Compound Shapes: How to Find the Area of an L-Shape

Updated on June 14, 2016

Area Of A Composite Shape Video

A compound shape is a shape that is made up from other simple shapes. In this article we will be working out the area of a L shape (made up from 2 rectangles). To find the area of a compound shape, follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Work out the missing lengths around the edge of the compound shape.

Step 2: Divide your L shape into two rectangles. This can be done in 2 different ways (both methods will give the same answer).

Step 3: Work out the area of each rectangle. Do this by multiplying the base of the rectangle by the height of the rectangle.

Step 4: Add the areas of the rectangles together to give the total area of the L shape.

Example 1

Find the area of this compound shape (L shape).

Step 1

Work out the missing lengths around the edge of the compound shape.

10 – 6 = 4 cm

9 – 2 = 7 cm

Step 2

Divide your L shape into two rectangles.

In this case I have put the line horizontal.

Step 3

Now you need to find the area of the 2 rectangles:

The area of rectangle A is 10 × 2  = 20 cm²

The area of rectangle B is 4 × 7 = 28 cm²

Make sure you select the correct base and height lengths for each rectangle.

Step 4

All you need to do now is to add up the 2 answers from step 3.

20 + 28 = 48 cm².

So the total area of the compound shape is 48 cm².


Find the missing lengths around your L shape and divide the shape into 2 rectangles. Find the area of both rectangle and add them up to give the total area of the compound shape.


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    vee 4 years ago

    thnx i got it nw

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    matt 4 years ago

    anyone know how calculate a 2 cm border around this?

  • profile image

    Will the master of chess 4 years ago

    the teacher was not as good as this

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    hameed khan 4 years ago

    Good Process but long Process....

  • profile image

    man 4 years ago

    Cheers mate really helped

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    New new 5 years ago

    Thxx but I already knew how to do it I just need to see if I was rite but u did hlp with it so thx for dat bye

  • profile image

    isabella 5 years ago

    THAN YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now I remember!!

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    shruti jain 5 years ago

    thank u but i didn't get the perimeter of L !! so if someone knows it plzz tell!!!

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    x.x.x.Tabz.x.x.x 5 years ago

    thx dat was a lot of help!!!

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    Princess Libyan 6 years ago

    Thanks God I've done this homework good with this help!!!

    Thanks lots!! ;)

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    khaay 6 years ago

    Thamks a lot for your help ! ! doing my aims and i didn't know how to do this but now i do because of you ! : )

  • profile image

    jessics 6 years ago

    thank you!!!

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    danny 6 years ago

    lots of help thanks :)

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    BROWNGURL 6 years ago

    thes help a lot in my homework hu ever did thes web thakes a lot

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    adan 6 years ago

    awsum dude i appreciate it

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    margaret 6 years ago

    u r the beep in the whole universe

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    ninja girl 6 years ago

    very helpful

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    hmmm 6 years ago

    thanks i got 11 plus so that help's

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    queen 6 years ago

    thx for help did th job

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    princess 6 years ago

    lots of help for me !!!!!!!

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    miss bossy 6 years ago

    this is very good help i think

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    gogoluvr224 7 years ago

    plenty help!

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    guy 1000 in a million 7 years ago

    lots of help

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    kool person 7 years ago

    YAY!!!!!!! LoTs Of HeLp!

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    cool 7 years ago


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    sean 7 years ago

    wonderful thank u for the help