Shape Object

Multiple objects
Multiple objects

Represents an object in the drawing layer, such as an AutoShape, freeform, OLE object, ActiveX control, or picture. The Shape object is a member of the Shapes collection, which includes all the shapes in the main story of a document or in all the headers and footers of a document.

A shape is always attached to an anchoring range. You can position the shape anywhere on the page that contains the anchor.

Note There are three objects that represent shapes: the Shapes collection, which represents all the shapes on a document; the ShapeRange collection, which represents a specified subset of the shapes on a document (for example, a ShapeRange object could represent shapes one and four on the document, or it could represent all the selected shapes on the document); the Shape object, which represents a single shape on a document. If you want to work with several shape at the same time or with shapes within the selection, use a ShapeRange collection.

Using the Shape Object

This section describes how to:

  • Return an existing shape on a document, indexed by name or number.
  • Return a shape or shapes within a selection.
  • Return a newly created shape.
  • Return a single shape from within a group.
  • Return a newly formed group of shapes.

Returning an existing shape on a document

Use Shapes(index), where index is the name or the index number, to return a single Shape object. The following example horizontally flips shape one on the active document.

ActiveDocument.Shapes(1).Flip msoFlipHorizontal

The following example horizontally flips the shape named "Rectangle 1" on the active document.

ActiveDocument.Shapes("Rectangle 1").Flip msoFlipHorizontal

Each shape is assigned a default name when it is created. For example, if you add three different shapes to a document, they might be named "Rectangle 2," "TextBox 3," and "Oval 4." To give a shape a more meaningful name, set the Name property.

Returning a Shape or Shapes Within a Selection

Use Selection.ShapeRange(index), where index is the name or the index number, to return a Shape object that represents a shape within a selection. The following example sets the fill for the first shape in the selection, assuming that the selection contains at least one shape.

Selection.ShapeRange(1).Fill.ForeColor.RGB = RGB(255, 0, 0)

The following example sets the fill for all the shapes in the selection, assuming that the selection contains at least one shape.

Selection.ShapeRange.Fill.ForeColor.RGB = RGB(255, 0, 0)

Returning a Newly Created Shape

To add a Shape object to the collection of shapes for the specified document and return a Shape object that represents the newly created shape, use one of the following methods of the Shapes collection: AddCallout , AddCurve , AddLabel , AddLine , AddOleControl , AddOleObject , AddPolyline , AddShape , AddTextbox , AddTextEffect , or BuildFreeForm . The following example adds a rectangle to the active document.

ActiveDocument.Shapes.AddShape msoShapeRectangle, 50, 50, 100, 200

Returning a Single Shape from Within a Group

Use GroupItems(index), where index is the shape name or the index number within the group, to return a Shape object that represents a single shape in a grouped shape.

Returning a Newly Formed Group of Shapes

Use the Group or Regroup method to group a range of shapes and return a single Shape object that represents the newly formed group. After a group has been formed, you can work with the group the same way you work with any other shape.

Anchoring and Positioning a Shape

Every Shape object is anchored to a range of text. A shape is anchored to the beginning of the first paragraph that contains the anchoring range. The shape will always remain on the same page as its anchor.

You can view the anchor itself by setting the ShowObjectAnchors property to True. The shape's Top and Left properties determine its vertical and horizontal positions. The shape's RelativeHorizontalPosition and RelativeVerticalPosition properties determine whether the position is measured from the anchoring paragraph, the column that contains the anchoring paragraph, the margin, or the edge of the page.

If the LockAnchor property for the shape is set to True, you cannot drag the anchor from its position on the page.

Formatting a Shape

Use the Fill property to return the FillFormat object, which contains all the properties and methods for formatting the fill of a closed shape. The Shadow property returns the ShadowFormat object, which you use to format a shadow. Use the Line property to return the LineFormat object, which contains properties and methods for formatting lines and arrows. The TextEffect property returns the TextEffectFormat object, which you use to format WordArt. The Callout property returns the CalloutFormat object, which you use to format line callouts. The WrapFormat property returns the WrapFormat object, which you use to define how text wraps around shapes. The ThreeD property returns the ThreeDFormat object, which you use to create 3-D shapes. You can use the PickUp and Apply methods to transfer formatting from one shape to another.

Use the SetShapesDefaultProperties method for a Shape object to set the formatting for the default shape for the document. New shapes inherit many of their attributes from the default shape.

Other Important Shape Properties

Use the Type property to specify the type of shape: freeform, AutoShape, OLE object, callout, or linked picture, for instance. Use the AutoShapeType property to specify the type of AutoShape: oval, rectangle, or balloon, for instance.

Use the Width and Height properties to specify the size of the shape.

The TextFrame property returns the TextFrame object, which contains all the properties and methods for attaching text to shapes and linking the text between text frames.


Shape objects are anchored to a range of text but are free-floating and can be positioned anywhere on the page. InlineShape objects are treated like characters and are positioned as characters within a line of text. You can use the ConvertToInlineShape method and the ConvertToShape method to convert shapes from one type to the other. You can convert only pictures, OLE objects, and ActiveX controls to inline shapes.

Properties | Adjustments Property | AlternativeText Property | Anchor Property | Application Property | AutoShapeType Property | Callout Property | CanvasItems Property | Child Property | Creator Property | Diagram Property | DiagramNode Property | Fill Property | GroupItems Property | HasDiagram Property | HasDiagramNode Property | Height Property | HorizontalFlip Property | Hyperlink Property | ID Property | LayoutInCell Property | Left Property | Line Property | LinkFormat Property | LockAnchor Property | LockAspectRatio Property | Name Property | Nodes Property | OLEFormat Property | Parent Property | ParentGroup Property | PictureFormat Property | RelativeHorizontalPosition Property | RelativeVerticalPosition Property | Rotation Property | Script Property | Shadow Property | TextEffect Property | TextFrame Property | ThreeD Property | Top Property | Type Property | VerticalFlip Property | Vertices Property | Visible Property | Width Property | WrapFormat Property | ZOrderPosition Property

Methods | Activate Method | Apply Method | CanvasCropBottom Method | CanvasCropLeft Method | CanvasCropRight Method | CanvasCropTop Method | ConvertToFrame Method | ConvertToInlineShape Method | Delete Method | Duplicate Method | Flip Method | IncrementLeft Method | IncrementRotation Method | IncrementTop Method | PickUp Method | ScaleHeight Method | ScaleWidth Method | Select Method | SetShapesDefaultProperties Method | Ungroup Method | ZOrder Method

Parent Objects | DiagramNode Object | Document Object | Hyperlink Object | Shape Object | ShapeRange Object | TextFrame Object

Child Objects | Adjustments Object | CalloutFormat Object | CanvasShapes Object | Diagram Object | DiagramNode Object | FillFormat Object | GroupShapes Object | Hyperlink Object | LineFormat Object | LinkFormat Object | OLEFormat Object | PictureFormat Object | Range Object | ShadowFormat Object | Shape Object | ShapeNodes Object | TextEffectFormat Object | TextFrame Object | ThreeDFormat Object | WrapFormat Object

See Also | InlineShape Object