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Add Gradient Fills to Shapes in PowerPoint 2003 and 2002 for Windows

Add gradient fills to shapes in PowerPoint 2003 and 2002 for Windows. PowerPoint allows you to quickly add such blended fills between colors.

In the previous tutorial of this series we showed you how you can change or add a solid color fill to an AutoShape. In this tutorial we'll show you how to add or change Gradient Fill for an AutoShape.

To see a sample presentation containing Gradient Fills in PowerPoint, scroll down to the bottom of this page.

Follow these steps to change or apply a Gradient Fill to an AutoShape:

  1. Select the AutoShape that you want to change the fill for. Alternatively, if you just want to follow this tutorial step-by-step, launch PowerPoint. Most of the time, PowerPoint will open with a new slide in a presentation, users can change the slide layout to Blank by selecting Format | Slide Layout, and then choose the Blank layout in the resultant Task Pane.
  2. You will find the rectangle AutoShape option in the Drawing toolbar located below the PowerPoint interface. Select this option, and click once on the blank slide to place a rectangle AutoShape.
  3. Select the AutoShape, and choose Format | AutoShape, as shown in Figure 1. Or double click the AutoShape.

  4. Figure 1: AutoShape
  5. Either way, this opens the Format AutoShape dialog box that you can see in Figure 2. Note that this is a multi-tabbed dialog box, and all the options we need can be found in the Colors and Lines tab (again, see Figure 2).

  6. Figure 2: Format AutoShape
  7. In the Fill area, click the downward arrow next to the Color option, and choose Fill Effects, as shown in Figure 3.

  8. Figure 3: Fill Effects

  9. This summons the Fill Effects dialog box that you can see in Figure 4. This dialog box has four tabs: Gradient, Texture, Pattern and Picture, select the Gradient tab (again, refer to Figure 4).

  10. Figure 4: Gradient tab of the Fill Effects dialog box
  11. Within the Gradient tab, you have three choices of creating gradients:
    1. One Color Gradient (see Figure 5), here you can use a graduated fill which merges the color of your choice with either black (dark) or white (light). You can change the dark or light values by using the dark-light slider, shown under the Color box in Figure 5.

    2. Figure 5: One color
    3. Tip: Use the Transparency sliders below the Color area in the dialog box (see Figures 5 or 6) to alter the transparency vales of both the From and To colors for the gradient, this provides a very cool effect, you can also change one of the transparency values to 100% to end up with a solid to transparent Gradient Fill!
    4. Two Color Gradients (see Figure 6) work in almost the same way, other than allowing you to choose both the colors of a gradient rather than forcing you to merge one color into black or white. As you can see in Figure 6 (compare it to Figure 5), there are now two color list boxes, both of these have downward arrows next to them that work in the same way as you would choose a solid color, as shown in a previous tutorial.

    5. Figure 6: Two color
    6. Again, the transparency options detailed in the previous one-color option work in this case too.
    7. Preset Gradients (see Figure 7) are ready to use default gradients, some of these gradients use more than two colors. You can apply these Gradient Fills to your AutoShapes but you cannot edit these gradients by changing to other colors.

    8. Figure 7: Preset color
  12. Once the gradient style is selected or edited, you can chose from 22 different direction presets for the gradient. These direction presets are a combination of shading styles and their variants.
  13. Click OK to apply the Gradient Fill to the selected AutoShape(s), and get back to the Format AutoShape dialog box. Thereafter, click OK again to get back to your slide and AutoShape.
  14. Remember to save your presentation often.
  15. Related Link: Learn how to do more with AutoShapes in this free excerpt from my book: Cutting Edge PowerPoint For Dummies, read a free chapter called AutoShape Magic here.

This sample presentation of gradients in PowerPoint is part of the CD attached to my books:

Cutting Edge PowerPoint For Dummies, and Cutting Edge PowerPoint 2007 For Dummies. When you buy the book, you get the actual presentation, this can be very helpful if you want to copy these gradient styles with one click!

You can view the sample gradients in this video

See Also:

Fills for Shapes: Add Gradient Fills to Shapes (Glossary Page)

Add Gradient Fills to Shapes in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows
Add Gradient Fills to Shapes in PowerPoint 2016 for Mac
Add Gradient Fills to Shapes in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Add Gradient Fills to Shapes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac
Add Gradient Fills to Shapes in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows
Add Gradient Fills to Shapes in PowerPoint 2007 for Windows