Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. 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

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated February 17, 2024)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


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:

  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 group, 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.

If you are still using Word 2007, then the steps are slightly 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 Shape Styles group, 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, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021. 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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