Customizing Shapes in Pages, Numbers and Keynote

The new shapes included with updates to Pages, Numbers and Keynote can be customized by altering the points, lines and curves in the shape. You can also combine multiple shapes into one. You can save your new shape so it appears in all three apps for future use. If you break apart some shapes, you can apply different colors to different parts.

Video Transcript
In a previous video I talked about how a new feature in Pages 6.2 is the ability to not just add simple shapes like the basic things but also these complex shapes. There's all these different ones that Apple included.

But you can also customize these shapes. You can do it in a couple different ways. You can even save your custom versions of these shapes. There's a whole bunch of different things you can do. So as an example let's choose this school building here. Let's enlarge it a bit so we can see it easier. Let's say we want to alter the shape of it. So you can go to Format, Shapes and Lines, and choose Make Editable. Or Control click and do it.

You can see now I've got these little dots all around and I can change things. I can take any dot I want and move it. Undo works nicely to undo things so you can experiment. So, for instance, say I wanted to make this flag taller. I can actually select several dots and move the flag up. I have to select one of the squares there to do it. You get squares and circles. The circles when you select those individually, here's like one, that is for a curve. The squares are for points. So you can do all sorts of things. By selecting all of the circles, I'm going to hold down the Shift key as I select these, you can delete things. So I can get rid of that circle there. Maybe I want to get rid of this window here so I'll select all of these. This is kind of getting rid of a cutout shape.

Now it's very tricky sometimes to select things because if you go to select a shape and you do it kind of in the middle then it assumes that you've double clicked to actually type some text. So sometimes it helps to just click kind of on a fringe element to get into it there. From there click on any dot you want or any circle that you want to alter things. You can click and drag just like an entire object. Sometimes they're made out of multiple objects like the roof and the main part of the building.

Now once you've altered the shape, say you want to use this again, you can actually save it. You go to Format, Shapes and Lines, and you can hit Save to My Shapes. You can name it. So we'll call it School Two. It's under My Shapes which won't appear until you actually have your first one. So work will be at the end and there will be nothing there but the first time you add one, now you have School Two. I can add another School Two to it. It's a little tricky but you can actually work with these. You can Control click on them and you can Delete them or rename them.

So let's look at some other objects. If we look through here we can find some shapes that have multiple pieces to them and some that have only a single piece. Like for instance this is a single piece here. This has a circle and multiple pieces to it. So we can use on this the Shapes and Lines, Break Apart. What does that do? It breaks each piece into its own thing. How is this useful? Well, coloring. Because you can only have a single color for the entire shape. Now I've broken it apart and I can select these three here. I can go to Format and change the color of those. So you can have multi colored shapes. Now you can't make this a shape again. If I were to go to Shape and Lines here and say Unite Them, it's going to give it a single color. But I can go to Arrange Group, group it together and now it's got multiple shapes in a group. I can't make this a shape I can reuse but at least I can drag it around as a single object and scale it. So you have that ability.

So there are other things you can do to create unique shapes. For instance you can go to Shape and let's add two shapes here. We'll use this sign and then make that pretty big. Then we'll take a shape like the crescent moon here. We can take this crescent moon, let's make it a different color so we can see it clearly, and we can say let's put it inside the sign. Now if we wanted to make this a single shape we can select the whole thing and we can go to Shapes and Lines. We can say let's subtract the one on top from the one on the bottom. So you can see it cuts it out. Now that's a regular single shape. So I can now Save to My Shapes.

When you save custom shapes they then work in Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. So here I am in a new document in Keynote. I can go to Shape, and under My Shapes there are the new shapes I've created. I can use them there in Keynote.

Comments: 3 Responses to “Customizing Shapes in Pages, Numbers and Keynote”

    Law Thim Fook
    7/18/17 @ 3:00 am

    Much thanks for the great tip, Gary.

    Vincent Allard
    8/10/17 @ 6:44 am

    Hi Gary,

    Thanks for this another great video.

    It is great that we can save customized shapes and that they are available in Keynote, Page and Numbers. But how to backup them, if I buy a new iMac and want to use them on it?

    I don’t think they are backed up to iCloud.

    8/10/17 @ 6:59 am

    Vincent: Not sure. Time Machine is what you should be using for “back up” as iCloud does not truly back up your Mac — it just stores files there. Big difference. And Time Machine backs up everything on your drive. If you buy a new Mac, you could use Migration Assistant to go to the new Mac, which will copy over settings for apps, which should include custom shapes.
    Of course, using the Shapes in a document would mean you could simply copy and paste from that document to a new one anyway.

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