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Change Default Shape Attributes in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows

Learn how to set default attributes for shapes in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows. You can set deafults for open and closed shapes, and fills and lines.

When you insert a new shape on a slide in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows (or in any previous version), by default it is filled with a solid color and an outline (or something else depending on the Theme your presentation is based on). For example in a new blank presentation that we created, the shape is by default filled with a blue solid fill and has a thin dark blue outline, as you can see in Figure 1. Whenever we insert another new shape on a slide, it will possess these same default shape attributes (fill, outline, and effect).


Figure 1: Default fill and outline in a blank presentation

These default shape attributes can be changed very easily in PowerPoint 2013. But do remember that these changes are only limited to the presentation you are working on. If the presentation is not saved, you'll lose the changes.

Follow these steps to change the default shape attributes in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows:

  1. Launch PowerPoint 2013 for Windows. Most of the time, PowerPoint will open with a new slide in a presentation. You can optionally change the slide layout to Blank by selecting the Home tab | Layout | Blank option.
  2. Now insert a shape (any shape will do) on the slide. Typically, the shape is filled with a blue color and has a thin dark blue outline, as can be seen in Figure 1, shown previously on this page. If you see different attributes, don't worry, just move ahead with the rest of the steps.
  3. Select the shape so that the Ribbon area now shows the Drawing Tools Format tab, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 2. Activate this Ribbon tab by clicking on it.

  4. Figure 2: Drawing Tools Format tab of the Ribbon
  5. 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.
  6. Within the Drawing Tools Format tab, click the Shape Fill button to view the Shape Fill drop-down gallery that you can see in Figure 3. Choose any of the fill types as required.

  7. Figure 3: Shape Fill drop-down gallery


  8. Now, with the shape still selected click the Shape Outline button within the Drawing Tools Format tab to bring up a drop-down gallery that you can see in Figure 4. Choose the Weight option to open the Weight sub-gallery that you can see in Figure 4. Within this sub-gallery, choose any weight (thickness) value for the selected shape. Learn more in our Formatting Outlines for Shapes in PowerPoint 2013 -- Weight tutorial.

  9. Figure 4: Weight sub-gallery
  10. You can even change the shape outline to be dashed by selecting the Dashes option within the Shape Outline gallery. Doing so opens the Dashes sub-gallery that you can see in Figure 5. Within this sub-gallery, choose any dash style for the selected shape. Learn more in our Formatting Outlines for Shapes in PowerPoint 2013 -- Dash tutorial.

  11. Figure 5: Dashes sub-gallery
  12. Figure 6, below shows the shape with a different fill and outline attributes. At this point of time, you can also play with effects such as reflection, glows, etc. You can format your default shape as you want.

  13. Figure 6: Changed shape
  14. Now, select the shape and right-click it to bring up the contextual menu shown in Figure 7. From the menu choose the Set as Default Shape option, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 7.

  15. Figure 7: Set as Default Shape option to be selected
  16. This will set the attributes of the selected shape as the default shape attributes. Hereafter, whenever you'll insert a new shape on the slide it will appear with these attributes.
  17. Make sure you save the presentation file.
Note: You can change the thickness of an open shape such as a line or curve, change its color, and then right-click and choose Set as Default Shape option. Thereafter, draw closed shapes such as a circle or rectangle, and those shapes will take your new attributes. But PowerPoint 2013 do not respect the default shape attributes for open shapes such as lines and curves.

See Also:

Default Attributes: Change Default Shape Attributes (Glossary Page)

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