Creating a Number Line in PowerPoint

Making a nice number line in PowerPoint is quick and easy – it should only take about 10-15 minutes. These instructions are really just a frame for learning a few neat formatting tricks that will make using PowerPoint for graphical interfaces like posters (or even presentations!) a snap.The first thing is to “Insert” a “Shape” (in this case a line) and choose the color, thickness, and other effects using “Format” in “Drawing Tools”. To make sure the line is straight, hold the “Shift” key down as you drag it out.PowerPoint-NumberLine-01Make a smaller line for the tick marks, and copy paste however many times you’d like. The position doesn’t matter – we’ll straighten those out in a minute.PowerPoint-NumberLine-02Left-click and drag the mouse  to highlight all of the ticks fully. When you release the mouse button, all of the ticks will be selected. PowerPoint will only select shapes (or images) if it is entirely within the highlighted area, so you can be very selective by leaving out even a tiny particle of a shape.PowerPoint-NumberLine-03If you select objects that you didn’t want to select, just hold the <CTRL> key down and click on them to deselect.PowerPoint-NumberLine-04Once you’ve selected everything, go to the “Format” window and look to the far right for the “Align” menu.  This menu gives you many options and, if you haven’t yet,  you should definitely experiment and figure out what they all do and think about how they can be useful.PowerPoint-NumberLine-05These tickmarks need to be aligned horizontally, so choose “Align Middle” (although really top or bottom would also work fine in this case.)PowerPoint-NumberLine-06Now, click anywhere else on the slide to deselect all of the ticks. Choose one and drag it all the way to one side so that the tick on the left and the tick on the right are in the desired positions.  (You can drag it around without ruining alignment by holding the <Shift> button down.PowerPoint-NumberLine-07Once they are in place, go back to the “Align” menu and choose “Distribute Horizontally”.  Congratulations! You have a number line (albeit blank).PowerPoint-NumberLine-08Adding the numbers is easy too – just use text boxes and the align menu to get them straight and in place.

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