Control Placement in PowerPoint Slides by Nudging Objects

Use arrow keys on the number keypad to nudge graphic objects

Make an image background transparent in PowerPoint

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After you place a graphic object on a PowerPoint slide, you may want to move it slightly to place it on the slide just right. When you want to move the object slightly, nudge the object to move it just a little bit in any direction. All it takes is a few keystrokes.

Instructions in this article apply to PowerPoint 2019, PowerPoint 2016, PowerPoint 2013, PowerPoint 2010, PowerPoint for Office 365, and PowerPoint Online.

Nudge an Object in PowerPoint

When you nudge an object in PowerPoint, the object moves in small increments. The direction the object moves depends on which arrow key you press.

  1. Select the object.

  2. 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.

Manual Fine-tuning

If the default PowerPoint setting for nudging is too large for a specific need, manually adjust the increments of movement.

  1. Press and hold the Ctrl key.

  2. Use the arrow keys to nudge the object. The nudge setting decreases 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 Snap Objects to Grid is turned on. If you turn off Snap Objects to Grid, the nudge default setting is 1.25 points. To turn Snap Objects to Grid off:

  1. Go to View.

  2. Select Grid Settings in the lower-right corner of the Show group.

    Grid Settings dialog launcher
  3. Remove the check mark beside Snap objects to grid to turn off the feature and reduce the default nudge setting to 1.25 points.

    Snap objects to grid
  4. Select OK.

Objects and Arrows

In addition to using Ctrl to modify an arrow press to decrease the nudge size, press the Alt key with the left and right arrows to rotate the object left or right.

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.