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 right 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. If you hold down the Shift key from before you click and drag, the shape will be constrained. The finished shape may look like this:
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 tool. 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 more than one reshape tool; this banner, for instance, has three:
Each reshape tool will control some aspect of the shape.
Editing the Shape
When you select a shape and the placeholder appears, look at the Ribbon. You will notice that an extra tab has suddenly appeared. This is normal in PowerPoint: extra tabs will appear in the Ribbon contextually; if you click on an image, then the "Picture Tools: Format" tab will appear. Click on a SmartArt object, and the "SmartArt Tools" will appear. Often, more than one special tab will show up, but in the case of a Shape, only one appears--the "Drawing Tools: Format" tab.
There are many controls in this new tab--you can create a new shape, edit the existing shape, give the shape a style, create Word Art (we will cover that later), or you can arrange or resize the shape.
In this chapter, we will focus on the styles. In particular, notice the three small buttons in the middle of the Ribbon, named Shape Fill, Shape Outline, and Shape Effects.
Let's take a look at Shape Fill first:
Go ahead and choose a different fill color for your shape. You will notice that your shape has changed color. There are other effects as well--gradients, textures, and pictures--but we will study those in the chapter on "Fills & Strokes."
The next button is Shape Outline; notice the menu looks like this:
Just as you gave a color to the background of the shape, you can change the line colors in the shape as well. Try changing the color of the lines:
Notice the extra controls at the bottom of the menu--they allow you to change other aspects of the lines, especially the line weight (the thickness of the line).
Finally, we have the Shape Effects. This is where you can get some really neat effects.
There are several "Presets," which are combinations of effects that you might find interesting. However, if you prefer to create your own original effects, there are several sections. They include Shadows:
Reflections (to make the object appear to be on a glass surface):
Glows (to give the shape a colored aura):
Soft Edges (to "feather" the edges so they gently disappear):
Bevels (to create a 3-D like edge):
3D Rotation (to rotate the shape as if it were a 3-D object):
And, of course, you can use a combination of several effects:
Notice that at the end of each Effect sub-menu, there is an "options" selection; this will open up a special dialog box which will give you even more controls for each effect. This is also available with fills and lines.