Fills & Strokes
Every shape has two parts: Fills and Strokes.
A "Fill" is the color that fills up the area of the shape. You could call it the shape's background color, but the normal term is the "fill color." For example, in the shape below, the fill color is light green:
A "Stroke" is a line, or outline. "Stroke" is the term used by designers, although in many programs you will see the terms "line" or "outline" used. The stroke can be changed in terms of weight (thickness), in style (such as being dotted, wavy, etc.), or, of course, color. In the shape below, the stroke has a weight of 5 points, is "dashed," and is red:
In PowerPoint, you can control the fill and stroke in the special Ribbon tab "Drawing Tools: Format," visible when you click on a shape:
You can do more with fills than simple solid colors. You can also apply Gradients, Textures, and Pictures to shape fills. The best way to access these is using the Format Shape dialog box, which you can activate by clicking on the small button at the lower right corner of the "Shape Styles" section:
Clicking on that will bring up the "Format Shape" dialog box, which looks like this:
Notice that under the choice for a "solid" color, you can choose a gradient. A gradient is a gradual change from one color to another, or even between several colors. If you click on the "Gradient fill" button, the shape will change like this:
You will also notice that the Format dialog box has changed to this:
If you click on the button marked "Preset colors," you will see this button menu:
If you click on one of those, you will see the gradient style applied to the shape:
Below that button are finer controls; you can change the direction of the gradient, or type--or you can even create your own gradient by defining the colors of the various "stops" within each one. This is an advanced technique which you do not need to know for this class, but you may find interesting to play with.
Texture & Picture Fills
Next, you can click on the "Picture or Texture fill" button, and you will see this version of the dialog box:
Note that the dialog box has now changed to "Format Picture." If you click on the button marked "Texture," you will see this button menu:
When you select one of the textures, it will be applied to the shape:
Below the textures, you will see buttons for pictures; you can choose a clip art, but most times you will likely choose a picture fill, using the "Insert From: File" button. That will open a dialog box, allowing you to choose from any image on your computer. The end product may look like this:
By adding the Shape Effects which we learned in the previous chapter, you can get even more interesting effects:
Similarly, you can change the appearance of lines using the "Shape Outline" menu, or, more conveniently, the "Shape Format" dialog box. Again, open the dialog box, but this time, click on the third listing in the sidebar, Line Style. You will see this:
First, change the Line Width (i.e., the Stroke Weight); try a 12-point thickness, so we can see the line easily. The shape might look like this:
Next, try changing the compound-line type; it might result in something like this:
Next, on the left-hand sidebar, click on "Line Color"; here, you can choose to change the color to any solid color:
Alternately, you could choose a gradient:
There are other settings, of course--but these are several of the most common and useful ones.