As explained in the previous chapter, almost anything you put on a slide is treated as an object. Shapes, text, sounds, movies, charts, and so on—all are objects. There are a few things which are not objects, such as sound effects for animations or transitions.


One of the most basic elements in PowerPoint is the shape. You can find shapes in two places: they are in the Home tab in the Ribbon, on the right side in the Drawing group, and in the Insert tab in the Illustrations group.

If you click on the correct button, you can see the whole list, which looks like this:

You can choose any one of these shapes. When you do, you may not notice a change--but the cursor will change from the usual arrow to a "+" sign.

Let's experiment with a Smiley Face shape. Click that button.

Then, with your cursor in the slide are, click and drag to create the shape. The finished shape may look like this:

If you hold down the Shift key from before you click and drag, the shape will be constrained. A constrained shape means that the shape will increase or decrease in height and width in exactly the same proportion. A perfect circle, for example, will remain a perfect circle, not getting thin or flat.

Notice that the shape is in a placeholder, as we saw in the first chapter. You can resize the shape by clicking and dragging on the little squares or circles along the sides and corners, or you can rotate the shape with the green handle at the top.

When you click on something else, the placeholder will disappear, and the shape is no longer affected by anything you do. If you wish to select more than one object at a time, then hold down the shift or control key while clicking on the other objects.

Notice also that there is a yellow diamond shape on the smiley face's mouth. This is a reshape handle. When you see this, it means that an element of the shape can be changed. In this case, you can change the mouth from a smile to an unhappy expression.

Some shapes have no reshape handles; some have more than one; this banner, for instance, has three:

Each reshape handle will control some aspect of the shape.

Text Boxes

A text box looks like any other placeholder, but it acts a little differently. When you create a text box, you will notice that the outline is dashed, not solid. This means that you are in text editing mode. When the text box is like this, you can only type text; you cannot move the whole box around in the slide. In this state, the text in the box is the focus.

Text boxes will collapse to the height of the text inside of them after you finish editing. Even if you create a very tall box, it will not keep that height.

In order to edit or control the entire box, you have to select it. You can either click on the border line of the box, or (sometimes) on a blank area within the box. When you do this, the box's outline in the placeholder becomes a solid line.

Once you have created text, much of the editing—font, font size, bold, italic, paragraph alignment, lists, and paragraph spacing—can be edited in the Home tab under the "Font" or "Paragraph" groups, or by using the Mini Toolbar that appears when you select text.

When you are in text editing mode (with a dotted outine), then only the text which has been selected is changed.

Word Art

Word Art has changed greatly in PowerPoint 216; there are fewer styles, and those styles are much more simple than before.

To use Word Art, just select a style. A sample box with filler text will appear.
Type anything in the box that you would like.

Previous versions of PowerPoint had far more elaborate styles. You can still achieve these, but you have to create the effects yourself, which is often fairly difficult to do well.


Before adding images, it is a good idea to first locate the images you want. If you use images taken from the World Wide Web, then you should be careful of licensing issues. Most images on the web are owned by someone, and so they should not be used unless permission is given. For academic purposes, you can use almost any image, but correct citation is required.

Therefore, when you collect any pictures, you should take notes on each image, carefully noting the name of the page where you got them from, the URL of the page, and the name of the author or owner of the image. If no author is visible, take the name of the person or organization that operates the site. If it is a company, the company's name can usually be found at the bottom of the page.

It is also a good idea to rename images so they are easier to identify; "flowerpot.jpg" is a much easier name to understand than "IMG_9978.JPG".

To insert an image, go to the Insert tab in the ribbon. Look in the "Images" group.

If you want to select an image that you have already prepared, click on the "Pictures" button, and then locate the image using the "Insert Picture" dialog box.

You will note that there is also a button named "Online Pictures," which was formerly labeled "Clip Art." This is essentially a Bing image search, like doing a Google image search.

While you can use this to find images, I would suggest doing the image search directly in a browser, as it is simpler, and easier to catalog the source of the image.

For a more sensitive and possibly more focused search, I would recommend CC Search, which allows you to search more specifically by license and source.

Once you have downloaded an image, you should be able to resize it like any shape.

Editing the Object

Once you have inserted a shape, text box, word art, or image, you can then change its appearance as a shape. (Note that the slide background can also be edited in a similar fashion.)

While this can be done in the ribbon "Format" tab, in PowerPoint 2016, effects are best carried out with the Format pane.

When you right-click on any object, a pop-up menu will appear. The choice at the bottom of this menu will be for a "format" option, for whatever object you chose. Select that option, and the Format pane will appear at the right side of the window. You can leave the format page as it is, and it will change to format whatever you have selected—a shape, image, or slide background, for example.

From this point, I will only refer to a step where you "bring up the format pane," which is my way of saying that, if the pane is not already visible, you should right-click the object to edit and choose the format option at the bottom.

Fills (Backgrounds)

Fills will help with shapes, text boxes, and word art, but have no effect on pictures.

Select an object to edit, and bring up the format pane. You will note that in the pane, at the top, there are some icons. To change the fill, select the paint-bucket icon, usually at the left.

From there, you can choose from:

  • No Fill
  • Solid Fill
  • Gradient Fill
  • Picture or texture Fill
  • Pattern Fill
  • Background Fill

The Solid Fill allows you to choose a specific color and then adjust the transparency.

