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Apply Shadow Effects to Shapes in PowerPoint 2013

Learn how you can apply Shadow Effects to shape(s) in PowerPoint 2013.


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

PowerPoint’s effects are used to enhance the look of your shapes -- and with PowerPoint 2013 providing a vast repertoire of effects, you can easily get busy playing with all the options available! To save time, you can apply any of the Preset shape effects. If you choose to apply individual effects, the time involved may be more but the results can be distinctive. For example, even with something as simple as the Shadow effect, there is no dearth of options available -- look at Figure 1 to see the amazing differences between variations for the Shadow effect.

Shadows galore within PowerPoint
Figure 1: Shadows galore within PowerPoint

To see a sample presentation containing Shadow effects in PowerPoint 2013, scroll down to the bottom of this page.

Follow these steps to apply shadow effects to a shape:

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

    Drawing Tools Format tab of the Ribbon
    Figure 2: Drawing Tools Format tab of the Ribbon

    Note: The Drawing Tools Format tab is a contextual tab. These tabs are special tabs in the Ribbon that are not visible all the time -- they only make an appearance when you are working with a particular slide object which can be edited using special options.

  2. This brings up the Shape Effects drop-down gallery, as shown in Figure 3. From this gallery, choose the Shadow option -- this brings up the Shadow sub-gallery (refer to Figure 3 again).

    Shadow sub-gallery
    Figure 3: Shadow sub-gallery

    The options within the Shadow sub-gallery are explained below, as marked in Figure 3, above.

    1. No Shadow: Use this option if the shape already has a shadow which you want to remove.

    2. Outer Shadow: There are nine outer shadow styles available for various directions. These outer shadows are akin to drop shadows.

    3. Inner Shadow: You can choose from nine inner shadow styles. This effect applies a darkened edge within the shape itself in various directions.

    4. Perspective: Adds a long shadow that can sometimes cast off outside the slide area. There are five perspective shadow styles available.

    5. Shadow Options: If you want to have more control on shadows, select this option to summon the Format Shape Task Pane with the Effects tab selected (highlighted in red within Figure 4). Here you will find all possible shadow editing options which are explained in our Advanced Shadow Effect Options in PowerPoint 2013 tutorial.

      Format Shape Task Pane with Shadow option selected
      Figure 4: Format Shape Task Pane with Shadow option selected

  3. Move the cursor over any of the effects within the Shadow sub-gallery to see a live preview of the effect on the shape. Click on any effect to apply it to the selected shape. In Figure 5 you can see that a shadow effect has been applied to the previously selected shape.

    Rectangle shape with shadow effect applied
    Figure 5: Rectangle shape with shadow effect applied

  4. Remember to save your presentation often.

Sample Presentation

Click above to view on SlideShare

Click above to view on YouTube

See Also:

Apply Shadow Effects to Shapes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac
Apply Shadow Effects to Shapes in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows
Apply Shadow Effects to Shapes in PowerPoint 2007 for Windows
Formatting Shadows in PowerPoint 2002 and 2003 for Window


PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences:
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.

PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences E-book


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