Formatting Shapes Using the Drawing Tools – Format Tab
When you create or select a shape, the contextual Drawing Tools – Format tab appears, shown in Figure 5.2.
FIGURE 5.2. The Drawing Tools – Format tab offers numerous options for shape creation and formatting.
The Insert Shapes and Shape Styles groups on the Drawing Tools – Format tab are the centerpieces of Office’s suite of shape-creation and shape-formatting tools. They offer a multitude of options for modifying and enhancing shapes, such as specifying a shape’s fill, outline, and effects. The rest of this section focuses on the many shape-formatting options available on this tab.
Working with Shape Quick Styles
One way to format a shape quickly is to apply a Quick Style. Quick Styles offer numerous fill, shading, and border options in colors that coordinate with your chosen theme.
To apply a Quick Style to a shape, follow these steps:
- Select the shape to which you want to apply the style.
On the Drawing Tools – Format tab, click the down arrow to the right of the Shape Styles box to open the Shape Styles gallery, as shown in Figure 5.3.
FIGURE 5.3. Choose a shape style that coordinates with your document theme.
Pause your mouse over an available style to preview the style’s effect on your shape.
Optionally, click Other Theme Fills at the bottom of the gallery to open a palette of additional options, including several grayscale options.
- Click a style to apply it to the selected shape.
Specifying Shape Fill Color
To set a shape’s fill color, select it, and on the Drawing Tools – Format tab, click the Shape Fill button. A palette displays, as shown in Figure 5.4.
FIGURE 5.4. Add colors or patterns to fill an object.
You can do any of the following in this palette:
- Apply one of the theme, recent, or standard colors. The theme colors are compatible with your chosen color scheme.
- Select No Fill to make the object transparent. You see the document background through the object.
- Select More Fill Colors to open the Colors dialog box, where you can choose from many other colors or create a custom color.
- Select Eyedropper to choose a fill color by clicking an existing color on the screen. (This option is available only in PowerPoint.)
- Select Picture to fill your shape with a picture you select.
- Select Gradient to apply a light or dark gradient pattern.
Select Texture to fill the shape with one of the available texture patterns in the gallery that appears.
Using the Colors Dialog Box
Select More Fill Colors in the Shape Fill palette to open the Colors dialog box, as illustrated in Figure 5.5.
FIGURE 5.5. Choose from many common colors in the Colors dialog box.
To choose a new color, select it in the palette on the Standard tab. The color appears in the New section of the preview box to contrast with the Current color.
Click OK to keep the color or click Cancel to return to the original color.
Using a Custom Color
To add a custom color, click the Custom tab on the Colors dialog box, as shown in Figure 5.6.
FIGURE 5.6. Create a custom color to suit your exact needs.
You can create a custom color in two ways. One way is to click and drag the crosshair in the Colors area until you find the color you want. The other way is to choose either RGB or HSL in the Color Model drop-down field and then adjust the color’s level of red, green, and blue (for RGB) or hue, saturation, and luminance (for HSL). Click OK to keep the color or click Cancel to discard it.
Applying a Picture Fill
You can even fill an object with a picture. For example, you could create a shape such as a circle and fill it with a logo, product image, or photo.
To apply a picture fill, follow these steps:
- Select the shape to which you want to apply the picture fill.
- On the Drawing Tools – Format tab, click the Shape Fill button and then choose Picture from the menu.
In the Insert Pictures dialog box, do one of the following:
- Click the Browse button next to the From a File field to open the Insert Picture dialog box, where you can select a picture on your computer to insert.
- Enter keywords in the Search Office.com field and press the Enter key to search the Office.com online clip art collection.
- Enter keywords in the Search Bing field to search Bing for relevant pictures.
- Click the Browse button next to the SkyDrive field to insert a picture you stored on your SkyDrive account.
- Click the Flickr button to insert a picture from your Flickr account.
See Chapter 4, “Working with Pictures,” to learn more about the Insert Pictures dialog box.
