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You can fine tune the fills of your AutoShapes (Shapes, in 2007) by applying a variety of surface materials and lighting treatments. The differences are subtle but can impart a more professional result and create a realistic 3D look. PowerPoint 2007 has added many additional material and lighting settings. I’ve covered PowerPoint 2007 separately below.
For PowerPoint 2002/2003
In PowerPoint 2002 & 2003, you have a few options for changing the surface characteristics of an AutoShape by choosing one of 4 surfaces. You can also change the direction of the light and its brightness. These settings are all on the 3D Settings toolbar.
To start experimenting with these settings, follow these steps:
Insert an AutoShape on a slide. Even better, insert several identical AutoShapes so that you can try out variations and compare them.
Select one of the AutoShapes.
Click the 3-D Style button on the Drawing toolbar.
The 3-D Style menu pops up. For this exercise, choose the upper-left button, called 3-D Style 1. You need to choose a 3D style to use these features.
the 3-D Style menu
Click 3-D Settings at the bottom to open the 3-D Settings toolbar.
the 3-D Settings toolbar
Click the Surface button to open the Surface menu.
the Surface menu
Choose the surface that you want:
Wire Frame: Doesn’t fill in the AutoShape, just showing the outlines
Matte: The default. Doesn’t show highlights
Plastic: Has slightly more highlights than Matte
Metal: Has the most highlights, but appears darkest
Click the Lighting button on the 3-D Setttings toolbar.
the Lighting button
Choose a direction.
Click the Lighting button again and choose Bright, Normal, or Dim.
Apply the 3D, surface, and lighting effects to other AutoShapes.
Here are some results:
For PowerPoint 2007
PowerPoint 2007 has added to the number of options that you have for surface and lighting effects. Follow these steps:
Insert a Shape on a slide. Even better, insert several identical AutoShapes so that you can try out variations and compare them.
Select a Shape.
Choose Drawing Tools Format tab>Shape Styles group >Dialog box launcher button (Format Shape dialog box)>3-D Rotation.
Click the Presets drop-down list. Choose the Perspective Above rotation, or another rotation that you like. This is equivalent to choosing a 3-D Style in PowerPoint 2003.
Click the 3-D Format category.
the 3-D Format category
In the Depth section, enter a depth for the object, to make it 3D. In this example, I set the depth to 11 points.
In the Surface section, click the Material drop-down list, and choose a material. You can see that there are many more options than in PowerPoint 2003. Of special interest are the Special Effect and Translucent materials.
the Surface section
Click the Lighting drop-down list and choose a lighting option. Note that lighting affects the entire slide, not just the selected object.
Tip: For a description of the various materials and lights, click the ? at the top of the Format Shape dialog box.
Try out other settings on other shapes, and then click Close.
This slide displays all of the materials, with assorted lighting settings.