Need to move a shape or a picture into an exact position but can't get it positioned just right using the mouse?

Nudging lets you move something a tiny distance so you can get it positioned precisely the way you want.

How to nudge a shape:

  1. Click the shape (the shape, picture, diagram, etc.) once.
  2. On your keyboard, hit an arrow key to move it up, down, left, or right. For more precision, hold down Ctrl while you're hitting the arrow keys and you can move pixel by pixel.

Some exceptions:

  • This works in PowerPoint, in Excel, for floating shapes in Word, and for shapes inside a Word canvas. It doesn't work on Word shapes that are inline with the text because in those cases Word rather than OfficeArt controls the placement of the shape.
  • Certain shapes have their positions locked so you won't be able to nudge them. Items inside a chart or diagram come to mind.

Nudging is affected by snapping behavior which you control by going to the Drawing toolbar (View | Toolbars), clicking the Draw menu, then Snap. If you're snapping to the grid, this will affect your nudges, so turn that off to get more precise movement.

There are also Nudge menu items on the Drawing toolbar, but I really don't see the point since if you're going to go to the trouble of clicking that, you might as well just drag the shape directly.

Finally, if you're a Publisher user, you can set the exact nudge distance.