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Change Shape Colors of SmartArt Graphics in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows

Learn how to change colors for a SmartArt graphic in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows. You can choose from several sets of coordinated colors.


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Product/Version: PowerPoint 2013 for Windows

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 and higher



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Although default colors of an inserted SmartArt graphic may work the best, you may also want to change colors of the shapes comprising the SmartArt graphic. While it is possible to change colors of individual shapes within the SmartArt graphic, PowerPoint lets you change colors of everything within the SmartArt graphic at one go. Not only does this approach save your time, but it also ensures that the different colors chosen are coordinated to look good together.

Follow these steps to change colors of your SmartArt graphic in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows:

  1. Select your existing SmartArt graphic, as shown in Figure 1, below. The SmartArt graphic variant used here is the Horizontal Picture List. This variant is perfect for this tutorial since it comprises shapes with solid fills, shapes with picture fills, as well as text. You'll notice how each element is colored differently.
  2. Horizontal Picture List SmartArt graphic
    Figure 1: Horizontal Picture List SmartArt graphic
  3. When any SmartArt graphic is selected, you'll find two contextual tabs activated on the Ribbon. These are the SmartArt Tools Design and the SmartArt Tools Format tabs, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 2, below. Activate the SmartArt Tools Design tab by clicking on it.
  4. SmartArt Tools Design tab selected
    Figure 2: SmartArt Tools Design tab selected
  5. Contextual Tabs

  6. The SmartArt Tool Design and SmartArt Tool Format tabs are contextual tabs. 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.
  7. Within the SmartArt Tools Design tab, click the Change Colors button, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 3, below.
  8. Change Colors button
    Figure 3: Change Colors button
  9. Doing so brings up the Change Colors drop-down gallery, as shown in Figure 4, below. All color variations within this gallery are Theme-based.
  10. Change Colors drop-down gallery
    Figure 4: Change Colors drop-down gallery
  11. Hover the cursor over any color previews in this gallery. As you hover over different previews, the selected SmartArt graphic on the slide shows a live preview of the colors applied, as shown in Figure 5, below. Click on the preview thumbnail you like within the gallery to apply color changes to the selected SmartArt graphic.
  12. SmartArt graphic showing live preview of the color selected
    Figure 5: SmartArt graphic showing live preview of the color selected
  13. Don't Cover the Preview Area

  14. Place your SmartArt graphic in an area that is not covered by the Change Color drop-down gallery, so you can see the live preview.
  15. Figure 6, below, shows the selected SmartArt graphic with changed colors. Notice that the color of picture fills is not yet changed, but we can also recolor them as explained hereafter.
  16. Color changed of selected SmartArt graphic
    Figure 6: Color changed of selected SmartArt graphic
  17. To change the color of picture fills, first make sure that the SmartArt graphic is selected. Then, summon the Change Colors drop-down gallery. Within this drop-down gallery, select the Recolor Pictures in SmartArt Graphic option, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 7, below. Select this option to recolor all picture fills within the SmartArt graphic.
  18. Recolor Pictures in SmartArt Graphic option
    Figure 7: Recolor Pictures in SmartArt Graphic option
  19. This action changes the color of pictures, as shown in Figure 8, below (compare with Figure 6, shown previously on this page). The Recolor Pictures in SmartArt Graphic option will only work with SmartArt graphic layouts that contain pictures.
  20. Color of the SmartArt graphic pictures changed
    Figure 8: Color of the SmartArt graphic pictures changed

Reset Colors of Pictures in SmartArt Graphics

The Recolor Pictures in SmartArt Graphic option is a toggle. Click it once to recolor and click it again to reset back to the original colors.

Use Non-Theme Colors in SmartArt

Want to override the Theme colors and choose another color for a selected shape within your SmartArt graphic? Explore our Changing Fill, Line, and Effects for Shapes within SmartArt in PowerPoint 2013 tutorial to learn more.


See Also:

Working with SmartArt: Change Shape Colors of SmartArt Graphics (Glossary Page)

Change Shape Colors of SmartArt Graphics in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows
Change Shape Colors of SmartArt Graphics in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac
Change Shape Colors of SmartArt Graphics in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows

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