3 Ways to Circle Something in Powerpoint (Step-by-Step GIF)

There are three main ways to circle a word in PowerPoint:

  1. Insert oval shape.
  2. Insert a transparent image of a circle.
  3. Draw the circle.

Combined, these three methods should cover pretty much every single use case you can think of.

Method 1: Insert circle shape

This is the most common PowerPoint method to create a circle to highlight a word. Below is what the end result should look like.

Step 1. Press Insert -> Shapes -> Basic Shapes -> Oval. There is no basic circle shape, so you have to use the oval and try to approximate it properly into a circle.

Step 2. Your cursor will now change. Hold left click and draw the circle or oval. Use the arrows and bubbles to move the circle around or increase / decrease its size.

Step 3. You’ve now created a circle, but it is not transparent. To make the circle transparent, click the circle shape -> Shape Format -> Shape Fill -> Click “No Fill”.

Step 4. To change the circle’s outline color then click Shape Outline -> choose a color from Theme colors or Standard colors.

Step 5. To change the outline thickness, click on Shape Outline -> Weight.

Method 2: Insert a circle shape photo

If you still don’t like what the circle looks like, then one final option is to insert a transparent circle image. Here’s what it will look like:

Step 1. First, you will need to find an image of a transparent circle. To do so, you’ll need to Google some specific terms that produce transparent images. For this example, we’ll use “hand circle transparent png”. If you want to skip this, here is the link for the circle.

Step 2. After you’ve downloaded the circle, go to Insert -> Pictures -> This Device.

Step 3. Navigate to the Downloads folder and select the circle image you have just downloaded.

Step 4. Move the circle over the word you which to highlight and customize its shape and size with the dots.

(OPTIONAL) Step 5. If you can’t properly customize the size and shape of the image, press right click -> Size and Position.

Step 6. In the “Format Picture” menu, deactivate “Lock aspect ratio”. This will enable you to adjust the image’s height, width and length independently.

Step 7. If you wish to recolor the image, click on it and then press “Picture format” in the top toolbar.

Step 8. Select “Color” and choose the color that you want.

NOTE: This feature doesn’t “change” the color of the image. Instead, it adds a filter on top of the original color. This means you will have to experiment until you find the correct color filter to produce your desired color. So don’t be frustrated if you can’t get the color you want right away, it’s normal for that to happen.  

Method 3: Draw a circle

If you don’t like what the default shapes look like, you can try to draw the circle yourself. If you’re as good an artist as myself, the end result should look something like this:

Step 1. Click on the “Draw” tab and choose a pen you would like to use. Your cursor should now draw like a pen, so hold left click and draw your circle.

 Step 2. If you don’t like the color or thickness of the circle, press undo or Ctrl + Z. Then right click on a chosen pen, and select “Modify Tool”.

Step 3. From the drop-down menu, you can customize the Thickness, Colors and Effects of the pen.

Step 4. If you don’t like any of the drawing tools, you can create a new one from the “Add Pen” button.

Paul Bonea
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