Get started with shapes

Choose from hundreds of shapes in the shapes library that you can add to your Pages, Numbers, or Keynote document, or create custom shapes in iWork.

You can quickly insert a shape from the iWork shapes library into your document.

  • On your Mac, click Shape  then choose a shape.
  • On your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, tap Insert , then tap Shapes  . Tap a shape.
  • On, click Choose a shape or line to add to this presentation then choose a shape.

After you add and position the shape, you can break it into parts, or combine it with other shapes to create a custom shape. When you’ve finished editing your shape, add it to your shapes library for later use.1

Break a shape into parts

Some shapes have multiple pieces. When you break apart a shape, you’re able to change the color, edit the shape, or delete the individual pieces of a shape. 

  • On your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, select the shape you want to break apart, then tap Format . Tap Arrange, then tap Break Apart.
  • On your Mac, Control-click on the shape and choose Break Apart.

Some shapes in the shapes library include other potential shapes you might want to use. For example, if you wanted to use the shape of California, you could insert the complete map of the United States and enlarge it. After you break apart the shape, you can use the California shape by itself. If you want to be able to use that shape again in the future without breaking it apart from its parent shape, add the shape to your shapes library.

After you break apart a shape, you can make each piece a different color. For example, you could change the color for each state in the map, or change the color of a piece you've isolated from the remaining parts of the shape.

Keynote on a Mac showing the State of California selected next to the United States of America shapes


        Two shapes stacked on each other with one shape selected

Create new shapes

You can combine and subtract shapes from each other to create new shapes. There are four different ways to create new shapes from existing shapes: Unite, Intersect, Subtract, or Exclude.

  • On your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, select the shapes you want to use, then tap Format . Tap Arrange, then choose how you want to combine the shapes.
  • On your Mac, select all of the shapes that you want to use, click Format Paintbrush icon, click Arrange, then choose how you want to combine the shapes.

Two shapes united

When you unite multiple shapes, they combine into one shape.

A shape intersected

When you intersect multiple shapes, it creates a shape out of the overlapping areas.

Two shapes subtracted

When you subtract a shape from another, it removes the part of the shape that’s layered on top of another shape.

Two shapes excluded

When you exclude two shapes, it creates a shape that excludes the overlapping area between the shapes.

Add styles to your shape

After you add a shape to your document, you can change the following styles of your shape:2

  • Fill You can fill shapes with an image, a solid color, or a gradient (two or more colors that blend into one another). 
  • Border You can add a border, such as a picture frame or a dotted line, then modify the border’s thickness, color, and other attributes.
  • Shadow You can add up to six different preset shadows to your shape, then adjust the blur, offset, and opacity of your shadow.
  • Reflection You can add a reflection to your shape and adjust its visibility. 
  • Opacity You can create interesting effects by making objects more or less opaque. 

If you want to change the style of your shape:

  • On your Mac, select the shape, click Format , then click Style. Click the disclosure triangle to expand any individual style and see advanced options.
  • On your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, tap Format , then tap Style. Turn on an individual style to see advanced options.
  • On, click Show or hide format and style options > Style. Select an individual style to see advanced options.

Save and set default styles on your Mac

On your Mac, you can save a style and change the default style for new shapes in your document.

Here's how to save your style:

  1. Click Format , then click Style.
  2. Click the arrow to the right side of the style thumbnails to go to the last group of styles. 
  3. Click New Style Preset 

After you save your style, you can redefine it at any time. Select the shape with the style changes, then Control-click on the style template and choose "Redefine Style from Selection."

Here's how to change the default style for new shapes in your document:

  1. Click Format , then click Style. 
  2. Click and hold the style that you want to move. 
  3. Drag it to the top left of the first page of styles. 

When you open the shapes library, the style is applied to the shape previews.

Add text and other objects within a shape

To add text inside a shape, double-tap (on iPhone or iPad) or double-click (on Mac) the shape, then enter the text. 

You can also place objects like shapes, images, videos, text boxes, and equations inside a shape, so they're nested. If you type inside the outer (parent) shape, the inner nested object moves with the text as you edit:

  • On iPhone or iPad, add the new object to your document. Select the new object, then tap Cut. Double-tap the shape in which you want to nest the new object so the insertion point appears inside the shape, tap it again, then tap Paste.
  • On Mac, add the new object to your document. Control-click the new object, then choose Cut. Control-click the shape in which you want to nest the new object, then choose Paste.

Add a shape to your shapes library

You can add customized shapes to your shapes library. When you save a custom shape, the shape’s path, flip, and rotation properties are saved; size, color, opacity, and other properties aren’t.

  • On your Mac, Control-click the shape and choose Save to My Shapes.
  • On your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, tap the shape, then tap Add to Shapes.

To use iCloud to sync your custom shapes across your devices, here's what you need:

You can use your custom shapes in the same app on your Mac, iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. For example, if you add a shape in Pages on your iPhone, you can use it in Pages on your other devices. 

1 Custom shapes are supported on Mac and iOS only. You can't create or use custom shapes on

2 Some styles are only available in Pages, Numbers, and Keynote on your Mac and iOS devices.

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