Are you having difficulty deleting a SmartArt shape on PowerPoint? Don’t worry; it’s a common problem faced by PowerPoint users worldwide. SmartArt graphics are an essential tool that helps users create visually appealing presentations. However, deleting one can be tricky and frustrating. This blog post will guide you with several methods to delete a SmartArt shape in PowerPoint in the most beginner-friendly way possible.

Video Tutorial:

Why You Need to Delete A SmartArt Shape in PowerPoint

PowerPoint is widely used to create presentations, and SmartArt graphics are a great way to visualize your data. However, sometimes you may want to delete a SmartArt shape to present your data differently or make changes to your presentation. Deleting a SmartArt shape can be a daunting task, but it is crucial to have this skill to organize and present your data effectively. Let’s dive into the methods to delete SmartArt Shapes in PowerPoint.

Method 1: Via the Ribbon

If you’re unfamiliar with PowerPoint, the Ribbon is the toolbar at the top of the PowerPoint window that contains all the commands you need to perform tasks. It’s effortless to delete the SmartArt graphic via the Ribbon.

1. In PowerPoint, open the presentation containing the SmartArt shape you want to delete.
2. Click on the SmartArt shape you want to delete.
3. Click on the ‘SmartArt Tools’ tab in the Ribbon above the tabs.
4. Click on the ‘Design’ Option.
5. On the far right of the Ribbon, click on the ‘Delete’ option.


– Quick and easy to use
– No need to remember shortcuts
– Beginner-friendly


– May take more time if you don’t know where the Ribbon is located

Method 2: Using the Keyboard Shortcut

Keyboard shortcuts can be one of the most effective, quickest, and easiest methods to perform tasks on your computer, and PowerPoint is no exception.

1. Open the presentation containing the SmartArt you want to delete.
2. Click on the SmartArt shape you want to delete.
3. Press ‘Delete’ on your keyboard.


– Quick and easy to use
– No need to search through the Ribbon


– Users may forget the shortcuts
– If there is more than one SmartArt, you may delete the wrong one

Method 3: Using the Selection Pane

The selection pane is a task pane that displays all the objects on your slide – it allows users to select objects easily. This method may be beneficial if there are many SmartArt graphics on the slide.

1. Open the presentation containing the SmartArt you want to delete.
2. Click on the Home Tab in the Ribbon.
3. Click on ‘Arrange Group.’
4. Click on the ‘Selection Pane’ icon.
5. In the Selection pane, click on the SmartArt you want to delete.
6. Press ‘Delete’ on your keyboard.


– Can handle multiple SmartArt graphics efficiently


– Takes more time to click through and locate the Selection Pane
– Not the best option for beginners

What to Do If You Can’t Delete A SmartArt Shape in PowerPoint

Even with the three methods listed above, you still may encounter issues when deleting SmartArt shapes from PowerPoint presentations. Here are some additional options:

– Try opening the presentation in Safe Mode, which disables all add-ins and extensions enabled on your PowerPoint.
– Verify that the SmartArt is not a GroupObject; if it is, ungroup it and try deleting the object again.
– Try right-clicking the object and selecting "Cut" instead of "Delete."
– If all else fails, restart PowerPoint and try deleting the object again.

Bonus Tip

A bonus tip that can help you delete SmartArt shapes without any difficulty is to ensure that your SmartArt’s ‘Selection Pane’ panel is open. The Selection Pane allows you to see what you have selected on the slide and makes it easier to delete or reorder your objects.

You can open the Selection Pane by clicking on ‘Arrange’ on the top ribbon and selecting ‘Selection Pane’ from the drop-down menu. It’s a handy tool when working with complex slides with many images, text boxes, and SmartArt graphics.

5 FAQs

Q1: Can I undo deleting a SmartArt Graphic?

A: Yes, you can. To undo deleting a SmartArt graphic, press the shortcut key ‘CTRL+Z’ on your keyboard or right-click on the slide and click ‘Undo.’

Q2: Will deleting a SmartArt Graphic delete its contents too?

A: Yes, the SmartArt will be deleted along with any text or objects within it.

Q3: Can I delete a single shape within SmartArt?

A: Yes, you can click on the shape, then press ‘Delete.’

Q4: How can I delete multiple objects?

A: You can select multiple objects by holding ‘Shift’ while clicking on the objects. You can then click ‘Delete’ or ‘Cut’ to delete the objects.

Q5: Can I recover a deleted SmartArt Graphic?

A: No, once deleted, it is not recoverable. Be sure to have backups of your presentations before deleting something important.

Final Thoughts

Deleting a SmartArt shape on PowerPoint is a straightforward but fundamental task. With a multitude of methods available, it can be achieved in the most efficient and effortless way possible. If everything else fails, try the additional options mentioned above. Always remember to check and double-check before deleting something critical, ensuring you have a backup of your presentation. Hopefully, this blog post has cleared any doubts or difficulty you may have had while deleting a SmartArt graphic on PowerPoint.

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