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Advanced Shadow Effect Options in PowerPoint 2003 and 2002 for Windows

Work with advanced shadow effect options for shapes in PowerPoint 2003 and 2002 for Windows. You can change the shadow color, its transparency, size, blur spread, angle, and even the distance.

In a previous tutorial, we showed you how to apply shadow effects to an AutoShape in PowerPoint 2003 or earlier versions. Although PowerPoint provides 20 preset shadow styles, you can still create your own customized shadows, or edit the preset shadow styles using the Shadow Settings toolbar.

Follow these steps to adjust the Shadow Settings:

  1. Select an AutoShape, and from PowerPoint's Drawing toolbar, choose Shadow Style as shown in Figure 1.

  2. Figure 1: Shadow Style
  3. Note: If the Drawing toolbar is not visible (normally at the bottom of the PowerPoint interface, above the status bar), choose View | Toolbars | Drawing. This is a toggle option that alternatively shows and hides the Drawing toolbar. Learn more about the PowerPoint 2003 interface here.
  4. This opens the Shadow flyout menu. Choose the last option called Shadow Settings, as you can see in Figure 2.

  5. Figure 2: Shadow Settings
  6. This brings up the Shadow Settings toolbar that you can see in Figure 3.

  7. Figure 3: Shadow Settings toolbar
  8. The Shadow Settings toolbar has six icons, which are divided into 3 groups (refer to Figure 3 above). These are explained below.
  9. A. Shadow On/Off

  10. This icon toggles between the states of shadow and no shadow.
  11. B. Shadow Nudge

  12. These four icons allow to nudge the shadow up, down, left and right in one pixel increments.


  13. C. Shadow Color

  14. Click the downward arrow next to this icon to access a flyout menu as you can see in Figure 4. Here you can choose any color for the shadow, and also make the shadow semi transparent.

  15. Figure 4: Shadow color flyout menu
  16. Automatic is the default shadow color, and this translates to the third color in the active Color Scheme. You can also choose any of the other colors in the Color Scheme.
  17. The second row contains Recent Colors you may have selected to use in the active presentation. If you don't see a second row of colors, that means you have not selected any colors yet!
  18. Choose the Semitransparent option to make the shadow semitransparent. This option is a toggle option that turns on and off the semitransparent setting. You end up with a 50% transparent shadow, but no soft edges. If you want your shadows to have a transparency value other than 50%, get it done in the More Shadow Colors options that we explain next.
  19. More Shadow Colors... lets you choose any color you want for the shadow. Selecting this option summons the Colors dialog box with two tabs: Standard and Custom. First select the Standard tab (see Figure 5 ).

  20. Figure 5: Standard tab of the Colors dialog box
  21. 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.
  22. If you want more color choices, then select the Custom tab of the same dialog box, as shown in Figure 6.

  23. Figure 6: Custom tab of the Colors dialog box
  24. In this tab, you can chose 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.
  25. Click OK to exit this dialog box.
  26. Save your presentation often.
  27. Related Link: Learn how to do more with AutoShapes in this free excerpt from my book: Cutting Edge PowerPoint For Dummies, read a free chapter called AutoShape Magic here.

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 2010 for Windows
Advanced Shadow Effect Options in PowerPoint 2007 for Windows