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Advanced Shadow Effect Options in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows

Work with advanced shadow effect options for shapes in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows. You can change the shadow color, its transparency, size, blur spread, angle, and even the distance.

In this series of tutorials on Shape Effects in PowerPoint 2010, you have already learned to apply shadow effect to a shape. This detailed tutorial goes beyond the default options, and shows you how you can work further with shadow effects.

Follow these steps to get started:

  1. Select the shape you want to apply the shadow effects to. You may also select a shape that already has shadow effect applied. Then double click the shape to activate the Drawing Tools Format tab in the Ribbon (see Figure 1). Within this tab locate the Shape Styles group and click the Shape Effects button that you can see in Figure 1 (highlighted in red).

  2. Figure 1: Drawing Tools Format tab of the Ribbon
  3. 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. This brings up the Shape Effects drop-down gallery shown in Figure 2. From the Shape Effects drop-down gallery, choose Shadow | Shadow Options (the last option in Figure 2).

  5. Figure 2: Shadow Options within Shape effects
  6. This opens the Shadow tab of the Format Shape dialog box, as shown in Figure 3.

  7. Figure 3: Shadow options within the Format Shape dialog box
  8. The options in this dialog box are explained below:
  9. A. Presets

  10. Click the downward arrow next to the icon, which brings up the similar shadow gallery that you can see in Figure 2 above. See the Apply Shadow Effects to Shapes In PowerPoint 2010 tutorial for more information.
  11. B. Color

  12. Allows you to change the shadow color. Click the downward arrow next to color icon to access the Color fly out menu (see Figure 4). Here you can choose any color for the shadow.

  13. Figure 4: Shadow color options
  14. i. Theme Colors

  15. Here you can select any of the colors in the active Theme of the presentation. You can also select any of the 5 tints or shades for any Theme color. Learn more about Themes here.
  16. ii. Standard Colors

  17. You can choose any of the ten standard colors available. These ten standard colors are just choices of colors that PowerPoint believes to be widely used. You don't have to limit yourself to either the Theme colors or Standard colors, as we'll show you in the next options. Although, it's a good design idea to use Theme colors as far as possible.
  18. iii. Recent Colors

  19. Here you can find the colors most recently used. If you have just launched PowerPoint and created a new presentation, the Recent Colors option may be entirely absent since you haven't selected any color recently!
  20. iv. More Colors

  21. Provides more color choices, selecting this option summons the Colors dialog box with two tabs: Standard and Custom. First select the Standard tab (see Figure 5).

  22. Figure 5: Standard tab of the Colors dialog box
  23. This tab offers 127 colors in a honeycomb style palette, 14 gray shades, black and white. You can even change the transparency value of the selected shadow color in the Transparency slider below, anything from 0% transparent (opaque) to 100% transparent.
  24. If you want more color choices, then select the Custom tab of the same dialog box, as shown in Figure 6.

  25. Figure 6: Custom tab of the Colors dialog box
  26. In this tab, you can choose any color from the spectrum and later adjust the selected color's luminosity with the slider on the right. You can even enter specific values of RGB and HSL to create a specific color. All these combinations provide 16 million color choices! Again, you can even change the transparency value of the selected color in the Transparency slider below.
  27. Click OK to exit this dialog box.
  28. C. Transparency

  29. Allows you to alter the transparency of the shadow. You can use the slider, or type the shadow transparency value in percentages.
  30. D. Size

  31. Use the slider or enter the shadow size value in percentages to increase or decrease the size (spread) of the shadow.


  32. E. Blur

  33. This option makes the edges of the shadow more feathered (merged with the background). Again you can use the slider, or enter the blur value in points.
  34. F. Angle

  35. This slider changes the angle of the shadow in relation to the shape.
  36. G. Distance

  37. Allows you to format the starting and the ending point of the shadow in relation to the position of the shape. You can use the slider or insert the distance value in points.
  38. Click Close to apply the shadow changes, and get back to the slide.
  39. Remember to save your presentation often.

See Also:

Shape Effects: Advanced Shadow Effect Options (Glossary Page)

Advanced Shadow Effect Options in PowerPoint 2016 for Windows
Advanced Shadow Effect Options in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Advanced Shadow Effect Options in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac
Advanced Shadow Effect Options in PowerPoint 2007 for Windows
Advanced Shadow Effect Options in PowerPoint 2003 and 2002 for Windows