PowerPoint works with the concept of selection, and then action. And the action typically is to edit whatever you may have selected! For such editing, the Format Task pane in PowerPoint 365 for Windows can be indispensable. The Format Task pane aligns neatly with the right or left side of the PowerPoint interface, and you can now immediately see how your choices affect the selected slide objects. The Format Task pane is often tabbed. This means that you can jump quickly between different elements of your slide object! In many ways thus, the Format Task pane is the single source where different style formatting options are consolidated in one place.
In this article, we will explore how you can bring up the Format Task pane and how it works:
Summon the Format Task Pane
- Open a slide which already has a shape, or create a new slide with a shape. Then select the shape, as you can see in Figure 1.
Figure 1: Slide with shape
- Right-click the shape to bring up a contextual menu, as shown in Figure 2. Within the contextual menu, select the Format Shape option (see Figure 2, again).
Figure 2: Format Shape option
- This brings up the Format Shape Task pane, pinned on the right side of the interface, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 3.
Figure 3: Format Shape Task pane
- As you can see in Figure 3 above, the Format Task pane shows Format Shape options as we accessed the right-click menu from a selected shape. The formatting options change based on the object selected:
Selected Object Task Pane Table Format Shape Chart Format Chart Area Shape Format Shape Picture Format Picture Text Box Format Shape WordArt Format Shape Text Placeholder Format Shape Video Format Video Audio (The Audio Icon) Format Picture SmartArt Format Shape Slide Background (Nothing Selected) Format Background
Move the Format Task Pane
The visible Format Task pane can be easily moved from the right side of the interface to the left side or anywhere on the interface. To do so, follow these steps:
- Click the downward-pointing arrow within the Format Task pane (highlighted in red within Figure 4) and from the resultant drop-down list, select the Move option (highlighted in blue within Figure 4).
Figure 4: Move Format Task pane
- This will change the cursor to four sided arrow (highlighted in red within Figure 5).
Figure 5: Four arrow headed cursor
- Now just drag the Format Task pane to the new position. For this tutorial we moved it to left side of the interface, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 6.
Figure 6: Format Task pane moved towards left side of interface
- You can also drag the Format Task pane off the PowerPoint interface to another area on your Desktop (see Figure 7), or even onto a second display attached to your computer.
Figure 7: Format Task pane dragged off the PowerPoint interface
Resize the Task Pane
You can also resize the docked Format Task pane:
- Place your cursor on the edge of the Format Task pane to summon the two-arrow cursor (highlighted in red within Figure 8).
Figure 8: Two arrow headed cursor
- And then click and drag towards the left or right to resize the Format Task pane as required.
You can resize the dragged-off Format Task pane too, as explained below:
- Select any corner or edge of the dragged-off Task Pane, as shown in Figure 9, below.
Figure 9: Resize a dragged-off Task Pane
- Now drag the corner or edge to resize the Task Pane smaller or larger. While resizing, you will see the two-arrow cursor, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 9.
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