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Change Colors for a SmartArt Graphic in PowerPoint 2013

Learn how to change colors for a SmartArt graphic in PowerPoint 2013.


Product/Version: Microsoft PowerPoint 2013

OS: Windows 7 and higher






Although the default colors of an inserted SmartArt graphic may work the best, you may also want to change the colors of the shapes comprising the SmartArt graphic. You change the colors of everything within the SmartArt graphic at one go or change colors of individual shapes within the SmartArt graphic. Follow these steps to learn how you can change colors of your SmartArt graphic in PowerPoint 2013:

  1. Select your existing SmartArt graphic, as shown in Figure 1. The SmartArt graphic variant that we are using (and have selected) is the Horizontal Picture List. This variant is perfect for this tutorial since it comprises shapes with solid fills, shapes with picture fills, and also text -- you'll notice how each of these elements color differently.

    Horizontal Picture List SmartArt graphic
    Figure 1: Horizontal Picture List SmartArt graphic
  2. When any SmartArt graphic is selected, you'll find two contextual tabs activated on the Ribbon: these are SmartArt Tools Design and SmartArt Tools Format tabs (highlighted in red within Figure 2 ). Activate the SmartArt Tools Design tab by clicking on it.

    SmartArt Tools Design tab selected
    Figure 2: SmartArt Tools Design tab selected
  3. Within the SmartArt Tools Design tab, click the Change Colors button, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 3.

    Change Colors button
    Figure 3: Change Colors button
  4. This brings up the Change Colors drop-down gallery that you can see in Figure 4. All the color variations within this gallery are Theme based.

    Change Colors drop-down gallery
    Figure 4: Change Colors drop-down gallery
  5. Just hover the cursor over any of the color previews in this gallery. As you move over different previews, the selected SmartArt graphic on the slide shows a live preview of the colors applied, as shown in Figure 5. Click on the preview thumbnail in the gallery to apply the color changes to the selected SmartArt graphic.

    SmartArt graphic showing live preview of the color selected
    Figure 5: SmartArt graphic showing live preview of the color selected

    Tip: Place your SmartArt graphic in an area that is not covered by the Change Color drop-down gallery, so you can see the live preview.
  6. Figure 6 shows the selected SmartArt graphic with changed colors. Notice that the color of the picture fills is not yet changed, but we can also alter them as explained hereafter.

    Color changed of selected SmartArt graphic
    Figure 6: Color changed of selected SmartArt graphic
  7. To change the color of the picture fills, first make sure that the SmartArt graphic is selected. Then summon the Change Colors drop-down gallery - within this drop-down gallery, select the Recolor Pictures in SmartArt Graphic option (highlighted in red within Figure 7). Select this option to recolor all picture fills within the SmartArt graphic.

    Recolor Pictures in SmartArt Graphic option
    Figure 7: Recolor Pictures in SmartArt Graphic option
  8. This changes the color of the pictures, as shown in Figure 8. The Recolor Pictures in SmartArt Graphic option will only work with SmartArt graphic layouts that contain pictures.

    Color of the SmartArt graphic pictures changed
    Figure 8: Color of the SmartArt graphic pictures changed
Want to override the Theme colors and choose another color for a selected shape within your SmartArt graphic? Explore our Changing Fill, Line, and Effects for Shapes within SmartArt in PowerPoint 2013 tutorial to learn more.

See Also:

Change Colors of SmartArt in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac
Change Colors of SmartArt in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows

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