The Gradient Fill option often looks much better. A "gradient" is when colors slowly change from one to the other; a gradient can be simple (from light blue to dark blue, for example), or complex (many changes between a variety of colors and intensities).

In the options at the top of the tools shown at right, you can:

  • choose a preset, limited to basic colors;
  • choose the type—how the gradient forms, in a line, circle, rectangle, etc.;
  • choose the direction (left, right, up, down, diagonal); and
  • choose the angle the gradient displays.

Beneath that, you can change the gradient itself by changing its stops, or the color setting at each point in the gradient. Click on an existing stop, or create a stop with the green-plus button, then change the color with the "Color" button menu just below the stops. You can move the stops by sliding them back and forth along the lines.

In this way, I was able to create the metallic effect seen below (using a gradient with 6 stops, and 5 rectangle shapes). This takes some practice, and there are tutorials you can find through a web search.

The Picture or Texture Fill allows you to either choose an image from a file you have downloaded, choose an image "Online" (using the "Online pictures" feature), or choose one of PowerPoint's 25 textures—although those textures are very limited, and have been the same for a few decades!

The Pattern Fill is quite simple, and the Background Fill simply imitates whatever you have chose for the slide background (this is usually the same as "No Fill").

Outlines (Strokes)

Outlines (also called "Lines" or "Strokes") are applied to the edges of any object.

The Outline controls are in the Fill area, below the fills.

You can choose between No line, Solide line, and Gradient line.

The more important choices are the color and width of the line. The other settings (line and arrow types, mostly) are interesting to play with.

In a gradient line, you can use the same controls as for a gradient fill, which will now work with the line—however, this works best with a thicker line, at least 3pt thick, wider usually being better.


Effects can add a significant style to any shape or image. Effects include:

  • Shadow: creates a drop shadow behind an object
  • Reflection: Creates a reflection below an object, as if it were on a glass surface
  • Glow: Creates a colorful aura around an object
  • Soft Edges: Blurs the edges of an object
  • 3D Format: Creates bevels (shaped edges), depth, and textures for an object
  • 3D Rotation: Rotates objects as if they were three-dimensional
  • Artistic Effects (images only): Changes the images to look like a work of art

Each one of these effects has controls under the Format pane's tabs:


Here are the options:

  • Presets: a selection of shadows you can choose from
  • Color: changes shadow color (warning: colors other than gray or black often look odd)
  • Transparency: changes the strength of the shadow
  • Size: makes the shadow large or smaller (warning: effects can be odd)
  • Blur: chnages the shadow from sharp to soft (excellent effect!)
  • Angle: changes the direction of the shadow
  • Distance: makes the shadow closer to or farther from the object


Here are the options:

  • Presets: choose from pre-made reflections
  • Transparency: make the reflection weaker
  • Size: make more of the image reflect (taller)
  • Blur: make the reflection fuzzy (frosted effect)
  • Distance: make it appear that the object floats


Here are the options:

  • Presets: basic colors and sizes are chosen for you
  • Color: choose your own color
  • Size: choose your own size
  • Transparency: make the glow weaker or stronger

Soft Edges

Here are the options:

  • Presets: choose from basic blur sizes
  • Size: choose an exact blur size

3D Format

Here are the options:

  • Top bevel width: choose a 3D edge shape for the top of the object and make it larger
  • Top bevel height: make the edge shape on the top appear taller
  • Bottom bevel width*: choose a 3D edge shape for the bottom of the object and make it larger
  • Bottom bevel height*: make the edge shape on the bottom appear taller
  • Depth*: creates a thickness for the object (otherwise it seems thin like paper)
  • Contour: makes a kind of outline for the sides of an object
  • Material: sets the apparent material the object is made of (metal, plastic, etc.)
  • Lighting: changes the direction the light comes from

*only appears when object is rotated

3D Rotation

Here are the options:

  • Presets: pre-set angles of rotation for your object
  • X Rotation: turn left and right
  • Y Rotation: flip up and down
  • Z Rotation: spin the object around
  • Perspective: only when a perspective is chose from the presets, this allows you to make the "far" end of the object's depth appear smaller or larger, giving the impression of distance
  • Keep text flat: prevents the text from rotating (usually awkward)
  • Distance from ground: the "ground"is behind (below) the object

Artistic Effects

Only available for images, this allows you to choose from 23 different special photographic effects, similar to the filters used in programs like Photoshop.


You must create a PowerPoint file with the following:

  • Slide #1: Add any two shapes. The shapes must be different types.
  • Slide #2: Add a smily face. Give it a different fill color. Make it unhappy.
  • Slide #3: Add one text box. Give it a color fill and a different color outline. Add a noticeable shadow effect.
  • Slide #4: Add one Word Art. Give it a color fill and a different color outline. Add a glow effect.
  • Slide #5: Add a shape; choose a heart, a cloud, or a star. Give the shape a 3D Bevel, add Depth (30px), and then do 3D Rotation on the object.
  • Slide #6: Add an image (only appropriate content, please). If necessary, resize the image so it does not touch the edges of the slide. Use an Artistic Effect on the image.

Save the file with the name yourname PPT-2.pptx. Bring the PowerPoint file to the class session your teacher tells you to.

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