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Formatting Line Weight and Thickness for Shapes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

Change the weight attribute of shape outlines in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac. PowerPoint lets you create thin or thick lines, and compounded lines that combine two or three lines, and more.


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Product/Version: PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

OS: Mac OS X




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You have already learned the basics of formatting shape outlines in PowerPoint 2011. Now you can go a step further to explore more advanced options for all line formatting characteristics like weight, dash style, arrow style, gradient lines, etc. This particular page explores how you can change line weight to make the outlines thinner and thicker, and also how you can use line styles that encompass double or triple lines.

Weight is the thickness attribute of the shape outline. You can change the weight all the way from a hairline thin line to a chunky thick line. Figure 1 shows you some weight variations in outlines.

Width (weight) variations in outlinesFigure 1: Width (weight) variations in lines

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 change the shape outline weight:

  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. Activate this Ribbon tab by clicking on it.
  4. Format tab of the Ribbon
    Figure 2: Format tab of the Ribbon
  5. 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.
  6. Within the Format tab, locate the Shape Styles group, and then click the arrow part of the Line button to access the Line drop-down gallery. In this gallery, select the Weights option to view the Weights sub-gallery that you can see in Figure 3. Within this gallery, choose any weight (thickness) value for the selected shape. Or choose the More Lines... option (again see Figure 3).
  7. Line drop-down gallery with Weights option selected
    Figure 3: Line drop-down gallery with Weights option selected
  8. This opens the Format Shape dialog box. Make sure that Line panel is active in the sidebar, and Weights & Arrows tab is selected (see Figure 4).
  9. Format Shape dialog box with Line edit options
    Figure 4: Format Shape dialog box with Line edit options
  10. The Format Shape dialog box provides many options to format lines, but we will only explore options related to the weight attribute on this page, as marked in Figure 4:
  11. A. Style

  12. Selecting this option reveals a drop-down list from where you can choose any of the styles available for lines, as shown in Figure 5. Note that line styles in PowerPoint are limited to two or three lines compounded to each other. You need to choose the line styles that PowerPoint provides, and cannot create your own line styles.
  13. Line styles in PowerPoint 2011
    Figure 5: Line styles in PowerPoint 2011
  14. B. Weight

  15. Adds weight to the selected line in points. You can opt to create a really thick line, even 100 pt or more! However, choose something that works best for you.
  16. Remember you can either type in the line width in the box, or use the up and down arrow buttons in the control to adjust the line width (highlighted in blue within Figure 4, above).
  17. C. Dashed

  18. This option allows you to apply dash attribute to the shape outline (line). We have explored this option in our Dashed Lines in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac tutorial.
  19. D. Cap type

  20. This allows you to choose between a Square, Round, or Flat line end type, as shown in Figure 6. This option only works with lines as open shapes. Also, if you apply this option to a dashed line, it influences all individual dashes within the line.
  21. Cap types
    Figure 6: Cap types
  22. E. Join type

  23. This allows you to choose between Round, Bevel, and Miter joins, as shown in Figure 7. This influences the joins in an outline such as a corner of a triangle or rectangle.
  24. Join types
    Figure 7: Join types
  25. F. Arrows

  26. Arrow options work only with lines used as open shapes. We have covered this in our Formatting Arrows (Arrowheads) in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac tutorial.
  27. After choosing required line attributes, click the OK button to apply the changes to the selected line (or shape outline). In Figure 8, you can see the Rectangle shape which was selected earlier (refer to Figure 2 above), with outline weight and style changed.
  28. Shape with outline weight and style changed
    Figure 8: Shape with outline weight and style changed
  29. Don't forget to save your presentations often.

See Also:

Shape Lines: Formatting Line Weight and Thickness for Shapes (Glossary Page)

Formatting Line Weight and Thickness for Shapes in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows
Formatting Line Weight and Thickness for Shapes in PowerPoint 2016 for Mac
Formatting Line Weight and Thickness for Shapes in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Formatting Line Weight and Thickness for Shapes in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows
Formatting Line Weight and Thickness for Shapes in PowerPoint 2007 for Windows

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