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Formatting Outlines (Weight/Thickness and Dashes) in PowerPoint 2007 for Windows

Learn how to apply the dash attribute to shape outlines in PowerPoint 2007 for Windows.


Product/Version: PowerPoint 2007 for Windows

OS: Windows XP / Vista

In a previous tutorial, we explained the basics of formatting outline in PowerPoint 2007 using the Shape Outline gallery. You can explore more advanced options for almost all formats you can do with an outline. In this tutorial, we'll show you how you can tweak the outline weight and dash type.

Weight is the thickness attribute of the 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 variations in outlines
Figure 1:Width variations in outlines

Dash type is the variation between a line without dashes to ones with longer or smaller dashes, or even alternating small and long dashes. Figure 2 shows you some variations in dash types.

Dash type variations in outlines
Figure 2: Dash type variations in outlines

Tip: You can change the outlines for both shapes and pictures in PowerPoint 2007, you can also add an outline to an inserted movie using the same options, yes, you can also alter the width and dash types!

Follow these steps to change outline weight and dash type:

  1. Select the shape that you want to change the outline 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 2007 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 3. 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.

    Shapes gallery
    Figure 3: Shapes gallery
  3. Select the shape so that the Ribbon area now shows the Drawing Tools Format, as shown in Figure 4. Activate this Ribbon tab.

    Drawing Tools Format tab of the Ribbon
    Figure 4: Drawing Tools Format tab of the Ribbon

    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.
  4. From the Drawing Tools Format tab, locate the Shape Outline group, then select the Weight option to view the Weight sub-gallery that you can see in Figure 5. Within this gallery, choose any weight (thickness) value for the selected shape. Or choose the More Lines... option (again see Figure 5).

    Weight sub-gallery
    Figure 5: Weight sub-gallery
  5. This brings up the Format Shape dialog box as you can see in Figure 6.

    Format Shape dialog box
    Figure 6: Format Shape dialog box

    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.
  6. Within the Format Shape dialog box, make sure you are on the Line Style tab.

    A. Width

    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.

    B. Compound Type

    Selecting this option reveals a drop-down from where you can choose any of the Compound type available for outlines, as shown in Figure 7.

    Compund types
    Figure 7: Compound types

    C. Dash Type

    Selecting this option reveals a drop-down from where you can choose any of the Dash type available for outlines, as shown in Figure 8.

    Dash types
    Figure 8: Dash types

    Note: The Dash type drop-down has similar options to the ones you find if you choose Shape Outline | Dashes within the Drawing Format Tools tab of the Ribbon that we showed in Step 4. See Figure 9 below.

    Dash types in the Shape Outline gallery
    Figure 9: Dash types in the Shape Outline gallery

    D. Cap Type

    This allows you to choose between a Square, Round, or Flat line end type, as shown in Figure 10. 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.

    Cap Type
    Figure 10: Cap type

    E. Join Type

    This allows you to choose between round, bevel, and miter joins, as shown in Figure 11. This influences the joins in an outline such as a corner of a triangle or rectangle.

    Join Type
    Figure 11: Join type

    F. Arrow Settings

    Learn more about Arrow Settings in our Formatting Arrows (Arrowheads) in PowerPoint 2007 tutorial.
  7. Close the Format Shape dialog box to get back to your slide. Save your presentation often.
Related Link: My book Cutting Edge PowerPoint 2007 For Dummies covers many aspects of PowerPoint 2007. A free chapter excerpt PowerPointing with the Best of Them is available on this site.

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 2011 for Mac
Formatting Outlines for Shapes (Dashes) in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows

PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences:
PowerPoint 2016, 2013, 2011, 2010, 2007 and 2003 for Windows
PowerPoint 2016 and 2011 for Mac
PowerPoint Online for Windows and Mac

Have your ever used keyboard shortcuts and sequences in PowerPoint? Or are you a complete keyboard aficionado? Do you want to learn about some new shortcuts? Or do you want to know if your favorite keyboard shortcuts are documented?

Go and get a copy of our PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences ebook.

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