Gradient Stops in PowerPoint 2013
Learn how to make changes to gradients and make your own new gradients in PowerPoint 2013.
Author: Geetesh Bajaj
Product/Version: Microsoft PowerPoint 2013
OS: Windows 7 and 8
Once you add gradient fills to shapes in PowerPoint 2013, you may want to make the gradient fill look a little different -- or even a whole lot different. Yes, you can use the More Gradients option to add different types of gradients as fills to the shapes but that only provides more gradient fill types, and does not let you customize the colors within the gradient.
Look at Figure 1, below -- the rectangle on the top of this slide shows
our original gradient that blends between just two colors, green and blue. The rectangle in
between adds two more colors, a middle blue shade and a leafy green to end up with a 4 colored
gradient. Finally, the rectangle at the bottom alters the transparency settings of some colors --
you can thus see the slide background which in turn comprises 3 colors: white, grey, and black.
In this tutorial, we'll step into a little more detail and show you how gradient stops work.
When you are done with this tutorial, you can create your own gradients, or edit existing ones
-- as shown in Figure 1, below.
Figure 1: Add colors and transparency to your gradient stops
First let us explore what a gradient stop is. Quite simply, this is the point where a new color is introduced within the gradient blend. All gradients must have at least two or more stops -- follow these steps to learn more:
- Select a shape,
and access the Format Shape pane as explained in the
tutorial. You'll end up with the pane that you can see in Figure 2. Note that
all areas of this pane other than those that are concerned with Gradient
Stops have been faded -- an explanation of the options within the faded areas has already
been provided in the
Figure 2: Gradient stops options in the Format Shape pane
- If you look at the first option in this area, you'll see that there is a gradient bar
(highlighted in red within Figure 3) with 3
Figure 3: Gradient bar
If you see less or more than the 3 stops, don't worry for now. As long as you have at least 2 stops, you should be fine. That's because a gradient needs at least two colors to form with. Figure 4 shows a shape filled with a simple 2 color gradient.
Figure 4: 2 Gradient stops
Look at Figure 4 -- it contains a gradient formed between dark blue and light green. You can see where the blue starts, and the green ends. These points, where a new color starts, ends, or just jumps in between is called a stop.
Look at Figure 5 now -- this one contains a gradient formed with 3 colors --- the black in between the blue and green forms a stop at around the 35% mark (35% from the left).
Figure 5: 3 Gradient Stops
- In PowerPoint 2013, you can add and remove gradient stops.
To add a gradient stop, make sure that you have selected the existing gradient stop after which you want to insert a new stop. Then click the Add gradient stop button (highlighted in red within Figure 6). This will add a new stop exactly between the selected stop and the next stop. Otherwise, you can also simply click on the gradient bar on the position where you want to add a new stop.
Figure 6: Add Gradient Stop button
To remove a gradient stop, just select the stop you want to remove, and then click the Remove Gradient Stop button (highlighted in red within Figure 7). You can also drag off the gradient stop off the gradient bar to remove it.
Figure 7: Remove Gradient Stop button
- After you have added gradient stops, you can change their position. To do that
just click on the stop that you want to change the position of and drag it along the
gradient bar to the new position. These stop positions are calculated
percentage-wise from 0 to 100%.
If you want to move a stop to a precise position, first select the stop you want to change the position of, and enter a percentage value in the Position box, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 8.
Figure 8: Change the position of your gradient stop
- You can also change the color of a stop. First select the stop for which
you want to change the color, and then click the Color button
(highlighted in red within Figure 9).
This will bring up the Color drop-down gallery -- see
Figure 9 again.
Figure 9: Color drop-down gallery
The options within the Color drop down gallery are explained below -- you'll need to choose any one of these options for the stop color:
- 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
- Standard Colors: Here you can choose from any of the
ten standard colors -- 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 you'll learn in the next
options, although it's a good design idea to use Theme colors as far as
- Recent Colors: Here you can 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!
- More Colors: This option is to summon the
Colors dialog box as shown in Figure 10.
This dialog box has two tabs: Standard and Custom --
first select the Standard tab (again, refer to Figure 10).
Figure 10: Standard tab within the Colors dialog box
The Standard tab offers 127 colors in a honeycomb style palette, 14 gray shades, black and white. You can even change the transparency value of the selected color in the Transparency slider below. If you want more color choices, then select the Custom tab of the same dialog box, as shown in Figure 11.
Figure 11: Custom tab within the Colors dialog box
Within the Custom 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!
Again, you can even change the transparency value of the selected color in the Transparency slider below.
Choose any color and click OK to apply it.
- Eyedropper: This is the new option in PowerPoint 2013, the Eyedropper option enables you to pick an exact color from anywhere, even from somewhere outside PowerPoint.
- 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.
- You can also change the Transparency level of each
stop color -- first select the stop and then use the
Transparency slider or enter the transparency value
percentage-wise (both the slider and the box are shown highlighted
in red within Figure 12, below).
Figure 12: Change transparency values
0% transparency equates to no transparency, and full opacity. 100% transparency equates to full transparency, and no opacity.
- Use the Brightness slider (highlighted in blue
within Figure 12, above) to change the brightness level of the stop color.
Moving the slider towards left makes the color darker and moving it towards right makes
the color brighter. You also have an option of directly entering the brightness value
from 0% to 100% in the box next to the Brightness slider.
- Select the Rotate with Shape check-box
(highlighted in green within Figure 12, above)
to rotate the gradient fill when its container shape is rotated.
- Save your presentation often.
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