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Apply 3-D Depth to Shapes in PowerPoint 2013

Learn how to apply 3-D depth to selected shapes in PowerPoint 2013.


Product/Version: Microsoft PowerPoint 2013
OS: Windows 7 and 8

Depth in PowerPoint 2013 plays a very important role when you are working with 3-D objects. Depth is the distance from the top or surface of something to its bottom. For example, even though you can rotate any shape that has a Depth of zero, you really cannot see any Depth within a flat object. Thus although you can first rotate your object, you must thereafter add Depth. Look at Figure 1 below, where you can see the original shape with a Bevel effect on the left. The shape thereafter has been applied some 3-D Rotation without any Depth. The final shape on the right has Depth added -- and that's what we will explore within this tutorial.

Adding Rotation and Depth to a 3-D object
Figure 1: Adding Rotation and Depth to a 3-D object

If you are familiar with 3-D programs, you will realize that depth in PowerPoint is similar to extrusion. To use an analogy, a thick book will show depth when placed on the shelf -- a single sheet of paper on the other hand has almost no depth. You can add depth to your shapes using details provided in this tutorial.

Follow these steps to apply Depth to a shape:

  1. Select the shape and apply 3-D Rotation effect to selected shape. Figure 1, below shows the shape with 3-D rotation effect applied.

    Shape rotated without applying any depth gives flat effect
    Figure 1: Shape rotated without applying any depth gives flat effect

    As you can see in Figure 1 above, the shape rotated without applying any depth gives flat effect. Now you can add depth to this rotated object.

  2. Make sure that the shape is still selected so that the Ribbon area shows the Drawing Tools Format tab, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 1. Activate this Ribbon tab by clicking on it. Within the Drawing Tools Format tab, click the Shape Effects button (highlighted in blue within Figure 1).

  3. This brings up the Shape Effects drop-down gallery as you can see in Figure 2. Choose the Preset option, and then select 3-D Options from the sub-gallery, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 2.

    3-D Options in the Preset sub-gallery
    Figure 2: 3-D Options within the Preset sub-gallery

  4. This brings up the Format Shape Task Pane with the Effects tab selected. Below 3-D Format section, you'll find the Depth option, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 3.

    Depth option within Format Shape Task Pane
    Figure 3: Depth option within Format Shape Task Pane

    Depth options enable you to add or change the Depth Size and the Depth Color of the shape, both the options are explained below:

    • Depth Size: As you can see in Figure 3 above, Depth size is 0 pt. -- change it 50 pt to see a prominent depth added to the shape. You can enter any values based on your requirement.

    • Depth Color: This is optional, if you want you can add color to the depth. To do that, click the down-arrow next to color icon to access a fly out menu (see Figure 4). Here you can choose any color for the depth. Note that this changes the color of the 3D additions of the selected shape rather than the shape itself.

      Depth and color options for Depth
      Figure 4: Depth and color options for Depth

    • Theme Colors: Here you can select any of the colors which are from the active Theme of the presentation. You can also select any of the 5 tints or shades for any Theme color. Learn more about Themes here.

    • Standard Colors: You can choose any of the ten standard colors available -- these ten standard colors are just choices of colors that PowerPoint believes to be widely used. You don't have to limit yourself to either the Theme colors or Standard colors, as I'll show you in the next options, although it's a good design idea to use theme colors as far as possible.

    • Recent Colors: Here you will find the colors most recently used. If you have just launched PowerPoint and created a new presentation, the Recent Colors option may be entirely absent since you haven't selected any color recently!

    • Automatic is the default depth color.

    • More Colors: Provides more color choices -- selecting this option summons the Colors dialog box with two tabs: Standard and Custom, first select the Standard tab (see Figure 5).

      Standard tab of the Colors dialog box
      Figure 5: Standard tab of the Colors dialog box

      This tab offers 127 colors in a honeycomb style palette, 14 gray shades, black and white. If you want more color choices, then select the Custom tab of the same dialog box, as shown in Figure 6.

      Custom tab of the Colors dialog box
      Figure 6:
      Custom tab of the Colors dialog box

      In this tab, you can chose any color from the spectrum and later adjust the selected color's luminosity with the slider on the right. You can even enter specific values of RGB and HSL to create a specific color -- all these combinations provide 16 million color choices.

      Once you have chosen the color, click OK to exit this dialog box.

  5. Play around with Depth options - see a live preview while tweaking the parameters. In Figure 7 you can see that depth is added to earlier rotated shape.

    Drawing Tools Format tab of the Ribbon
    Figure 7: Bevel effect applied to a Rectangle shape

  6. Remember to save your presentation often.


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PowerPoint 2013, 2011, 2010, 2007 and 2003

Have your ever used keyboard shortcuts and sequences in PowerPoint? Or are you a complete keyboard aficionado? Do you want to learn about some new shortcuts? Or do you want to know if your favorite keyboard shortcuts are documented?

Go and get a copy of our PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences E-Book.

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