How to Group in PowerPoint (CTRL+G)
Grouping allows you to make two or more PowerPoint objects into a single ‘grouped’ object that you can more easily move around and manage on your slide.
To group objects together, simply select multiple objects (you can do this by holding the SHIFT key), and with your objects selected, either hit CTRL+G on your keyboard, or right-click and select group in the right-click menu as shown below) below).
However, not all PowerPoint objects can be part of a group.
How to Rename Groups in PowerPoint
Once objects are grouped together, you can make them easier find and work with by naming them within the Selection Pane.
That said, keep in mind that this is an OPTIONAL task. This is only beneficial when you are both working with lots of objects on your slide AND naming the individual groups makes sense (like adding trigger animations to your slides). Otherwise, this can be a huge waste of your time.
If you still want to name your groups, follow these simple steps.
Step #1: Open the Selection Pane
In PowerPoint 2010 or 2013, hit ALT+F10 on your keyboard to open the Selection Pane. In Microsoft 2007, navigate to the Home Tab, open the arrange tool dropdown and select the Selection Pane at the bottom of the dropdown (see picture below).
Step #2: Notice the Groups In the Selection Pane
Within the Selection Pane, you can see any groups of objects that you currently have on your slide (there might not be any).
On my slide I currently have three groups of objects (Group 1, Group 2 and Group 4), none of which are very descriptive of WHAT is actually grouped…so we’ll rename them.
Note: the reason the groups are not sequentially number (Group 1, 2 and 3) is that PowerPoint keeps a running total of the groups you’ve made and unmade. So it’s normal to see non-sequentially numbered groups on a slide, which is why naming them something more descriptive can be convenient.
Step #3: Rename Your Groups
To rename your groups in the Selection Pane, simply double-click the name in the Selection Pane. With the group selected in the Selection Pane, you can alternatively hit F2 on your keyboard.
With the name highlighted, you can then rename the group to something more descriptive. I’ve renamed my groups as follows.
Group 1 → Product 1
Group 2 → Product 2
Group 4 → Product 3
When Not To Waste Time Naming Groups
Although naming groups CAN make working with busy slides much easier, I want to point out that you lose your group names whenever you ungroup your objects.
For example, continuing my example above, after naming my group to ‘Product 1’, if I now ungroup that Product 1 group, I will FOREVER lose the ‘Product 1’ name.
If I then group those objects back together again, PowerPoint will go back to a default ‘group’ name, forcing me to rename it again to ‘Product 1’ (assuming I really want that ‘Product 1’ group name for those objects).
As such, if you are just starting to build out your slide and you know you will be frequently grouping and ungrouping objects than heed this advice:
>> THEN DON’T WASTE TIME NAMING YOUR GROUPS.
Otherwise you will unintentionally WASTE a lot of time naming and renaming groups your PowerPoint groups, instead of focusing on the most important aspect of your presentation…your content.
If you are going to name your groups, it’s usually best to do it at the end of your slide design process (unless you are using them for trigger animations) and only invest the time if it actually makes working with your slide easier.
How to Ungroup In PowerPoint (CTRL+SHIFT+G)
Ungrouping is the opposite of grouping. It breaks down your grouped objects back into their individual pieces so that you can more easily select and format them.
To ungroup a group, simply select a group of objects (only grouped objects can be ungrouped) and either hit CTRL+SHIFT+G on your keyboard, or right-click and select ungroup in the right-click menu.
Learn more tips and see useful examples of ungrouping in PowerPoint.
Not All PowerPoint Objects Can Be Part Of A Group
If you’ve ever tried grouping objects together in PowerPoint and it doesn’t work…then you have just discovered what few people realize…NOT all PowerPoint objects can be part of a group.
Here is a quick list of objects that can NEVER be part of a PowerPoint Group, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be ungrouped (see uncommon objects that can be ungrouped here).
Tables – amongst the many downfalls of tables in PowerPoint, tables cannot be part of a group (ever). If you decide not to ungroup your table, it’s usually best to first layout your other objects on your slide, and then using the alignment tool, fit the table into the correct position within your layout.
SmartArt graphics – although a special type of PowerPoint group itself, SmartArt graphics themselves cannot be part of a group with other objects, including other SmartArt graphics.
Content Placeholders – content placeholders are defined as anything set on your Slide Master that is editable in the Normal View of your presentation. This includes things like titles, sub-titles, page numbers, etc. These content placeholders cannot be part of a group and there is currently no workaround that I’m aware of.
The vast majority of objects can be grouped:
Everything else in PowerPoint can be part of a group, including other groups of objects that you have already grouped, pictures, images, charts, shapes, text boxes, vector graphics, etc.
Regrouping (covered in detail below) re-establishes an ungrouped group, without having to reselect all of the objects and group them again.
For example, if you ungroup a group of 32 different objects (a complicated graphic) so you can format some of the individual pieces. To reform the original group, you only need to select 1 of the 32 objects, select regroup and the entire group (including all 32 objects) will reform.
To use the regroup command, you can right-click an object with your mouse, and in the grouping menu option select regroup (currently no keyboard shortcut exists).
Check out an example of when the regroup command can be lifesaving here.