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Creating Custom Shapes Using Effects

In this lesson we will see how to customize your shapes in Powerpoint to go beyond the simple formatting options. In this lesson we will explore everything from rotating and flipping to 3-D effects.

Rotating and Flipping Shapes

Often we want to use a particular shape that PowerPoint allows us to draw quite easily, but we want it oriented in a different way. PowerPoint allows us to either rotate the shape (free rotate or precise rotation), or flip the shape.

1. Create a triangle and oval shape as seen below:


Hint: To position the oval in exactly the right spot, use use the arrow keys to "nudge" it into position.

2. Shift + Click on both shapes to select them together.

Free Rotate

Place the cursor right around one of the green dots. Click and rotate to any position you want.

Free Rotate

For exact rotation, PowerPoint also offers rotation by direction at 90 degrees per rotation.

3. Choose the Drawing Button yu to get the rotating and flipping options.



Rotate Left


Rotates the shape left

Left Rotate

Rotate Right

Rotates the shape right

Right Rotate

Flip Horizontally

Flips the shape horizontally on a central axis.

Flip Horizontally

Flip Vertically

Flips the shape vertically on a central axis.

Flip Vertically

Remember, there is a difference between rotating a shape and flipping it.

Adding 3-D Effects

By far one of the coolest features in word is the ability to take a plain 2 dimensional shape and apply 3-D effects. You can do this with the click of a button, but PowerPoint also gives you the ability to customize your 3-D effect so that you can achieve your desired design effect.

1. Create an octogon shape and change it to your prefered color.


2. Double-Click the Shape

This brings up the Format Shape Dialog

3. Choose the 3-D Format Tab

Setting 3-D Effects is not very complicated, but you have to remember to modify both the level and style of Bevel and the Depth & Surface

4. Set the Bevel Style to Convex for both the top and bottom.



5. Choose the Depth & Surface tab

6. Set the Depth & Contour Colour to two different shades of brown.

This will help the lighting effect of shadows

7. Change the Surface Options as seen below

8. Change the Depth to 35 pt


Note: Don't forget to add Depth! It is the third dimension and without it, your shape would be 2-D (height and width).

9. Choose the 3D Rotation tab

You must use this so that the depth of the shape that you've added can be seen.

10. Use the directional buttons to rotate your 3D shape on any of the 3 planes (X,Y,Z)


Your shape should now appear similar to the one you seen below:


Note: When you add text to a 3D shape, it becomes part of the shape and so it will follow the same 3D rotation.


Gradient Fills, Reflections, Shadows and More!

The same advanced effects we learned during the Working With Text lesson are also available for shapes. For example, the shape see below was drawn with the Free Form Tool but has a gradient fill and 3D and Shadow effects applied to it.


I will not repeat the steps here, but you will have a chance to experiment with these effects in Assignment 7.