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Patterned Lines

Explore patterned lines, a lesser-known hidden option in PowerPoint.


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Product/Version: All PowerPoint Versions






Talk about patterned lines and nine of ten PowerPoint users will have a confused look on their faces. What is a patterned line in PowerPoint parlance? Every element in PowerPoint has a fill and line attribute; patterned lines are just another line attribute.

Here are some samples of patterned lines:

Samples of Patterned Lines
Figure 1: Samples of Patterned Lines
  1. Create a new presentation (Ctrl + N) and insert a blank slide (Ctrl + M). Or insert a blank slide in an existing presentation. Mac users can substitute the Ctrl key with the "Apple" key.
  2. Draw a rectangle on the slide. Right-click the Rectangle and choose Format AutoShape from the resultant menu. This action will present you with the Format AutoShape tabbed dialog box. By default, the "Colors and Lines " tab will be active.
  3. Click the Line Color dropdown box and choose the "Patterned Lines" option (see Figure 2).

    Colors and Lines
    Figure 2: Colors and Lines
  4. In the resultant Patterned Lines dialog box, you'll find 48 patterns to choose from (see Figure 3). We selected the "Dark Horizontal" pattern. Since patterns are created using two colors, choose colors that provide a nice contrast. Click the OK button when done.

    Patterned Lines
    Figure 3: Patterned Lines
  5. This will bring you back to the Format AutoShape dialog box (see Figure 4). Choose a thick line weight, normally between 15 and 40 points depending on the size of the shape.

    Format AutoShape
    Figure 4: Format AutoShape
  6. Click OK

Patterned lines and fills can help persons with color vision deficiency differentiate between objects.

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