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Shape Styles in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows

Learn about applying Shape Styles in PowerPoint 2010 to impart Theme coordinated fills, outlines, and effects.

Author: Geetesh Bajaj

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

Date Created: February 7th 2011
Last Updated: February 7th 2011

PowerPoint's fill, line, and effect attributes enable users to customize the look of the presentation, but sometime it may take ages to get that perfect color coordination and even after spending time the final look may not match the Theme of the presentation. To end up with a coordinated color combination for the slide objects in your presentation, you can use the Shape Styles gallery that contains a collection of prebuilt styles. These styles are all Theme-specific, so if the presentation Theme is changed - you'll end up with new Shape Styles.

Note: Want more individuality than what is afforded by Shape Styles? Go ahead and apply Shape Styles and then use the attributes as a starting point to changing the fill, lines and effects attributes.

Follow these steps to apply ready made Shape Styles to selected shape(s):

  1. Select the shape that you want to apply the style to. 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, click the Shapes button to access the Shapes gallery that you can see in Figure 1. Select the Rectangle (or any other shape), and then either drag and draw, or click once on the blank slide to place an instance of the shape.

    Shapes gallery in PowerPoint
    Figure 1: Shapes gallery

  3. Select the shape so that the Ribbon area now shows the Drawing Tools Format tab, as shown in Figure 2. Activate this Ribbon tab by clicking on it.

    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.

  4. Within the Drawing Tools Format tab, locate the Shape Styles group, then click the downward pointing arrow (highlighted in red in Figure 2 above) to bring up the Shape Styles drop-down gallery that you can see in Figure 3.

    Shape Styles drop-down gallery in PowerPoint
    Figure 3: Shape Styles drop-down gallery

  5. Now hover the cursor over any of the style previews in the gallery -- as you move over different previews, the selected shape shows you a live preview of the style applied -- click on the preview thumbnail in the gallery to apply the style to the selected shape.

    Tip: Place your shape in an area that is not covered by the Shape Styles drop-down gallery, so you can see the live preview.

  6. Figure 4 shows the style is applied to the shape.

    Shape Style applied to the shape
    Figure 4: Shape Style applied to the shape

  7. Remember to save your presentation often.

See Also:

Shape Styles in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Shape Styles in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac
Shape Styles in PowerPoint 2007 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?

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