Once you start drawing freeform objects in PowerPoint 2007, you quickly realize it behaves very differently than it did in PowerPoint 2003. I don’t understand why Microsoft decided to mess with something that wasn’t broken. I’ve identified three separate issues related to freeform drawing that were introduced in PowerPoint 2007. For PowerPoint ninjas, these issues are like bamboo shoots under our finger nails. Well, maybe more like hangnails — but they are really annoying!
Three key freeform drawing problems in PowerPoint 2007
First, when you’re trying to draw straight lines, the lines no longer snap to an invisible horizontal or vertical guide when you hold down the Shift key. This can be frustrating as your shapes can end up being slightly askew as you now have to guess/eyeball if the lines are truly horizontal or vertical. Unfortunately, guides can’t even help with this new problem.
Second, as you draw in PowerPoint 2007, occasionally one of your lines will become curved when you’re trying to create polygons. You can go back and edit it, but it may throw you off as you’re drawing as your object unexpectedly contorts out of shape. This random curve problem never happened in PowerPoint 2003.
Third, you need to change your overall freeform drawing approach in PowerPoint 2007. In PowerPoint 2003, you would draw a rough outline of the shape and then move the points to where you want them. In PowerPoint 2007, for some reason after you’ve drawn an object, you are no longer able to move the points to exactly where you need them (I’m talking about the minor adjustments you do in high zoom mode).
Even though you’ve disabled all of the snap options (to grid or other objects), there is still a slight snapping action back to the original position which makes it difficult to make minor adjustments as you can’t re-position the points and lines exactly where you want them.
In PowerPoint 2003, you were able to move the edit points anywhere. As a result of this change (bug?) in PowerPoint 2007, when you’re freeform drawing you have to get your drawing as precise as possible when you’re first drawing the object because you have less control once it is drawn. This is the opposite approach from what I was used to in PowerPoint 2003. I’ve been so frustrated a few times that I’ve actually gone back to PowerPoint 2003 to freeform draw certain objects that were just too difficult in PowerPoint 2007.
Tip: Sometimes the following trick can help you to overcome this annoying “snap-to-original-position” behavior.
Rather than trying to make a small adjustment, make a dramatic adjustment to reset the original position of the point or line. Then when you try to achieve the desired position, the original position is out of the way and doesn’t interfere with your edits.