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Add Pattern Fills to Shapes in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows

Learn how to add (or change) a pattern fill to a selected shape in PowerPoint 2010.

Author: Geetesh Bajaj

Product/Version: Microsoft PowerPoint 2010
OS: Microsoft Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8

Date Created: January 27th 2011
Last Updated: January 27th 2011

In this series on fills for shapes, I have already explored solid fills, gradient fills, picture fills, and texture fills for shapes in PowerPoint 2010. Now I show you how you can use the Pattern fill option. If you are a PowerPoint old-timer, you will remember that Microsoft removed this option in PowerPoint 2007 although it existed in PowerPoint 2003 and previous versions. With PowerPoint 2010, they bring back this option but they have buried it in a dialog box rather than including it within the Shape Fill gallery. In this tutorial, I'll show you how you can access this fill option -- but first, let us talk about what patterns are.

Patterns in PowerPoint are two-color designs comprising lines, dots, dashes and checks. PowerPoint includes 48 patterns such patterns with names like plaid, weaves, shingle and zig zag. If you want to see a sample presentation showing pattern fills in PowerPoint, scroll down to the bottom of this page.

Follow these steps to change or apply a pattern fill to a shape:

  1. Select the shape(s) that you want to fill with a pattern. Alternatively, if you just want to follow this tutorial step-by-step, launch PowerPoint. Most of the time, PowerPoint will open with a new slide in a presentation -- PowerPoint 2010 users can change the slide layout to Blank by selecting Home tab | Layout | Blank.

  2. Within the Home or Insert tab of the Ribbon, choose the Shapes button to view the Shapes gallery that you can see in Figure 1. Select any shape, and then either drag and draw, or click once on the blank slide to place an instance of the shape (I used a heart shape as you can see later in Figure 2).

    Shapes gallery
    Figure 1: Shapes gallery

  3. Right click the shape, and from the context menu that appears, choose the Format Shape option as shown in Figure 2.

    Format Shape option selected
    Figure 2: Fomat Shape option selected in the context menu

  4. This opens the Format Shape dialog box. Make sure that the Fill tab is selected -- then click the radio button for Pattern fill (refer to Figure 3 below). Now you can see a pattern gallery on the lower half of the Format Shape dialog box shown in Figure 3.

    Format Shape dialog box with pattern gallery
    Figure 3: Format Shape dialog box with pattern gallery

  5. Choose any of the pattern styles. Figure 3 above shows that I selected the pattern named Sphere. You can select any pattern all the way from 5% to Solid diamonds depending on your need.

    Whichever pattern you choose, you can then change the foreground and background colors for the pattern using the Foreground Color and Background Color buttons that you can see in Figure 3 above. When you click any of these buttons you can see the drop-down Colors gallery as shown in Figure 4 below.

    Colors gallery for  Foreground and Background colors
    Figure 4: Colors gallery for Foreground and Background colors

    This gallery will work in the same way as it does for solid fills (this link takes you to one of our previous tutorials). I If you don't want to change the foreground and background colors, just accept the default color values that PowerPoint uses.

  6. Once the pattern is selected and colors are changed, click the Close button in the Format Shape dialog box (see Figure 3) to apply the pattern to the selected shape(s). In Figure 5 below, you can see the previously selected heart shape with an added pattern fill.
    Shape with pattern fill
    Figure 5: Shape with pattern fill

  7. Remember to save your presentation often.

Sample Presentation of Pattern Fill in Shape.

Click above to view this presentation on SlideShare

Click above to view this presentation on YouTube

See Also:

Add Pattern Fills to Shapes in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Add Pattern Fills to Shapes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac
Add Patterns Fills to AutoShapes in PowerPoint 2003 for Windows


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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.

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