovals, or stars. There may be times when you want to completely change a drawing shape from one to another. For instance, you may want to change one banner shape to another. While you can simply delete your original shape and then draw a new one, Word makes it easy to change shapes by following these steps if you are using Word 2007:

  1. Select the shape you want to change. Word displays handles around the outside of the shape and automatically displays the Format tab of the ribbon. If the Format tab is not selected, click on it once. (This tab is not even visible or accessible unless the shape is selected.)
  2. In the Shape Styles area, click Change Shape. Word displays a drop-down list of the available shapes.
  3. Select the shape you want to use.

If you are using Word 2010 or a later version, then the process is a little different:

  1. Select the shape you want to change. Word displays handles around the outside of the shape and automatically displays the Format tab of the ribbon. If the Format tab is not selected, click on it once. (This tab is not even visible or accessible unless the shape is selected.)
  2. In the Insert Shapes area, click the Edit Shape tool and then click Change Shape. Word displays a drop-down list of the available shapes.
  3. Select the shape you want to use.

Word changes the shape used, without changing the overall size or shape of the bounding rectangle that contains the shape. You can then proceed to edit the new shape, as desired.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (5961) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Changing an AutoShape.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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