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Shape Effects in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows

Learn about Shape Effects that can be applied to selected shapes in PowerPoint 2016.


Product/Version: Microsoft PowerPoint 2016

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 and higher

So what are effects? Effects are different than fills and outlines. With the plethora of effects available in PowerPoint, you can make a shape stand apart with a drop shadow. Other effects allow you to create convincing reflections, spreading glows, 3D bevel effects, and even soft edges (see some effects in Figure 1, below). Even better, all these effects are not destructible and can be turned on and off at your will.

Effects in PowerPoint
Figure 1: Effects in PowerPoint

Let us now explore the six distinct Shape Effects available within PowerPoint. The links below go to separate detailed pages on each effect. Additionally, we briefly explain each effect on this page too:




Soft Edges


3-D Rotation

Note: In addition to the six effects listed above, PowerPoint 2013 also provides an option to apply Preset effects that are a combination of several effects applied to the same slide object.

Follow these steps to apply an effect to a shape in PowerPoint 2016:

  1. Open your presentation and select the shape that you want to format. We selected a Star shape, as shown in Figure 2. Selecting the shape brings up the Drawing Tools Format tab in the Ribbon, as shown highlighted in blue within 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.
  2. Within the Drawing Tools Format tab, click the Shape Effects button (highlighted in red within Figure2, above).
  3. This bring up the Shape Effects drop-down gallery, as shown in Figure 3.

    Shape Effects drop-down gallery
    Figure 3: Shape Effects drop-down gallery

    The options within the Shape Effects drop-down gallery are explained below, as marked in Figure 4, above. Each of these options opens a sub-menu when clicked upon. You need to just click any Shape Effect variant of your choice within this sub-menu:

    A. Preset: Provides some ready-to-use shape effects which can be applied to any shape. Learn more in our Apply Preset Shape Effects in PowerPoint 2016 tutorial.

    B. Shadow: Provides three types of shadow: Outer, Inner, and Perspective, and you can apply any of these, or customize them to your requirement. Learn more in our Apply Shadow Shape Effects in PowerPoint 2016 tutorial.

    C. Reflection: You can choose from several reflection styles. Remember you don't want to use shadow and reflection for the same slide object such as a shape. Learn more in our Apply Reflection Shape Effects in PowerPoint 2016 tutorial.

    D. Glow: Glow adds a hazed, blurred color perimeter outside the shape area. Find several glow variations within the sub-menu. The glow colors are based on the Theme colors, although you can also choose any other color you like. Learn more in our Apply Glow Shape Effects in PowerPoint 2016 tutorial.

    E. Soft Edges: This effect type makes the shape edges feathered. There are several soft edges variations available within the sub-menu. Learn more in our Apply Soft Edges Shape Effects in PowerPoint 2016 tutorial.

    F. Bevel: Apply bevel effects to the shape. You can also customize your own bevel. Learn more in our Apply Bevel Shape Effects in PowerPoint 2016 tutorial.

    G. 3-D Rotation: With this effect type, you can apply parallel, perspective, and oblique 3-D effects to shape. Learn more in our Apply 3-D Rotation Shape Effects in PowerPoint 2016 tutorial.
  4. Apply a Shape Effect to the selected shape by clicking on any variation of a selected Shape Effect's sub-menu. In Figure 4 you can see the previously selected Star shape applied with a Preset Shape Effect.

    Star shape applied with a Preset Shape Effect
    Figure 4: Star shape applied with a Preset Shape Effect
  5. Remember to save your presentation often.

See Also:

Shape Effects in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Shape Effects in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac
Shape Effects in PowerPoint2010 for Windows
Shape Effects in PowerPoint 2007 for Windows

PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences:
PowerPoint 2016, 2013, 2011, 2010, 2007 and 2003 for Windows
PowerPoint 2016 and 2011 for Mac
PowerPoint Online for Windows and 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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©2000-2018, Geetesh Bajaj. All rights reserved.

since November 02, 2000