The single most effective way to add a professional look to shapes on a slide is to add a bevel.
What’s a bevel, you may ask?
A bevel is a 3D effect on the edge of a shape. The bevel makes the shape look raised. Here are the preset bevel looks, but you can adjust them to your liking:
Don’t they look cool?
Here’s a slide with an infographic that uses one of the bevel treatments for the circles.
(Maps are one kind of infographic that you can use to make data more accessible to your audience.)
To add one of the default bevel effects, follow these steps:
- Insert a shape on a slide.
- Select the shape.
- Click the Format tab that appears, then choose Shape Effects, Bevel, as you see on the right.
- Choose one of the options from the thumbnail images.
You can hover over the options to see how they look before choosing one. Sometimes the drop-down menu hides your object; just move it so that you can see it as you move your mouse over the bevel options.
For more options, click 3-D Options at the bottom of the thumbnails to open the 3-D Format pane of the Format Options dialog box. You can also right-click a shape, choose Format Shape, and then click the 3-D Format item.
You need to play around with the settings in this pane to understand all the possibilities–there are a lot of options! Here is a brief overview:
- Top: Click the drop-down arrow to get the same options I discussed earlier. But you can adjust the width and height of the effect to make it more dramatic–or more subtle.
- Bottom: You have the same options for the bottom as for the top. “Bottom” means the back of the shape. You don’t see the bottom unless you rotate the shape in 3D. You do this with the 3-D Rotation pane of the Format Shape dialog box.
- Depth: This is the thickness of the object from front to back. Again, you don’t see any change unless you rotate the object. You can also change the color of the depth.
- Contour: A contour is a border around the edges of a 3D object. You can specify the color and border width (size).
- Surface: You can apply Material and Lighting properties to your shapes. These result in different types of highlights and shading. I have a post about this feature, “Use materials and lighting for interesting fills.“
Do you use bevels on shapes? What settings do you like? Leave a comment!