Drawing in PowerPoint – Clock Icons

Clocks can represent time, duration or urgency. This post shows how to draw various simple clock styles that are intended for use as icons, although more elaborate clocks can be drawn using these principles.

Why create your own icons in PowerPoint?  The primary reason is that these can be colored and modified in PowerPoint – see this post for more.

As usual, you can obtain the PowerPoint file for this post by emailing me at konrad@pptcraft and asking for the “clocks” file.  The file will include the icons described here – feel free to use these as icons or templates for your own versions.

Clock Faces

Note: The constructions in this post (and several others in this series) uses the Grid Spacing/Snap to grid settings shown below:


I have found that this setting is convenient for locating and aligning objects; in this case, the numerals, clock hands and other parts of the clocks. The “snap” action can be overridden if needed by using the Alt (or sometimes Ctrl) key. Note that .042 in is 3 pts.

To draw the clock faces, set up Drawing Guides and draw a circle like this:


The center guides help locate the face, numerals and hands; the horizontal guides help locate the numerals.

Next, create a text box with the text “12” and locate it on the center guides as shown. The text box is sized so that the numeral appears near the top of the circle when the box is centered.

simple 1

The text has Center Top alignment, Wrap unchecked and Do not Autofit selected.

Duplicate the text box, change the text to “1,”  rotate 30 degrees using the Size and Position pane and re-center the box (red outlines have been added for clarity):

simple 2

Note how the size of the box assures that the box will rotate around the center of the face. (This technique was also used in my gears post).

Continue with the “2” and “3” boxes. For the “4” box, duplicate the “12” box, change the text to “4”, set the alignment to Bottom,  rotate -60 degrees and re-center:

simple 3

Continue this process to complete the clock face;

simple 4

Beginning with the “6” box, the boxes will overlay the previous boxes. Also, beginning with the “9” box, the Top alignment is used.

Here’s how this simple clock face looks with the outlines eliminated:

simple 5

Here’s a face with Roman numerals (Times New Roman font) constructed the same way; the “no wrap” setting helps here:

simple 6

Some clock faces have marks around the dial and may not have numerals at all; this kind of clock face is useful for icons. Start this face by constructing an object as shown below:


The  object (red outline added) consists of two filled rectangles inside a larger rectangle. The smaller rectangles are located using the horizontal guides, and, as before, the larger rectangle is centered on the circle.

Duplicate the object and rotate 30 degrees; re-center the object as shown below:

nonum 2

Continue duplicating, rotating and re-centering the object. You will need only 6 copies this time.

Here’s the result:

nonum 3

The numerals on some clock faces remain upright regardless of their position.  To make this kind of face, create a group with a text box within a box as shown below.  This allows the larger box and the text to be rotated independently:

simple u

Now, duplicate the group, change the numeral to “1”  and rotate +30 degrees. Then, select the inner text box and set its rotation back to zero degrees:

simple u 2

Continue the process to create this result:

simple u 3

Here’re a couple of other variations:

2 faces

Clock Hands

Clock hands can be created with combinations of simple objects.  Here’s a pointer style hour hand created from a circle and a triangle:


Group the hand with a circle (in red below); this facilitates “setting” and animating the clock hands  since the group will rotate around the desired center:

hand 2

Make a minute hand the same way but with a taller triangle; fill, eliminate the outlines and rotate the hands to get this result:

hand 3

A more traditional hour hand uses a circle and an elongated Diamond shape:

hand 4

This type of hand works well with the Roman numeral face.  Here’s the finished version:

hand 5

Here are a couple of examples using Rectangles and Rounded Rectangles:

hand 6


You can indicate an interval (e.g., 15 mins) by adding a Pie shape in a contrasting color:



You can use the Emphasis/Spin effect to animate the clock hands.  Here’s an example:

This animation uses these settings:


In this example, the hour hand spins (clockwise (!)) once (360 degrees) while the minute hand spins 12 times (12×360=4320 degrees) simultaneously in 5 seconds.

Several variations are possible. You can adjust the duration and number of spins as long as the 12 to 1 ratio is maintained.  You can Repeat Until Next Click, Repeat Until End of Slide or Repeat a fixed number of times. You can start the animation automatically, on a click, or on a “Trigger.” I think I have figured a way to stop the clock too but that will have to wait for another post.

Clock Variations

You can create a number of variations using these faces, hands and additional elements.  Here’s an example:


This version uses rectangular hands and a numberless face, recolored. A Donut shape with a gradient fill (Chrome II preset) forms the “case.”  An outer shadow was added to the case and an inner shadow to the face.

Here’s another variation using the same hands and face with 3d effects:


A Bevel has been added to the case along with a different fill color.  Shadows are used as before:

Add Depth to the case and apply a Rotation to get this image:


You can also apply some of the 3d techniques discussed in the alphabet blocks post.

Here are some additional variations:


There are other kinds of clocks, too:


When you shrink these objects for use as icons, convert to png (Copy/Paste Special) before shrinking (don’t delete the original object).  For smaller icons, the numberless faces and simple hands are best.

If you would like a free copy of the PowerPoint file containing these objects. use this form:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow powerpointy on WordPress.com

%d bloggers like this: