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Apply Shadow Effects to Shapes in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows

Learn how you can apply Shadow Effects to shapes in PowerPoint 2016.


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Product/Version: Microsoft PowerPoint 2016

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 and higher






PowerPoint’s Shape Effects are used to enhance the look of your shapes, and with PowerPoint 2016 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, 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 shows the Drawing Tools Format tab, as shown highlighted in blue within Figure 2. Activate this Ribbon tab by clicking on it. Within the Drawing Tools Format tab click the Shape Effects button (highlighted in red 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.

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

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

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

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

    E. 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 Edit Shadow Effect in PowerPoint 2016 tutorial. In Figure 4, none of the Shadow editing options show values because we haven't applied any Shadow to the selected shape yet.

    Shadow editing options within Format Shape Task Pane
    Figure 4: Shadow editing options within Format Shape Task Pane
  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 as shown in Figure 5.

    Shape showing the live preview of the Shadow effect
    Figure 5: Shape showing the live preview of the Shadow effect
  4. Click on any effect to apply it to the selected shape. In Figure 6 you can see that a shadow effect has been applied to the previously selected shape.
    Shadow effect applied to the Star shape
    Figure 6: Shadow effect applied to the Star shape
  5. Remember to save your presentation often.

Click below to view on SlideShare

Click below to view on YouTube

See Also:

Apply Shadow Effects to Shapes in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
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

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