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The Name property of PowerPoint shapes is not reliable

Using the .Name property to get a reference to a shape on a slide, master, layout, notes page, etc. isn't entirely reliable and can lead to very odd results.

For example:

They're all named "Title 1".

PowerPoint seems to give you a reference to the first shape by that name if you use code like

ActivePresentation.Slides(1).Shapes("Title 1")

Different versions of PowerPoint may behave slightly differently, but on current versions it produces identically named shapes when you

If you insert a shape and don't change the name PowerPoint assigns it, PowerPoint will give it a new name when you copy the shape.


Rather than using a shape's .Name property, use its .ID. This function will return the shape with any given ID from a slide:

Function ShapeWithID(oSl As Slide, lID As Long) As Shape
' Returns a reference to the shape with ID lID
' on slide oSl (or Nothing)
    Dim oSh As Shape
    For Each oSh In oSl.Shapes
        Debug.Print oSh.Id
        If oSh.Id = lID Then
            Set ShapeWithID = oSh
            Exit Function
        End If
End Function

Use this to test the function:

Sub TestShapeWithID()
    Dim oSh As Shape
    ' Change the slide number and ID as needed:
    Set oSh = ShapeWithID(ActivePresentation.Slides(1), 9)
    If Not oSh Is Nothing Then
    End If
End Sub

Another approach is to use .Tags to identify slides or shapes that must be retrieved later. Learn more about using Tags in PowerPoint here:

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The Name property of PowerPoint shapes is not reliable
Last update 12 June, 2015
Created: 12 June, 2015