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Advanced Reflection Options in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows

Learn how you can make changes to the reflection effects applied to shapes in PowerPoint 2016.


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Product/Version: Microsoft PowerPoint 2016

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 and higher






The Reflection effects that PowerPoint provides can be applied with a single click, and can indeed do wonders for your shapes. However, if you get too carried away by the swanky looking reflections, you may end up distracting your audiences. Most of PowerPoint's reflection presets that you learned to apply in our Reflection Effects for Shapes in PowerPoint 2016 tutorial are attractive, yet somewhat distracting. Still, you can tone down the effect a little. Or if you want, you can let your creativity work and enhance the reflection effect! Whatever your scenario may be, you can edit the reflection properties to suit your creative freedom. For instance, you can change the transparency or distance of the reflection to end up with results similar to what you can see in Figure 1, below.

Enhance your Reflection effects
Figure 1: Enhance your Reflection effects

Follow these steps to edit a Reflection effect applied to a shape in PowerPoint 2016:

  1. Select a shape that has a Reflection, that you want to edit. The Ribbon will show 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 you can see in Figure 3. Within the Shape Effects drop-down gallery choose Reflection, and then choose Reflection Options from the sub-gallery, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 3.

    Reflection Options within the Reflection sub-gallery
    Figure 3: Reflection Options within the Reflection sub-gallery

  3. This opens the Format Shape Task Pane with the Effects tab active (highlighted in red within Figure 4). Within the Format Shape Task Pane you'll find all the option for reflection under Reflection section (highlighted in blue within Figure 4).

    Reflection Options within Format Shape Task Pane
    Figure 4: Reflection Options within Format Shape Task Pane

    Reflection options within the Format Shape task pane are explained below, as marked in Figure 4, above:

    A. Presets: Click the downward arrow next to the icon, which brings up the similar Reflection gallery that you can see in Figure 3 above. See our Apply Reflection Effects to Shapes In PowerPoint 2016 tutorial for more information.

    B. Transparency: Allows you to alter the transparency of the reflection. You can use the slider, or type the reflection transparency value in percentages.

    C. Size: Use the slider or enter the reflection size value in percentages to increase or decrease the size (spread) of the reflection.

    D. Blur: This option makes the edges of the reflection more feathered (merged with the background). Again you can use the slider, or enter the blur value in points.

    E. Distance: Allows you to format the distance between the shape and the reflection in relation to the position of the shape. You can use the slider or type the distance value in points.
  4. Play around with the reflection editing options untill you get the perfect shadow effect. In Figure 5, you can see the changes we made to various reflection editing options within the Format Shape Task Pane, and towards right, you can also see the Live Preview of the chagnes on the selected Star shape. Once you are happy with the result, close the Format Shape Task Pane and get back to the slide.

    Reflection edited
    Figure 6: Reflection edited
  5. Remember to save your presentation often.

See Also:

Advanced Reflection Options in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Advanced Reflection Effect Options in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac
Advanced Reflection Options in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows

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