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Christopher B. Contois



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To the Point

Christopher B. Contois

Shadow vs. Shadow
Download Shadow.ppt - 18k

Did you realize there are actually two different shadow options within PowerPoint? Text Shadow and Shadow (I will be referring to it as the "Object" Shadow for clarity). Originally, one was for text while the other was for vector objects (clip-art, flow chart arrows, circles, boxes, etc. drawn within PowerPoint or imported from another vector capable program).

Text Shadow
I am going to begin by discussing the easier and more common shadow - the Text Shadow. On most user's toolbar there exists an "S" button.

By highlighting the text you wish to place a shadow and then clicking on the "S" button in the toolbar, a slight drop shadow will appear. The downfall is that you have virtually no control over its color or position.

The shadow's position has been locked by PowerPoint, and the color is pre-determined by the slide's background color.

Background Color Shadow Color
Black White
White Grey
All Others Black

However, for most text needs, or new-comers to the software this is a great feature and can really lift the text from the slide.


"Object" Shadow
The other shadow is the "Object" Shadow. This is the more complex of the two options. In order to access this feature the Shadow toolbar must be acquired through the Tools-Customize-Toolbars-Shadow Settings (for more info please read Customizing your Toolbars). Once activated, the Shadow Settings Toolbar will appear. I recommend dragging it to a main toolbar so that it becomes a permanant part of your work space.

It is a very basic toolbar, broken into 3 sets of buttons. The first button is the on/off, the next four control the direction: up, down, left, right, and finally the last one lets you select the shadow's color.

The "Object" Shadow can only be applied to Objects in PowerPoint, thus it cannot be applied directly to text but rather to the Text Object . Although that may sound confusing you can try this. Text is always within a bounding box (or an Object), unlike the Text Shadow which can be applied to only one word within this box, the "Object" shadow must be applied to the entire box. Simply select either the box or some of the text within the box, go to your Shadow Settings Toolbar and turn on the shadow. Now you can use the directional tools to move it to various locations with uncanny control, and finally select the desired color, and of course you can use this tool to add shadows to your favorite clip-art, flow charts, and more (see below).

One other cool point to mention is that you can place both the Text Shadow and the "Object" Shadow onto the same text for more dramatic effects (as shown above).


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