Applying a Gradient Fill
A gradient creates a smooth transition from one color to another, using gentle blending. To apply a gradient to a selected shape, on the Drawing Tools – Format tab, click the Shape Fill button and select Gradient from the menu. From the gallery that appears, you can apply a light or dark gradient. Pause your mouse over each available gradient to preview its effect. Click the gradient to apply to your document. To remove a gradient, select No Gradient in the gallery.
Applying a Textured Fill
To apply a texture to a selected shape, on the Drawing Tools – Format tab, click the Shape Fill button and then choose Texture from the menu. Select your preferred texture from the gallery, pausing your mouse over each option to preview it.
Specifying Shape Outlines
To specify the outline of a shape—either a line or any other shape such as a circle or rectangle—select the shape and click the Shape Outline button on the Drawing Tools – Format tab. The Shape Outline palette appears, as shown in Figure 5.7.
FIGURE 5.7. Specify the format of a shape’s outline in the Shape Outline palette.
Choose from the following options:
- Apply one of the theme or standard colors. The theme colors are compatible with your color scheme.
- Select No Outline to hide the existing line.
- Select More Outline Colors to open the Colors dialog box, where you can select from many other colors or create a custom color.
- Select Eyedropper to choose an outline color by clicking an existing color on the screen. (This option is available only in PowerPoint.)
- Select Weight to specify the outline weight—from ¾ point to 6 points.
- Select Dashes to specify a dash style, such as square dot, dash dot, or long dash. Unless you create a thick outline, dashes probably won’t be visible.
Select Arrows to specify an arrow style. Note that this option is available only for open shapes with a distinct beginning and end such as lines, arrows, curves, freeforms, and scribbles.
Applying Shape Effects
You can add shadow, glow, bevel, and 3-D effects to shapes by clicking the Shape Effects button on the Drawing Tools – Format tab. The Shape Effects menu offers numerous effect choices, each leading to a gallery of additional options.
Depending on the shape you select, not all options are available. To preview a potential shape effect, pause the mouse over it in the gallery.
Choose from the following shape effects:
- Preset—Apply one of 12 ready-made effects designed to work well with your shape.
- Shadow—Apply an outer, inner, or perspective shadow to the shape. Select No Shadow to remove the shadow.
- Reflection—Apply one of several reflection variations, such as half or full reflection. Selecting No Reflection removes the shape effect.
- Glow—Apply one of several glow variations in different colors and sizes. Select No Glow to remove the glow effect. Select More Glow Colors to open the Colors palette, where you can select another color. See “Using the Colors Dialog Box,” earlier in this chapter, for more information about colors.
- Soft Edges—Apply a soft edge, ranging in width from 1 to 50 points. Select No Soft Edges to remove the effect.
- Bevel—Apply one of several bevel options, such as a circle or divot. Select No Bevel to remove the effect.
- 3-D Rotation—Apply a parallel, perspective, or oblique rotation to the selected shape. Remove the effect by selecting No Rotation.
On the Drawing Tools – Format tab, click the Edit Shape button in the Insert Shapes group to open a submenu with the following choices:
- Change Shape—Change the applied shape to another shape available in the Shapes gallery.
- Edit Points—Edit the points of selected shapes. This enables you to select and drag a shape’s existing points to create a new shape design.
Reroute Connectors—Force a connector (line connecting two shapes) to be the shortest distance. Be aware that although doing this creates a more direct connection, the connector might overlap other shapes or text.
Office 2013 introduces the capability to merge shapes. This feature is available only in PowerPoint.
To merge two or more selected shapes, follow these steps:
- Select the shapes you want to merge.
- On the Drawing Tools – Format tab, click the Merge Shapes button. (It’s a small button in the Insert Shapes group.)
From the menu that displays, specify the merge option you want to apply: Union, Combine, Fragment, Intersect, or Subtract. Figure 5.8 shows several examples of these merge options.
FIGURE 5.8. Try out some creative shape merge options.