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Add Pattern Fills to Shapes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

Learn how to add pattern fill to selected shapes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.

Author: Geetesh Bajaj

Product/Version: Microsoft PowerPoint 2011
OS: Mac OS X

Date Created: July 29th 2011
Last Updated: July 29th 2011

Do you need fills for shapes in PowerPoint that really contrasts well, especially when you have multiple shapes on a slide that need different types of fills? Yes, picture, gradient, or even solid fills work great -- but what happens when you need to print that slide on a black and white printer? Or if your audience includes those who have problems distinguishing between different colors? In that case, your best option is to use pattern fills. We have already explored many of the fills available for shapes, and in this tutorial you'll learn how you can use pattern fills -- but first, let us explore patterns a little.

Patterns in PowerPoint are two-color designs comprising patterns that include lines, dots, dashes and checks. PowerPoint includes 48 such patterns with names like plaid, weaves, shingle, and zigzag. If you want to see a sample presentation showing pattern fills in PowerPoint, scroll down to the bottom of this page. Follow these steps to change or apply a pattern fill to a shape:

  1. Select the shape that you want to change the fill for. Alternatively, if you just want to follow this tutorial step-by-step, launch PowerPoint. You will see the Presentation Gallery which allows you to set all attributes of your new presentation, such as a preset Theme or template. Make selections or just click Cancel in this gallery to open a blank presentation with a new slide -- PowerPoint 2011 users can change the slide layout of this slide to Blank by selecting Layout | Blank within the Home tab of the Ribbon.

  2. Within the Home tab of the Ribbon, locate the Insert group and click the Shape button to access the Shape gallery with different types of shape options that you can see in Figure 1. Select any shape option to access the related submenu, select the shape you prefer (we selected the Teardrop shape, as you can see in Figure 1).

    Shape gallery in PowerPoint 2011
    Figure 1: Shape gallery

  3. Click and drag on the slide to insert the shape, or click once on the blank slide to place an instance of the shape. Select the shape so that the Ribbon area now shows the Format tab, as shown in Figure 2 (highlighted in red). Activate this Ribbon tab by clicking on it.

    Format tab of the Ribbon in PowerPoint
    Figure 2: Format tab of the Ribbon

    Note: 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 these options.

  4. Within the Format tab, locate the Shape Styles group. Then click the downward arrow next to the Fill button to view the Fill drop-down gallery that you can see in Figure 3.

    Fill gallery
    Figure 3: Fill gallery

  5. In the Fill drop-down gallery, select the Fill Effects option which is the last option (refer to Figure 3 above). This opens the Format Shape dialog box. In this dialog box, make sure that the Fill panel is active, and select the Pattern tab that you can see in Figure 4 (highlighted in red). This will display a group of 48 pattern previews as shown in Figure 4.

    Pattern previews within Fill panel of the Format Shape dialog box
    Figure 4: Pattern previews within Fill panel of the Format Shape dialog box

  6. If you click on any pattern preview, you will be able to see it's name just above the pattern preview group (highlighted in red in Figure 5).

    Selected Pattern name displayed
    Figure 5: Selected Pattern name displayed

  7. Click on the pattern of your choice -- you will see a preview of the pattern applied to the selected shape on the slide. Each pattern comprises two colors -- the Foreground color (black by default) and the Background color (white by default). You can also change these colors -- click the Foreground and Background color buttons shown in Figure 6.

    Foreground and Background color buttons
    Figure 6: Foreground and Background color buttons

  8. When you click any of these buttons, a drop-down gallery of color options is displayed, as shown in Figure 7.

    Color drop-down gallery
    Figure 7: Color drop-down gallery

    Let us explore the options within this galley one by one:

    1. Theme Colors: Here you can select any of the colors in the active Theme of the presentation. You can also select any of the 5 tints or shades for any Theme color. Learn more about Themes here.

    2. Standard Colors: Here you can choose from any of the ten standard colors -- these ten standard colors are just choices of colors that PowerPoint believes to be widely used. You don't have to limit yourself to either the Theme colors or Standard colors, as I'll show you in the next options, although it's a good design idea to use Theme colors as far as possible.

    3. Recent Colors: Here you can find the colors most recently used. If you have just launched PowerPoint and created a new presentation, the Recent Colors option may be entirely absent since you haven't selected any color recently!

    4. More Colors: This option is to summon the Mac OS X Color picker as shown in Figure 8.

      Mac OS X Color picker
      Figure 8: Mac OS X Color picker

      In this Color picker, you can chose any color from the wheel. Thereafter adjust the selected color's luminosity within the long, thin slider on the right. Once you are happy with the color attained, you click OK to get back to your slide.

      Note: When you are making changes to the shape attributes within Format Shape dialog box, you can see the live preview of the changes in the selected shape. So, always place the Format Shape dialog box on the slide such that it won't hide the selected shape.

  9. Once you have selected the pattern fill type and changed the colors to suit your needs, click OK in the Format Shape dialog box to apply the changes to the selected shape and get back to the slide. Figure 9 shows the selected shape applied with a pattern fill.

    Shape with pattern fill
    Figure 9: Shape with pattern fill

  10. Remember to save your presentation often.

Sample Presentation of Pattern Fill in Shape.

Click above to view this presentation on SlideShare

Click above to view this presentation on YouTube

See Also:

See Also:

Add Pattern Fills to Shapes in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows
Add Pattern Fills to Shapes in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Add Pattern Fills to Shapes in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows
Add Patterns Fills to AutoShapes in PowerPoint 2003 for Windows


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