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Weekly Computer Tip # 144
24 February 2006

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draw a perfect square or circle (Microsoft Office)

Yes, I know ... this tip is a week late. I could blame delayed internet delivery, but I'm sure you'd see through that one. So, I'm sorry and everything, but I had a good excuse. (I was in Singapore for work.) But I'm back with one of those tricks most course participants seem to love when I tell them about it ... drawing a perfect square or circle. Oh, and just in case you already know how to do that, I've included a bonus tip so I don't feel guilty about skipping a week! ;-)

You probably know that the Drawing Toolbar in PowerPoint (or in Word, Excel and Outlook, for that matter) allows you to add different types of so-called AutoShapes to your work. Two of the basic shapes, Rectangle and Oval, can even be found on the toolbar itself, rather than by going to the group of ready-made shapes. But have you ever tried to draw a perfect square or circle, rather than a rectangle or oval?

Here's how:

  1. Click on the Rectangle or Oval button on the Drawing toolbar. (If necessary, click Customize on the Tools menu, and then click the Drawing check box on the Toolbars to display the toolbar.)
  2. Press and hold down both the [SHIFT] key and the mouse button.
  3. Drag the mouse pointer diagonally downward and to the right until the rectangle or circle drawn has your preferred measurements.
  4. Release the mouse button.
  5. Release the [SHIFT] key.

In short, simply hold down the SHIFT key while dragging the mouse pointer!

And now for that bonus tip ... to insert multiple shapes, double-click the oval or rectangle button on the Drawing toolbar and simply click anywhere in your document to get perfectly shaped squares or circles that can be resized in the normal way. When you're finished click the oval or rectangle button again or press the ESC(ape) key.

Finally, don't forget to tune into BBC Radio Cambridgeshire (http://www.bbc.co.uk/england/radiocambridgeshire/index.shtml) between 2 and 3 this afternoon. OK, I know you're probably at work, but you can listen live online and well, it's kind of free training, isn't it?

Until next week.

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February 2006