Shapes and colors

A successful presentation adheres to a specific color theme, which is best kept consistent throughout the slides. Shapes can therefore happily take on one color. But be careful: too many colors and shapes will only confuse the audience.

Customize fill colors

We select a shape. This will be given a new color in this example.


There are several ways to colorize a shape. The easiest and fastest step is to use the quick format templates (as the name suggests). We open the quick format templates in the Start tab in the Drawing group with one click.


A catalog opens with seven color suggestions (depending on the design color) and various optics.


When we move our mouse pointer over the quick style sheets, PowerPoint shows us the final shape in real time. We click on a color.


Note: We can change the appearance and all other settings as often as we want. All we have to do is repeat steps 1 to 4.

Fill color can be adjusted more individually and with more options via button. To do this, we click on the Format tab (Drawing Tools) and in the Shape Types area on Fill Effect. A menu with a color catalog opens.


Clicking on a color will recolor our shape accordingly.


PowerPoint gives us many ways to fill the form at this point:

  • Image: Instead of a color, we can use an image of our choice to fill the shape. After clicking on the Image option, a dialog box opens, with the help of which we select a suitable image. Depending on the shape, the image will be stretched or cut accordingly. Moreover, a text with an image as background is often difficult to read.
  • Gradient: A click on Gradient shows us a palette of gradient templates. There are detailed explanations about this below.
  • Structure: Structures give the shape a certain surface; for example, wood look or marble. Admittedly, structures are still a relic from very old PowerPoint versions and are now somewhat out of fashion. They should rather be avoided by choice.

Gradients as fill color

Gradients are smooth transitions of one or more color tones and always have a flow direction in PowerPoint.

As in the examples before, we mark a shape.


The second step is to open the Format tab (Drawing Tools) in the Shape Types group and click on Fill Effect.


Start in the Drawing area the Fill Effect button.

In the menu we choose the Gradient option.


We are shown a catalog with several gradient presets. From dark to light (and vice versa) with all flow directions (right to left, etc.). Clicking on “More Gradients” opens the “Format Shape Bar” on the right.


Here PowerPoint shows the Fill option and we check the Gradient option.


The gradient stops bar adjusts to the current settings. It represents the color gradient in the form from left to right. The color transitions from one stop to another.

  • Ready-made designs can be selected under preset color gradients. The result is displayed as a preview.
  • With the Type setting we choose from linear, rectangular or other gradients.
  • The Direction option specifies where the flow direction of the gradient points.
  • Angle determines how oblique the gradient is oriented. This option is available for linear gradients (type).

With the “Add gradient stop” button, we extend the gradient with an additional color. Gradient stops can be removed with the button with the red cross (to the right of Add Gradient Stop).


To change the color of a gradient stop, we select it (orange frame) and choose a suitable color by clicking on the color bucket.


As additional options, the transparency slider can stop the visibility of the gradient. A high transparency means that the shape is visible more like a colored glass pane. The Brightness slider, as the name implies, determines the brightness. The settings for Brightness or Transparency apply only to the selected gradient stop.


Any changes to the gradient will be immediately visible in the live preview in the slide. When we are satisfied with the gradient we click the Close button (cross in the upper right corner).


Customize frame lines

Each shape has a frame that can be customized. Color, thickness and stroke type can be customized in PowerPoint.

We mark a shape.


Note: Either we use an already existing shape or create a new one. How to do this is shown in the tutorial … .

We click on the Format tab (Drawing Tools) in the Shape Types group on Shape Outline and click on a colors we want our frame to have.


Clicking on Strength opens the Shape Outline menu that lets us set how wide the frame should be. For example, we choose 6 pt (points). The change is immediately visible in the selected shape.


Next, we select Strokes from the Shape Outline menu. If a solid stroke is too ordinary for us, we can make adjustments. At the bottom of the selection is the More Lines option, which we click to get to more adjustment options.


The Format Shape panel opens. In the Line category we click on the lower arrow of the field so that the value for Strength decreases. The larger the number, the stronger (wider) the line becomes.