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Shape Styles in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows

Explore Shape Styles to add coordinated fills, outlines, and effects in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows.


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Product/Version: PowerPoint 2016 for Windows

OS: Windows 7 and higher






PowerPoint's fill, line, and effect attributes enable you to customize the look of shapes and other slide objects in your presentation. However, it may take ages to get that perfect color combination and even after spending so much time, the final look may not match the Theme of your presentation. Shape Styles is an awesome option to overcome this problem.

Shape Styles are a collection of prebuilt styles housed within a gallery of the same name. These styles are all Theme-specific. What does this mean? It means that if a presentation's Theme changes, you'll end up with new Shape Styles. Figure 1 below shows a selection of Shape Styles presets applied to some shapes.

Shape Styles make it easy to create coordinated content
Figure 1: Shape Styles make it easy to create coordinated content

Note: Want more individuality than what is afforded by Shape Styles? Go ahead and apply Shape Styles first as a starting point. Then change fills, lines, and effects.

Follow these steps to apply ready made Shape Styles to selected shape(s) in PowerPoint 2016:

  1. Select the shape so that the Ribbon area shows the Drawing Tools Format tab, 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 downward pointing arrow located within the Shape Styles group (highlighted in red within Figure 2 above)to bring up the Shape Styles drop-down gallery that you can see in Figure 3. Hover your cursor over any of the Theme Styles previews in the gallery. As you move over different previews, the selected shape shows you a Live Preview of the style applied (see Figure 3 again).

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

    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.
  3. Click on the preview thumbnail in the gallery to apply the style to the selected shape. Figure 4 shows the selected style applied to the shape.

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

    Do you see Presets area in the Shape Styles area below the Theme Styles? These show up in new versions of PowerPoint, and are only influenced by Theme Colors and Theme Fonts. Theme Effects or any other Theme options do not influence these Preset Shape Styles. Some of these styles are great if you want to add a transparent or semi-transparent shape with one click. Learn more in our Presets in Shape Styles post.
  4. 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 2010 for Windows
Shape Styles in PowerPoint 2007 for Windows

Polygon Center Circles for PowerPoint

These special circles have polygon centers: the centers are made of triangles, squares, pentagons, and hexagons! And based on the sides of the polygon, the rest of the circle has that many segments.

Download and use these Polygon Center Circles in your slides for just $4.99


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