How to Style Shapes in PowerPoint 2013

By Doug Lowe

The center section of the Drawing Tools tab in PowerPoint 2013 is called Shape Styles. It lets you control various stylistic features of your shapes. For example, you can set a fill color, set the outline, and add effects such as shadows or reflections.

You can set these styles individually, or you can choose one of the preselected shape styles that appears in the Shape Styles group. Note that the styles that appear in the Shape Styles group vary depending on the type of shape you’ve selected and the theme used for the presentation.

For example, if you select a line, various predefined line styles are displayed. But if you select a rectangle, the styles appropriate for rectangles are displayed.

Set the shape fill in PowerPoint 2013

The Shape Fill control (in the Shape Styles group of the Drawing Tools tab) lets you control how shapes are filled. The simplest type of fill is a solid color. But you can also use a picture, a gradient fill, or a pattern to fill the shape.

Working with shape fills is similar to working with background and theme colors.

Set the shape outline

The Shape Outline control (in the Shape Styles group of the Drawing Tools tab) lets you change the style of line objects or the border for solid shape objects. You can change the following settings for the outline:

  • Color: Sets the color used for the outline.

  • Weight: Sets the thickness of the line.

  • Dashes: The dashing pattern used for the lines that outline the object. The default uses a solid line, but different patterns are available to create dashed lines.

  • Arrows: Lines can have an arrowhead at either or both ends. Arrowheads are used mostly on line and arc objects.

For maximum control over the outline style, choose the More command from the menu that appears when you click the Fill, Outline, or Effects button. Doing this brings up the Format Shape task pane. From here, you can control all aspects of a line’s style: its color, width, dash pattern, and cap type (various arrowheads can be applied).


Apply shape effects in PowerPoint 2013

The Shape Effects button on the Drawing Tools tab on the Ribbon lets you apply several interesting types of effects to your shapes. When you click this button, a menu with the following effect options is displayed:

  • Shadow: Applies a shadow to the picture. You can select one of several predefined shadow effects, or you can call up a dialog box that lets you customize the shadow.

  • Reflection: Creates a reflected image of the picture beneath the original picture.

  • Glow: Adds a glowing effect around the edges of the picture.

  • Soft Edges: Softens the edges of the picture.

  • Bevel: Creates a beveled effect.

  • 3-D Rotation: Rotates the picture in a way that creates a three-dimensional effect.

The best way to discover how to use these effects is to experiment with them to see how they work.