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Formatting Line Weight and Thickness for Shapes in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows

Change the weight attribute of shape outlines in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows. 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 2010 for Windows

OS: Microsoft Windows 7 and higher




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We have explained the basics of formatting shape outlines in PowerPoint 2010. Now we take you further ahead 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. We also cover compound lines such as those 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 outlines
Figure 1: Width (weight) variations in outlines

Tip: You can change the outlines for shapes (and borders for pictures) in PowerPoint 2010, 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 that you want to change the line attributes 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, PowerPoint 2010 users can change the slide layout to Blank by selecting Home tab | Layout | Blank.
  2. Under the Home or Insert tab of the Ribbon, choose the Shapes button to view the Shapes gallery that you can see in Figure 2. Select the Rectangle or any other shape and then either drag and draw, or click once on the blank slide to place an instance of the shape. (We used a Rectangle shape as you can see later in Figure 3).
  3. Shapes gallery
    Figure 2: Shapes gallery
  4. Select the shape so that the Ribbon area now shows the Drawing Tools Format tab, as shown in Figure 3. Activate this Ribbon tab by clicking on it.
  5. Drawing Tools Format tab of the Ribbon
    Figure 3: Drawing Tools Format tab of the Ribbon
  6. 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.
  7. From the Drawing Tools Format tab, click the arrow part of the Shape Outline button, and then select the Weight option to view the Weight drop-down gallery that you can see in Figure 4. Within this gallery, choose any weight (thickness) value for the selected shape. Or choose the More Lines... option (again see Figure 4).
  8. Shape Outline gallery with Weight option selected
    Figure 4: Shape Outline gallery with Weight option selected
  9. This opens the Format Shape dialog box as you can see in Figure 5, make sure Line Style option has been selected within the sidebar.
  10. Format Shape dialog box with Line Style options
    Figure 5: Format Shape dialog box with Line Style options
  11. The Format Shape dialog box provides lot of options to format the outline, but we will only explore options related to the weight attribute on this page as marked in Figure 5:
  12. A. Width

  13. Add a weight for the selected line in pts. You can opt to create a really thick line, even 100 pt or more! However, choose something that works best for you.
  14. Remember you can either type in the outline width in the box, or use the up and down arrow buttons in the control to adjust the outline width.
  15. B. Compound type

  16. Selecting this option reveals a drop-down from where you can choose any of the compound types available for outlines, as shown in Figure 6. Note that compound lines in PowerPoint are limited to two or three lines compounded to each other. You need to choose the compound line options that PowerPoint provides and cannot create your own custom compound line.
  17. Compound types for outlines
    Figure 6: Compound types for outlines
  18. C. Dash type

  19. This option allows you to apply dash attribute to the shape outline. Learn more about Formatting Outlines for Shapes (Dashes) in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows tutorial.
  20. D. Cap type

  21. This allows you to choose between a Square, Round, or Flat line end type, as shown in Figure 7. This option only works with outlines within open shapes. Also, if you apply this option to a dashed line, it influences all individual dashes within the line.
  22. Cap type
    Figure 7: Cap type
  23. E. Join type

  24. This allows you to choose between Round, Bevel, and Miter joins, as shown in Figure 8. This influences the joins in an outline such as a corner of a triangle or rectangle.
  25. Join type
    Figure 8: Join type
  26. F. Arrow settings

  27. Arrow settings work only with outlines used as open shapes. We have covered this in our Formatting Arrows (Arrowheads) in PowerPoint 2010 tutorial.
  28. After choosing required shape outline attributes, click the Close button to dismiss the dialog box. In Figure 9 you can see the Rectangle shape which was selected earlier with outline weight increased to 6 pts.
  29. Shape with outline weight changed
    Figure 9: Shape with outline weight changed
  30. 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 2011 for Mac
Formatting Line Weight and Thickness for Shapes in PowerPoint 2007 for Windows

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