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Apply Soft Edges to Shapes in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows

Learn how to apply Soft Edge effects to shapes in PowerPoint 2016.


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Product/Version: All versions

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 and higher






Among the various Shape Effects available in PowerPoint, probably the most subtle one is the Soft Edges effect. This effect adds an eaten-up, feathered edge to a selected shape. Soft Edges work best with larger shapes, especially if you use some of the larger Soft Edge variations available. PowerPoint provides some ready-to-use Soft Edges as shown in Figure 1, below.

Default Soft Edge effects
Figure 1: Default Soft Edge effects

Additionally, there is an option to format these ready made offerings. In this tutorial, we'll show you how to apply the default soft edge effects to a shape.

To see a sample presentation containing shapes with Soft Edges applied in PowerPoint, scroll down to the bottom of this page.

Follow these steps to apply Soft Edges to a shape in PowerPoint 2016:

  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).

    Shape Effects button
    Figure 2: Shape Effects button

    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 Soft Edges option. This brings up the Soft Edges sub-gallery (refer to Figure 3 again).

    Soft Edges Option
    Figure 3: Soft Edges Option

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

    A. No Soft Edges:

    Use this option to remove soft edges from a selected shape.

    B. Soft Edge Variations:

    There are six soft edge styles available in several point sizes ranging from 1 point to 50 points. Three of these styles (5 points, 10 points, and 25 points) can be seen in Figure 4.

    Soft Edges style Variations
    Figure 4: Soft Edges style variations

    C. Soft Edges Options:

    This allows you to format soft edges beyond ready made offerings in PowerPoint 2016. Want to learn more about those options? Read our Advanced Soft Edges Options in PowerPoint 2016 tutorial.
  3. Move the cursor over any of the effects within the Soft Edge Variations gallery to see a Live Preview of the effect on the shape, as shown in Figure 5.

    Shape with the live preview of the Soft Edge effect
    Figure 5: Shape with the live preview of the Soft Edge effect

    Tip: Place your shape in the area that is not covered by the Shape Effects drop-down gallery as shown in Figure 5 above, so that you can see the Live Preview.
  4. Click on any effect to apply to the selected shape. In Figure 6 you can see that a Soft Edge effect has been applied to the previously selected shape.
    Soft Edges applied to the Star shape
    Figure 6: Soft Edges applied to the Star shape
  5. Remember to save your presentation often.

  6. Tip: Try applying Soft Edge effects applied to the shapes with Picture Fills to provide a cool effect.

Sample Presentation

Click below to view on SlideShare

Click below to view on YouTube

See Also:

Apply Soft-Edges to Shapes in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Apply Soft-Edges to Shapes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac
Apply Soft-Edges to Shapes in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows
Apply Soft Edges to Shapes in PowerPoint 2007 for Windows

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