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Format Painter in PowerPoint 2013

Learn how to use the Format Painter effectively in PowerPoint 2013.


Product/Version: Microsoft PowerPoint 2013
OS: Windows 7 and 8

You can easily duplicate stuff in PowerPoint -- you can just select a shape and press the Ctrl+D key combination. However, such duplication copies everything: the shape, and its format attributes, such as all fills, outlines, and effects. Sometimes you may only want to use those fill, outline, and effect attributes for other shapes you create. For instance, let us imagine that you have a square that is colored orange, has no outline, and contains a bevel effect. Now you draw a star on your slide and it has completely different attributes -- how can you make sure that it matches the attributes of the square? You can spend some time, and apply those attributes to the star manually, but if you need to do that for ten or fifteen more shapes, that may result in a few hours of repetitive work! Fortunately, the Format Painter command can rescue you from this monotonous task very easily. So what does the Format Painter command do? Here are some answers:

  • Format Painter copies attributes from one shape to other shapes on the same slide, the same presentation, or across presentations.
  • Format Painter works beyond the shapes on any other slide object -- you can use it to copy the look of text placeholders, tables, pictures, charts, etc.

Follow these steps to use the Format Painter in PowerPoint 2013:

  1. Select the shape whose attributes you want to copy, as show in Figure 1.

    Shape from which attributes are to be copied
    Figure 1: Shape from which attributes are to be copied

  2. Now access the Home tab of the Ribbon. And click the Format Painter button, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 2.

    Format Painter button in PowerPoint
    Figure 2: Format Painter button

  3. This will change the cursor to a paintbrush icon, as shown in Figure 3.

    Cursor after clicking the Format Painter button
    Figure 3: Cursor after clicking the Format Painter button

  4. Now just click on the shape to which you want all attributes of the original shape to be copied (see Figure 4).

    Shape attributes copied to the other shape
    Figure 4: Shape attributes copied to the other shape

  5. If you have more than one shape on the slide and you want to apply the same attributes to all the shapes, just double-click the Format Painter button so it remains selected and click on any other shapes you want -- these other shapes need not be on the same slide -- in fact they need not be on the same presentation. What's important is all those slides must be open.

    Then click the Format Painter button again to deselect it or just press the Esc key. Figure 5 shows the attributes of the original shape applied to several other shapes.

    Attributes applied to more shapes
    Figure 5: Attributes applied to more shapes

  6. Save your presentation often.

See Also:

Format Painter in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac
Format Painter in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows


PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences:
PowerPoint 2013, 2011, 2010, 2007 and 2003

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 E-Book.

PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences E-book


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