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Formatting Outlines for Shapes (Dashes) in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

Learn how to apply the dash attribute to shape outlines in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac.


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Product/Version: PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

OS: Mac OS X






Since you already know how to change the color of lines and to change their thickness, it is time to move on and learn about another option that lets you play with how lines look. In this tutorial, you will learn to apply a dashed style to any line (or shape outline). A dashed style in PowerPoint 2011 can have plenty of variations from fewer dashes to ones with longer or smaller dashes, or even alternating small and long dashes. Figure 1 shows you some variations in dashed styles available in PowerPoint 2011.

Dashed styles for outlines
Figure 1: Dashed styles for outlines

Tip: You can change the outlines for shapes (and borders for pictures) in PowerPoint 2011, you can also add a shape outline to an inserted movie using the same options!

Follow these steps to apply dashed styles to shape outlines in PowerPoint 2011:

  1. Select the shape (or line) that you want to change the line attributes 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. Select any shape option to access the related submenu, select the shape you prefer, and then click and drag on the slide to insert the shape, or click once on the blank slide to place an instance of the shape.
  3. 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
    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 special options.
  4. Within the Format tab, locate the Shape Styles group, and then click the Line button to access the Line drop-down gallery. In this gallery, select the Dashed option to view the sub-gallery that you can see in Figure 3. Within this gallery, click on any dashed style to apply it to the selected shape's line/outline.

    Line gallery with Dashed option selected
    Figure 3: Line gallery with Dashed option selected

    The same dashed styles are also available within the Format Shape dialog box as shown in Figure 4. To access this dialog box, you must select the Line Effects option in the Line drop-down gallery (highlighted in red within Figure 3).

    Dashed option within the Format Shape dialog box
    Figure 4: Dashed option within the Format Shape dialog box
  5. In the Format Shape dialog box, make sure that the Weights & Arrows tab within Line panel is selected. In this tab, select the Dashed option (which has been highlighted in red within Figure 4) to reveal a drop-down list (similar to the one that you saw in Figure 3), from where you can choose any of the dashed styles available for lines (and shape outlines), as shown in Figure 5.

    Dashed drop-down list within the Format Shape dialog box
    Figure 5: Dashed drop-down list within the Format Shape dialog box

    After selecting the Dashed option, you can also chose the Cap type option to enhance the effect. If you want to learn how to use other line edit options within the Format Shape dialog box which are not explained in this tutorial, refer to our Formatting Outlines for Shapes (Weight/Thickness) in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac tutorial.
  6. After choosing the required Dashed line style, click the OK button within the Format Shape dialog box to apply the changes to the selected line (or shape outline). In Figure 6 you can see that the outline of the Rectangle shape we selected earlier (refer to Figure 2 above), has a dashed style.

    Shape with dash style applied to the outline
    Figure 6: Shape with dash style applied to the outline
  7. Save your presentation often.

See Also:

Formatting Outlines for Shapes (Dashes) in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows
Formatting Outlines for Shapes (Dashes) in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Formatting Outlines for Shapes (Dashes) in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows
Formatting Outlines (Weight/Thickness and Dashes) in PowerPoint 2007 for Windows

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