Control Placement in PowerPoint Slides By Nudging Objects

Use Arrow Keys on the Number Keypad to Nudge Graphic Objects

Microsoft PowerPoint 2016 Preview
Microsoft PowerPoint 2016 Preview.


After you place a graphic object on a PowerPoint slide, "nudge" the object to move it just a little bit in any direction. Select the object and use the arrow keys on your keyboard to move the object left, right, up or down until it's positioned exactly where you want it.

The default distance setting for a nudge is six points (also known as one pica). An inch consists of 72 points, so every point is 1/72nd of an inch—or 0.01389 inches.

Manual Fine-tuning

If the default PowerPoint setting for nudging is too large for a specific need, manually adjust the increments of movement even smaller. Hold down the Ctrl key (Ctrl + Command on a Mac) while using the arrow keys. The nudge setting decreases to 1.25 points for finer manipulation of the object placement. This is a temporary adjustment. You can also permanently reduce the default nudge setting.

Reduce Default Nudge Setting

When you first install PowerPoint, the Snap Object to Grid feature is turned on. This setting determines the distance for the nudge as well. The default nudge setting is six points when the Snap Object to Grid is turned on. If you turn off Snap Object to Grid, the nudge default setting is 1.25 points. To turn Snap Object to Grid off:

  1. Choose View > Guides
  2. Remove the check mark beside Snap Object to Grid to turn off the feature and reduce the default nudge setting to 1.25 points

Objects and Arrows

In addition to using Ctrl to modify an arrow press to decrease the nudge size, you can press the Alt keys with the left and right arrows to rotate the object left or right (and press Ctrl+Alt with the arrow key to reduce the amount of the rotation). Press Shift plus either the down or left arrow to make the object smaller, or Shift plus the right or up arrow to make it bigger. Similarly, using Ctrl+Shift makes the size of the increase or decrease smaller to permit more granular keyboard edits.