How To Combine Shapes in Keynote and Pages

You can combine two or more shapes from Apple's huge shape library to create your own unique shapes. You have four methods for combining shapes to add, subtract, exclude or find the union of the shapes. You can then save the shapes for later use.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: How To Combine Shapes in Keynote and Pages.

Hi, this is Gary with MacMost.com. MacMost is brought to you by the more than 300 people that support it through its Patreon Campaign. Find out how you can become a part of it at macmost.com/patreon.

So today let's take a look at using shapes in Pages, Keynote, and Numbers. Now I'm going to use Keynote here because it makes more sense to be playing around with shapes on a nice empty canvas like in Keynote. But you can do all the same stuff in Pages if you're making a document.

So you can select a shape and there are tons of different shapes. But you can alter these shapes. You can change the lines and points in them. You can also combine shapes which is what I'm going to talk about today. For instance let's take something simple like a square and let's add a circle as well. We have two different shapes. Now we can combine these in a variety of different ways. Right now they are two shapes. I can certainly Command click and get both of those. Then I go to Arrange and I can group them together. Now I can move them together as one thing.

But what I'm talking about here is actually going to Format, Shapes and Lines, and using one of these options here. I can Unite the shapes, find the Intersection of them, Subtract them, or find the Exclusion of them. So uniting them simply brings them both together. So now I have one shape here. It's a single shape. It's not two shapes grouped. I can't detach them anymore. It takes the combined form of everything in there. So let's Undo there and try another one.

I've got Intersect shapes. So that's going to take just the area where the two shapes intersected and it creates a new shape out of that. I can also go to Subtract and that's going to subtract the shape that's on top from the shape that's on the bottom. So it will cut out a piece. The last one is to find the exclusion. So basically any place where they overlap it's going to cut that out and any place where they don't overlap it's going to keep that. So those are some of the basics there.

You can use these to make new shapes. So, for instance, let's start with a circle and I'll just make this a little bit bigger. Then let's say let's go to something like under Arts and the Guitar here. You can see this guitar. I'm going to make it a different color temporarily over here in the Format sidebar so I can see it when I put it on top. I'm going to make it larger and I'm also going to rotate it so I can kind of stick it in the middle there. Grow it up a little bit more there. So there we go. I've got something like this. This could be like a symbol now.

If I wanted to make it a single shape what I could do I can select one and then the other. Of course if I were to Unite them I would just have the guitar neck sticking out of the circle. But if I were to go and find the intersection I would cut everything else out. What's more interesting is subtracting the shapes like that. So cutting out the shape of the guitar from the circle. Or even better yet excluding them and creating an interesting shape like this that kind of gives me different kind of logoish look for a guitar.

So now I've got this shape here. I can use that and color it in. I could, you know, do what I want with it inside of my document. I could even go ahead and save it as a custom shape. So you can see it's here. I can give it a name and continue to use it in other projects. So you can do a lot with this.

One disadvantages of combining shapes like this is a shape is only one color. So whatever the color is of whether it is a full fill or a gradient. I could certainly use a gradient instead. Then it's technically multiple colors. Right. So I could change this to another shade there. But in general it's one basic color fill or gradient fill. So that's maybe not the best reason to combine shapes.

But you certainly can use it to create some of your own shapes. You can combine certainly many more than just the two that I was showing. So, you know, I could combine a guitar and then I could add drums and then I could add something else like a saxophone. I can have these all separate shapes here. Select them all and I could Unite them. Now I have a single shape. Or I could bring them closer to each other so they actually overlap or intersect each other in some way. So it does give you the ability to get a little more creative with shapes. Certainly if you're animating or using some sort of transition in Keynote it could be easier to have things grouped together as one shape image rather than several separate ones.

Comments: 3 Responses to “How To Combine Shapes in Keynote and Pages”

    Winni
    3 weeks ago

    Great!! Thanks….i did not know and i centainly wil use them!!

    Ramayya
    3 weeks ago

    Thanks for the tip! Now I can create graphics to explain complex concepts!!!!

    Shirley
    2 weeks ago

    The Format side Panel > Arrange tab does the same thing.

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