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Format Painter in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

Learn how to use the Format Painter effectively in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac. The Format Painter is a huge time-saver.

Duplicating stuff in PowerPoint is easy. You just select a shape and press the + D key combination. However, such duplication copies everything: the shape, and its format attributes, such as all fills, outlines, and effects associated with the selected shape. Sometimes, you only want to use those fill, outline, and effect attributes for other shapes you create. For example, you have a square that is colored pink, 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 as well, 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 on any other slide object, not just shapes. 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 2011 for Mac:

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

  2. Figure 1: Selected shape
  3. Within the Standard toolbar, click the Format Painter button (highlighted in red within Figure 2).

  4. Figure 2: Format Painter button
  5. This will change the cursor to a paintbrush icon, as shown in Figure 3.

  6. Figure 3: Notice how the cursor looks like when you click the Format Painter button


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

  8. Figure 4: Changed attributes in the other shape
  9. 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. 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.

  10. Figure 5: Attributes applied to more shapes
  11. Save your presentation often.

See Also:

Advanced Shape Techniques: Format Painter in PowerPoint (Index Page)

Format Painter in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Format Painter in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows