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Weekly Computer Tip # 140
21 January 2006

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nudging objects, such as AutoShapes, in small increments (Microsoft PowerPoint)

This week I was working on a PowerPoint presentation with somebody else. (Hi, Emma!) OK, it was an important presentation for a workshop in Houston next week, but using the Drawing toolbar for grouping, rotating and flipping objects (no pun intended) just takes forever! Not to mention the fact that nudging AutoShapes on your slides seems to have a mind of its own. They "snap to grid", whereas you simply might want to move them a tiny amount. Sounds familiar? Well, I've got good news for you! Emma showed me an extremely quick way to move an object on a slide just a little bit. (Thanks, Emma!)

Here's how:

  1. Select the object. The AutoShape or picture should be surrounded by eight "handles", indicating that it is selected.
  2. While holding down the [CTRL] key, press the Up, Down, Left or Right arrow on your keyboard to move the selected object in tiny increments.

Here's the science bit ... the nudge distance is a 1-pixel increment. But the increment depends on the zoom percentage. For instance, when zoomed in to 400 percent, 1 screen pixel is a relatively small nudge distance on the slide. When zoomed out to 25 percent, 1 screen pixel is a relatively large nudge distance on the slide. In short: if you want to use smaller nudge distances to refine the placement of objects on your slide, zoom to 400 percent and use the CTRL+ARROW keys.

Until next week.

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January 2006