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Format Task Pane in PowerPoint 2016

Learn about the Format Task Panes in PowerPoint 2016.


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Product/Version: Microsoft PowerPoint 2016
OS: Windows 7 and higher






PowerPoint works with the concept of selection, and then action. And the action typically is to edit whatever you may have selected! For such editing, the Format Task pane in PowerPoint 2016 can be indispensable. The Format Task pane aligns neatly with the right or left side of the PowerPoint interface, and you can now immediately see how your choices affect the selected slide objects. The Format Task pane is often tabbed. This means that you can jump quickly between different elements of your slide object! In many ways thus, the Format Task pane is the single source where different style formatting options are consolidated in one place.

In this article, we will explore how you can bring up the Format Task pane and how it works:

Summon Format Task Pane

  1. Open or create a slide which already has a shape – select the shape, as you can see in Figure 1.

    Slide with shape
    Figure 1: Slide with shape
  2. Right-click the shape to bring up a contextual menu, as shown in Figure 2. Within the contextual menu select the Format Shape option (see Figure 2, again).

    Format Shape option
    Figure 2: Format Shape option
  3. This brings up the Format Shape Task pane -- pinned on the right side of the interface, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 3.

    Format Shape Task pane
    Figure 3: Format Shape Task pane

    As you can see in Figure 3 above, the Format Task pane shows Format Shape options as we accessed the right-click menu from a selected shape. The formatting options change based on the object selected:

    Selected Object Task Pane
    Table Format Shape
    Chart Format Chart Area
    Shape Format Shape
    Picture Format Picture
    Text Box Format Shape
    WordArt Format Shape
    Text Placeholder Format Shape
    Video Format Video
    Audio (The Audio Icon) Format Picture
    SmartArt Format Shape
    Slide Background (Nothing Selected) Format Background

Move the Format Task Pane

The open Format Task pane can be easily moved from the right side of the interface to left side or anywhere on the interface -- to do that, follow these steps:

  1. Click the downward pointing arrow within the Format Task pane (highlighted in red within Figure 4) and from the drop-down list select the Move option (highlighted in blue within Figure 4).

    Move Format Task pane
    Figure 4: Move Format Task pane
  2. This will change the cursor to four sided arrow (highlighted in red within Figure 5).

    Four arrow headed cursor
    Figure 5: Four arrow headed cursor
  3. Now just drag the Format Task pane to the new position. For this tutorial we moved it to left side of the interface, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 6.

    Format Task pane moved towards left side of interface
    Figure 6: Format Task pane moved towards left side of interface
  4. You can also drag the Format Task pane off the PowerPoint interface to another area on your Desktop (see Figure 7) -- or even onto a second display attached to your computer.

    Format Task pane dragged off the PowerPoint interface
    Figure 7: Format Task pane dragged off the PowerPoint interface

Resize the Task Pane

You can also resize the Format Task pane:

  1. Place your cursor on the edge of the Format Task pane to summon the two arrow headed cursor (highlighted in red within Figure 8).

    Two arrow headed cursor
    Figure 8: Two arrow headed cursor
  2. And then click and drag towards the left or right to resize the Format Task pane as required.

See Also: New Format Task Panes in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows

PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts

PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences:
PowerPoint 2016, 2013, 2011, 2010, 2007 and 2003 for Windows
PowerPoint 2016 and 2011 for Mac

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 ebook.



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